India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB), has asked Ministry of Tourism, Government of India to take the lead in preparing and finalising a “tourism recovery” roadmap for Indian tourism in consultation with the private industry stakeholders. The agency feels that the country should be ready and prepared with a recovery roadmap to push it straight into the global travel market as and when the scare of the Covid-19 gets over.
Putting forward the recommendation at an interactive meeting of the bureau held in Delhi recently, Amaresh Tiwari, Vice Chairman, ICPB said that it is high-time the government finalised its media, PR and Marketing Plan with quick recovery in focus in the post-Corona world. He said that India tourism requires a world class PR agency to get the communication across to the global audience. Meanwhile, travel, he said has come to a screeching halt and cancellations of big events, meetings and conferences are reported after the government suspended visas. He said that the focus needed to be on luring short-haul MICE rather than the conventional long-haul focus.
Delivering a keynote at the event, Rajeev Kohli, former Vice President of ICPB and past President of SITE Global, urged the government to have a dedicated marketing and promotion strategy for MICE segment, separated from the regular leisure destination promotions of Incredible India. Kohli said that countries like Singapore, Dubai, Thailand, etc. are all ready with their marketing plans post-Covid, and Indian tourism cannot be found wanting as normalcy is gained. He also asked the industry to evolve tools to report correctly all the major MICE events happening in the country. Many events go unreported because of the lack of tools and mechanism, he said. As far as physical infrastructure is concerned, Kohli observed that India has the capabilities and capacities to handle 98% of the global meetings and conferences as they are of less than 1000 pax.
Speaking on the occasion, Rakesh Kumar Verma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, who is the new Chairman of ICPB, said that the private industry has to come up with “realistic and aspirational” targets to the government, so that government can support it with favourable policies. The early steps taken by the government have helped the country in reducing the impact of the epidemic, he said, adding it is time the tourism industry remained prepared so that India can regain the ground quickly with the crisis getting over.
Girish Kwatra, Secretary, ICPB said that as per International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) which tracks almost 1000 conventions and conferences in the Asia Pacific, just over 8% of them have cancelled, rescheduled or relocated due to Covid-19 epidemic. The maximum cancellation has happened in the month of March, he said. He said that 70% of the business impacted will come back as the situation improves and there is no need for panic.