The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Move to win back tourists

New Delhi, Nov. 5: The recently formed crisis management core group on tourism — PATA Action Council on Tourism (PACT) — will hold its first meeting tomorrow to discuss strategies to prevent and pre-empt future shocks that could hit the forex earning sector. “We are trying to create a kind of communication cell which will pre-empt future crisis and help us to deal with it in a more competitive way. In the absence of such a tourism friendly cell, the sector has been severely suffering from the last few years,” said Ashok Bhattacharya, executive director, PATA India chapter, one of the members of the core group.

The meeting will be chaired by tourism secretary Rathi Vinay Jha and co-chaired by Inder Sharma, chairman, Select Holiday Resorts.

The group also consists of two government representatives from ministry of home affairs and the ministry of external affairs. Industry representatives of the group include Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India, Hotel Association of India, Travel Agent Association of India and Indian Association of Tour Operators.

The core group was formed by the government in the wake of advisories issued by some countries against their citizens visiting India. The group aims to change the misconception, project positive perception and anticipate response.

The focus of the group is to establish a continuous process for dissemination of information about India in different tourism markets and build consumer confidence.

An official from Pacific Asia Travel Association said: “India’s promotional and marketing efforts are often disturbed by unforeseen threats. Often these are only perceptions created due to lack of complete knowledge or information regarding the preparedness and our capabilities to manage such threats.”

The core group also aims to supplement other promotional campaigns of image building and image correction of destination India on an ongoing basis.

According to industry insiders, the group is scheduled to meet at regular intervals. Also stand-by committees will be gradually formed with representatives from other travel industry bodies, state governments and ministries of the central government.

Balbir Singh Mayal, president of Travel Agents Association of India, said: “India has adopted open sky policy for Asean and other countries. By this virtue, the first pre-requisite to deal with any future crisis calls for the creation of proper infrastructure within our country. This will facilitate travellers to not only travel with greater frequency but will also remove their inhibitions.”

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