MS. India has become a hugely popular destination in recent years. According to you, what are some key steps which have contributed to its growth?
Amit. Infrastructure and networking has been improved. Ministry of Tourism has taken a plethora of initiatives and so, law and order has also been improved over a period of time. Recently, Finance Minister announced that the Government is going to develop 17 iconic tourism sites into world class tourism destination. Further, the allocation of Rs. 100 lakh crore for infrastructure development will also boost the Indian travel and tourism industry. Secondly, as Indians have started travelling overseas, people abroad are now understanding about India and its diverse cultures in a better manner.
MS. What role has social media played in branding India as a trendy destination?
Amit. Social Media has boosted and helped India to gain a lot in this sector. Social Media is very instrumental in promoting India’s travel and tourism industry and government has also taken various decisive steps in this direction. Recently, it has launched a digital repository of tribal art and culture; folk songs, photos and videos about their evolution, place of origin, lifestyle, architecture, education level, traditional art, folk dances and other anthropological details of the tribes in India are stored. States too, are promoting cultures and places through social media channels.
MS. India has hosted several high-profile press trips. How do you measure the impact of these campaigns and whether or not they result in increased visitation?
Amit. For the benefit of whole tourism industry, Influencers play a pivotal role, their mass reach is leveraged and an impactful message is conveyed. In addition, various literary and cultural festivals, conferences in IT and healthcare sectors are also providing the right impetus to the industry.
MS. What is your biggest challenge today as the player in Indian Tourism?
Amit. The majority of players in the sector are unorganised and significant percentage of the industry is still unregulated. Being an active player, one has to be very trustworthy in the market, but the mistakes of small players affect the whole industry. So, retaining people’s trust is the toughest challenge which we successfully meet through our fair and quality services. The industry needs to have centralized rules and regulations for the tour operators as the promises made by tour operators on unrealistic things malign all the tour operators’ image and industry.
MS. Is funding an issue when it comes to marketing in India?
Amit. For established players like us, funding is no more an issue as we enjoy high traction and market value. But, for small and unorganised businesses, funding is a big challenge, not only to promote their services but also to run business smoothly.
MS. How do political issues in the region impact tourism?
Amit. People prefer safe destinations. They avoid exploring politically unstable places. Fortunately, India has improved a lot on this front.
MS. Please share in detail about your recent initiative
Amit. From millennials to elderly, traveling has always been a preferred choice. It is always a situation, which stop someone to take it passionately. The visually impaired people are deprived from the experience of travelling, one of the major reasons is the lack of volunteers. There are 2-3 companies who provide the volunteers but the price is very high. RSTT is working on exclusive mobile based application, and the main purpose of this app is to be able to connect the beneficiary to the volunteer as per his requirements and within the laid parameters of the app and the Governing Law of the Country. The monetary involvement is not there in the whole process which makes it unique and distinctive. The words HELP and SUPPORT are associated with the community but it is not necessary that always money is to be involved. The person can use an application through mobile where V.I. (Beneficiary) and Volunteer both have to log in with their personal details. Their preferences related to Language, Time, special Requirement etc. will be recorded. They will be allowed to make an account there with Unique Username & password for the 1st time (Registration). I want to give V.I. a sense of fearlessness freedom to travel through this initiative.
MS. Biking road trips are trending today. What are the facilities provided to this kind of adventure and what are the safety norms being provided to tourist?
Amit. Yes, adventure tour activities are all-time high and biking is certainly the most favourite adventure tour activity. Along with men, it is getting immensely popular among women too. But, it is the responsibility of tour operators to comply with the safety guidelines prepared by Adventure Tour Operators Association of India. Basic safety and operating standards pertaining to biking are – Drivers Licence, the adequate experience of riding in all types of terrains in India, drivers must have basic knowledge of the working and repair of a motorcycle, valid first aid and CPR certification, adequate computer skills and ability to handle/ operate a GPS, basic map reading skills and ability to use a compass, and adequate know-how of traffic rules, etc.