Tourism ministry plans image makeover, abandon stereotypes

New Delhi, October 8 (PTI): The tourism ministry wants to change its staid, routine image and introduce an element of fun and celebration to its functioning. It is planning beach and adventure festivals, post-sunset concerts and flea markets to promote India as a preferred tourist destination.


“We want to break stereotypes. We have realised that we have to do things differently to draw more tourists,” tourism ministry secretary Rashmi Verma told PTI.


The ministry is organising a 20-day feast and fiesta ‘Paryatan Parv’ across India from October 5, during which festivals are being held around tourist destinations to show people that “when you come to India you get an experience.”


It is also tying up with other ministries and departments with which they have been at loggerheads traditionally, like the environment and forests ministry and the Archaeological Survey of India, which primarily are focused on conservation but have immense value for tourism.


Verma says bringing the two departments aboard and at the same time promoting sustainable tourism will boost footfalls.


In the days to come, the tourism ministry is scheduled to hold a beach festival in Gujarat, adventure festival in Rajasthan, flea markets in Manipur, motorbike rally in Uttarakhand, dance championships in Uttar Pradesh, and ‘nukkad nataks’, concerts by artistes, food festivals and other varied programmes.


“Tourism is often looked upon as an elite thing, we want to tell everyone it is for the masses. Everyone who travels is important to us – someone going to a temple or to a restaurant is a tourist. We also want the youth to be travellers, take trips together and experience India,” Verma said, adding that many of these programmes will be organised in the evenings to encourage tourists to stay on at their destination.


This is only the beginning, Verma says, the ministry plans to make it a permanent fixture around places of tourist interest.