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Promoting Tourism Through Glamour

Monday, August 05, 2013
By Khushboo Panjabi

Where there are Challenges, there are Opportunities. The emerging dimensions in Indian tourism and challenges posed due to globalisation and liberalisation as well as new trends in the tourism market compels tourists destinations to develop new products and strengthen or re-engineer the existing products for retaining, enhancing and capturing new markets. Simply put; effective tourism development is the panacea for the success of the tourism industry.

And countries across the world and even smaller states within them are doing it. But there is a new emerging trend that entails selling tourism with and through film stars and celebrities.

The government of Gujarat took the lead involving superstar Amitabh Bachchan and that seems to have paid off. Now they have also spent around Rs 40 crore for further promoting tourism through a campaign ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ featuring again with Amitabh Bachchan.

“Tourism in India is a large industry. In the last two years, there has been an increase in the total number of tourists by 54 lakh. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.7% in the next decade. This gave India the fifth rank among countries with the fastest growing tourism industry”, said Saurabh Patel Tourism Minister Gujarat, at a function last week to promote the state as India’s tourism hub.

Since, the overall increase in the foreign tourists to India has risen by 300% over the last three years, which is much less compared to the previous years, the primary focus now is the domestic tourists.

The Indian market which is seen as an important investment destination by various hotels and resort chains the world over. Bollywood has been successfully used by many a tourism board to promote tourism through films.

Riding on this trend is the Sultanate of Oman. The Ministry of Tourism, Oman  Air, Tour Oman and The Shangri La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Muscat recently collaborated with Balaji Telefilms to shoot a part of Balaji Motion Pictures’ anticipated Once Upon a Time in Mumbai… in Oman. The tourism authority is optimistic about boosting tourism.

Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative for the Ministry of Tourism, Oman, said: “This was a concerted effort to create an aspiration for travel to Oman. By creating in-roads into Bollywood, we hope to maximize visibility for the destination and promote it as a preferred choice amongst travelers for vacations.”

“We want Indians to recall Oman as an emerging leisure destination and a ‘must-see’ for all those who are seeking an authentic Arabian experience. We have received an overwhelming response to the online contest with over 1000 entries already, which clearly indicates that Indians are keen to visit an unexplored destination like Oman”, added Sheerazi. Similarly, the Hong Kong tourism Board, is announcing the launch of their Tourism Promotional activity in association with Durjoy Dutta’s latest book, “Hold My Hand” -  A Love Story based in Hong Kong.

So that’s the new trend and reflects how tourism as a whole has become an important element of the global economy.

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