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Monday, 18 December, 2017, 10 : 30 AM [IST]

T&T industry raises concerns over government’s decision to close down some overseas Indiatourism offices

The travel & tourism industry is not happy the way the government has closed down Indiatourism offices abroad without consulting the industry and not defining the alternate arrangements to strengthen the marketing and promotional activities in the source markets. The government had announced its decision to close down about seven Indiatourism offices abroad last week after keeping the appointments to Regional Director and Director offices on hold for more than two to three years.

Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), the apex body of inbound tour operators in the country, while raising their concern at the way overseas offices have been close down, has asked the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) not to stop the regular participation in key travel exhibitions and marketing and promotion activities, including participating in road shows in source markets.  The Association had noted with concern the decision of the MoT not to participate in the forthcoming BIT Milan travel show, which is scheduled from February 11 to 13 at Milan, Italy.

Conveying the sentiments of the trade, Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, said that while the decision to close down overseas offices is an administrative one, the Association will urge the Ministry not to stop the regular activities like participation in important travel exhibitions and road shows. Indiatourism offices were not just information offices, they have been entrusted with powers to take important decisions related to marketing and promotion of Incredible India l for respective markets, he said.

“If the government enhances the manpower and budget for the remaining offices to compensate for the work that used to happen earlier, we don’t have any problem. Otherwise, it will be a disaster. Outsourcing the marketing and promotion activities is a good idea as long as there no backend games or favouritism. Vested interests should not be allowed to corner representation offices,” informed a senior committee member.

Supporting partially the government’s decision, a senior industry person said that in the changed scenario when the avenues of information flow for people have increased compared to 25 years ago, it is welcome that the government is “rationalising” and “reorganising” these offices. “They are today doing more of B2B role than B2C which used to be initially. I am not saying that they should shut down all of them, but take a balanced approach so that few strategic offices are maintained to sustain Incredible India,” he said.

“BIT Milan is an important travel exhibition which India tourism has been participating. We got to know that they are not participating in the show this year for want of budget. It’s disappointing,” a leading tour operator who has been a regular at BIT, said.
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