Yoga can become a major asset for Indian Tourism

V K Duggal. Former DG and recently Governor of Manipur strongly believes that consistent product diversification will be critical to push Indian tourism to the next level and Yoga could be an outstanding addition to its portfolio given the tremendous international buzz around India’s ancient asset. Excerpts of his speech delivered at Indian Tourism 2.0 conclave in Delhi recently …

Like many other spheres in India, tourism too has battled many challenges in the past and eventually has emerged stronger. In fact, if we look at our recent history, Indian tourism had got a major push after 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US. The attack on twin towers had drastically affected the sentiments in the global travel and tourism industry and we too were baffled how to arrest the falling inbound numbers. It was to combat this crisis situation that we had mooted the idea of Incredible India which eventually worked well for us. The point is: challenges will always be there but we can always respond to them with effective solutions.

Now that we are talking of pushing Indian tourism to the next level, I think product diversification will be a   critical rule of the game. I have no doubt in my mind that we are in a position to shape a new version of Indian tourism but for that its crucial issues need to be first marketed well within the government than outside. That is other ministries too should seriously consider and support the initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism. A bit of innovation, a bit of collective effort and then we can dazzle the world with our unique offerings.

Take the case of Yoga. It can easily become a new asset of Indian tourism given the interest it evoked worldwide during the recent celebration of International Yoga Day which was spearheaded by India. When our prime minister had addressed the UN General Assembly and suggested a resolution for International Yoga Day, it was ultimately supported by 176 countries excluding India. This resolution also notched the distinction of getting fastest clearance from the UN assembly – in just 75 days.

So there is a clear renewed interest of the world in Yoga and it needs to be harnessed. We have to derive an effective mechanism to seriously hardsell the message to the world that Yoga and India are synonymous. An impacting concept has evolved and it would be very silly for us to sit back doing nothing. The concept is hot, getting the support from most of the states and it must to taken to the next level as a marketing force.

The exercise needs a meticulous planning and a high degree of precision but it is certainly doable. We can come out with a marketable, coherent, time bound programme and develop some noted yoga centric circuits in the country. We can even export yoga gurus to international hotels, cruise lines, etc. for its promotion. The lack of satisfaction and peace in the western societies owing to a host of social and economic issues serve us with a golden opportunity to promote our ancient well-being tool. The timing is just right to do so. We will need a holistic marketing plan and could even rope in our globally renowned celebrities from the world of cinema, sports and other disciplines to join the high-pitched promotion drive of yoga. I would suggest the government to set up an expert group which will provide direction to this entire drive of turning yoga into a tourism asset. Our Make in India programme has created quite a buzz globally and yoga can also be dovetailed with it.

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