Delhi tourism will be in the top gear in coming months, as it intends to not only unveil an exciting new advertisement campaign at the BITB, aimed at celebrating the uniqueness of an authentic Delhi experience, but has also planned a number of events to attract tourists from distant corners. Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra speaks to TouristFirst:
Tourism Minster Kapil Mishra left no ambiguity in the government’s stance on tourism, when he re-iterated that the industry remained a key priority for the Kejriwal government. Detailing that since assuming office, the government had completely altered the way budgets were being allocated, he shared “it is for the first time that the component of branding of Delhi has been incorporated in the state government budget. In a first, an entire component of festivals has been added to the state budget. It is also for the first time that the state CM has assured the larger industry that budget and resources would never be constraints in executing meaningful projects.”
He highlighted that under the leadership of CM kejriwal, the government and the industry had been able to come together to moot the way forward. “The industry and the government, both, were previously working in isolation – which is not the case now. The CM is himself monitoring the implementation of strategies. The state budget has been having repeated mention of tourism, it clearly demonstrates our seriousness towards tourism as a sector,” he said.
He also added that a number of promotional activities and events were being organized in short successions. “It indicates that the government is committed to augmenting tourism and related infrastructure in the capital. We firmly believe that tourism will give Delhi a new recognition, and it is an industry that support a number of other industries. So, we understand its importance,” he further said.
He asserted that while the larger NCR, now, did boast of a number of tourism offerings, Delhi’s uniqueness as a tourism destination and as a city experience was going to remain unmatched. Responding to whether Delhi was slowly losing out to Noida and Gurgaon, as destinations with plethora of tourism products in their kitty, and whether it was a challenge, he said that Delhi’s USP had enough in itself to keep it going strong on the tourism front. Calling Delhi a city which was a concoction of 21st century urban infrastructure and a repository of India’s ancient heritage, he said “Delhi’s tourism offerings and experience is unmatched. Delhi has places like Mehrauli, Nizamuddin and Humayun’s Tomb. It is home to experiences like the Old Delhi and the Lutyens. No matter how many new products are created elsewhere, these offerings cannot be replicated.”
He added that the trio of modern amenities and infra, heritage and a cosmopolitan culture – which had transformed the city into ‘mini India’ – made the capital a unique experience for travellers. “Therefore, there is absolutely no question of a challenge or a hurdle on that front,” he said.
Kapil Mishra noted that the bigger challenge for the government was to take the city’s “infinite tourism potential to a larger audience.” “The challenge is packaging and marketing of Delhi as a destination,” he reflected. He conceded that much needed to be done on the marketing and outreach front, informing that the ministry was steadfast in its commitment of plugging those loopholes.
Given the number of engagements already planned in coming months, Delhi tourism is walking the talk. Detailing the way forward for the ministry, Kapil Mishra noted that BITB was an immediate priority. “We are very proud that we are partnering with BITB, and we would want that this event is hosted in the capital for at least next 3-4 years,” he said. Adding that the state tourism was going to unveil its brand new advertisement campaign at the event, he said “being the partner city for the event, we are going to launch our brand new advertisement campaign. The new advertisement will aim at showcasing Delhi from the eye of an average Delhiite. We want tourists and people of Delhi to celebrate the experiences that Delhi has to offer,” he shared. He informed that the state tourism was going to shortly kick-off the Delhi Festival from the 19th of October. “We have a Kite festival lined up in coming January. So the next few months are likely to be hectic and ambitious in equal measure. 2017 is going to be a game-changer for Delhi’s tourism,” he asserted.
With several infra projects and a unified approach to tackle issues in motion, there is a certain vibrancy in Delhi’s tourism landscape
Elaborating on some areas that needed redressal to improve the overall landscape, Kapil Mishra conceded that there were certain areas of concern. “Improving ground transportation, ensuring last mile connectivity for tourists and citizens, alike, are some issues we have to work on. We are working in unison with the central government to create three new tourist circuits. We are working on getting feedback on the quality of service of the bus service operated by Delhi Tourism,” he elucidated.
Speaking on cleanliness and the importance of hygienic surroundings, especially around tourist destinations, he said that it was a nation-wide challenge and steps were being taken at the level of the central and the state government to address them.
“It is an area where success can be achieved when people come together with a feeling of community participation,” he noted.
Touching upon some of the key priorities of the tourism budget, Kapil Mishra noted that branding, marketing and creation of new infra were high on the government’s agenda. “We are on our way to constructing a world-class event venue at the Garden of Five Senses near the Mehrauli Heritage area. All the food-courts in Delhi Haat are being redone. We are going to create an event venue, spanning across two acres, near the border at Shiv Murti. A new auditorium would be introduced at the Delhi Haat in Janakpuri. We have mooted a separate calendar to promote all the three Delhi haats in the city,” he added.
Exhibiting a concerted approach, the minister shared that all the language academies, Sahitya Kala Parishad and Delhi tourism were planning to put a united foot forward, he said “I do feel that there is a certain vibrancy in Delhi’s tourism’s landscape.”