Shimla: In its desperation to attract more tourists to the state, the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) has now though of what it believes is a ‘new idea’, of ‘familiarity tours’ for travel agents and travel writers.
During the recently concluded business development meetings at Mumbai and Delhi, Commissioner cum managing director, HPTDC, Ram Subhag Singh today announced to organize special tours for entrepreneurs in travel business and travel writers based in Delhi and South West India so that the tourism wealth of Himachal is exposed to the people who influence the tourists.
But, the department officials should be reminded that they are again late as such tours have been in vogue for quite some time. While Malaysia and Singapore have been specifically arranging tours for Indian journalists for a long time, now Nepal too is targeting Indian tourists by offering such incentives, Kerala too is not much behind having successfully marketed its backwaters. And there are more such examples.
The department needs to think something original beyond the discount coupons and lackadaisical marketing. With the world economy opening up, the tourism sector has been growing exponentially, This means that practically every country, state is trying to attract tourists. So where does Himachal stand.
The department claims this year special focus would be to encourage tourists to take adventurous excursions to tribal and backward areas like Kinnaur, Lahaul & Spiti and Pangi, but would that be done by briefing them individually. Where is the plan to do that? The government had also planned an advertising campaign in foreign campaign but nothing has been hard about it. Back home, Himachal could not find a place in the India Incredible campaign even.
And what about the brand ambassador idea? Though the Dalai Lam has always made headlines, even the ongoing unrest among the Tibetan community in Himachal could have effectively been used in some kind of marketing campaign.
The point is – the department needs to apply brains more often or even continuously to make the state’s presence felt. It should remember that we are in a marketplace.