The domestic travel and tourism industry is now urging the Prime Minister's Office to prioritise initiatives that attract foreign tourists and boost overseas marketing and promotional campaigns.
The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) said on Friday it has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention for the revival of the inbound tourism industry.
«The letter has drawn the attention of the prime minister to the recently made statement in Parliament by Union tourism minister G Kishan Reddy that only 85.9 lakh foreign tourist visitors visited the country in 2022 as compared to 3.14 crore in 2019,» said IATO president Rajiv Mehra.
«It mentions multiple reasons for the decline in numbers such as withdrawal of incentives to the inbound tour operators on their foreign exchange earnings which were being used for overseas marketing and promotions; lack of trained tourism manpower in Indian embassies who are not able to do regular follow-ups with the foreign tour operators,» said Mehra.
«Advance planning of at least one year is required and dedicated budgetary funds should be provided to the ministry of tourism for aggressive overseas promotions.
We also think there's an immediate need for the formation of a National Tourism Board,» he added.
As per industry estimates shared with ET, inbound tourism would still be about 50-70% of the pre-pandemic levels for this year.
Ajay Prakash, board member of Federation of Associations for Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH), said it is an unfortunate reality that inbound tourism has not picked up and is still below the 2019-2020 levels.
«Funds for overseas activities need to be stepped up. We need to comprehensively improve our planning with funds