India Wins Top Award At New York Travel Show

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India’s Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Yogendra Tripathi, inaugurating the New York Times Travel Show 2019, at the Javits Center, on January 25, 2019. (Photo by: Peter Ferreira)

India was the toast of the New York Times Travel Show 2019, the largest travel show in North America, which took place from January 25-27, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Not only was Incredible India – India’s official international tourism campaign since 2002, the Presenting Sponsor at the mega meet, but India won the Award of Excellence for ‘Best in Show’ for their vivid and colorful display.

The award was received by Yogendra Tripathi, India’s Secretary to the tourism ministry, who had a busy schedule in New York City. He was there for the Closing Bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange, and was also interviewed on the “CBS This Morning” show.

India has hugely benefited from their ‘Incredible India’ campaign, which was initially started to woo foreign tourists, by Amitabh Kant, the then Joint Secretary under the Union Ministry of Tourism. In 2009, the then Minister of Tourism, Kumari Selja, extended it to the domestic tourism sector as well.

Over the years, there have been several Brand Ambassadors of ‘Incredible India’, including actors Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra, and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi too.

Incredible India display campaign at the New York Times Travel Show 2019, at the Javits Center, on January 25, 2019. (Photo by: Peter Ferreira)

Tourism to India has been on an upswing for several years now. India’s tourism minister K J Alphons, speaking at the recent 2nd ASEAN-India Youth Summit in Guwahati, said that the country fetched $234 billion revenue from tourism, in 2018, registering a growth of over 19%. This revenue was contributed by 87% domestic and 13% foreign tourists, according to PTI. Around 82 million people In India are employed in the tourism sector.

The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated $210 billion or 9.4% of India’s GDP in 2017 and supported 41.622 million jobs. In 2015, India’s medical tourism sector was estimated to be worth $3 billion, and was projected to grow to $7–8 billion by 2020.

Alphons also informed that in 2017, a total of 1.37 million Americans visited India, and 1.25 million Indians visited America, the same year.

“We want to double these numbers in three years. America is our biggest tourism partner,” he was quoted saying, by PTI.

At this year’s travel show, there were plenty of Indiacentric activities, including ‘Focus on India’, a consumer seminar, cultural performances, culinary demonstration, and food tasting.

A visitor getting mehndi done at the Incredible India showcase, at the New York Times Travel Show 2019, at the Javits Center, on January 25, 2019. (Photo by: Peter Ferreira)

Celebrity author and chef Padma Lakshmi was a special guest at the show.

“India is consistently a top travel destination for the industry professionals and travelers who attend our Show each year and we’re proud that we’re able to provide the quintessential event for them to learn about the latest in travel and travel news,” Lisa Howard, General Manager, New York Times, was quoted as saying in news reports.

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report for the year 2017 ranked India 40th out of 136 countries overall, according to Wikipedia. The report ranks the price competitiveness of India’s tourism sector 10th out of 136 countries. However, India has very few hotel rooms per capita by international comparison and low ATM penetration, the reporthad then noted.

Apart from its marketing through the ‘Incredible India’ campaign, tourism in India also got a huge fillip after the government introduced its ‘visa on arrival’ facility, in November, 2014. The facility is expected to be expanded to about 180 countries. The results speak for itself: before it was introduced, India saw 2,705 foreign tourist arrivals during October 2014. A year later, in October, 2015, the tourist arrivals jumped to 56,477 tourists, with a total of 258,182 tourists visiting India from January to October, 2015.

(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: sujeet@newsindiatimes.com Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)

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