First SAARC Tour Operators Conclave concludes in DelhiDefault, Travel — By admin on July 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm
Inaugurating the first SAARC Tour Operators Conclave in Delhi recently, Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai called for the SAARC countries to explore the ways and means for more exchange of tourists amongst them. He said, “We must motivate each SAARC country in such a way that tourism becomes the focus of economic and political agenda.” About 45 leading Tour Operators from India, Maldives, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan participated in the conclave. The event focused on various strategies to promote tourist destinations and products in the SAARC region. The conclave also offered a golden opportunity to draw up intra regional packages while promoting the business between various tourism stakeholders for economic growth and employment generation.
Sahai calls for more exchange of tourists amongst SAARC countries as tour operators from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan participate in the event Exclusive back to back interactive sessions was organized to enable tour operators to discuss and explore various business strategies. Individual country presentations was also made by the participants for showcasing the importance and opportunities in tourism sector in the respective SAARC countries. Sahai said that SAARC region has immense tourism growth potential, which till date has not been fully utilized. He said “If it could be fully utilized in all possible ways, the SAARC region has the potential to steer the economy of the world. The cultural diversity of the SAARC region is unique, and the combination of scenic landscapes, natural beauty, and ethnic multiplicity – only add to its international appeal. In fact, most SAARC nations have already realized this potential at individual level but with a concerted effort, the success culminated would be many folds”.
The Union Tourism Minister said that today in spite of its growing relevance and proven contribution to GDP, jobs and exports, the tourism sector still lacks due political and economic recognition. He said against this background, UNWTO and WTTC have decided to join hands for making Tourism a global agenda through “Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign”. Shri Sahai said “through this campaign we all hope to position tourism as a driver of economic growth and development.” SAARC is an important source market for India. 1,013,516 tourists from SAARC region visited India in 2011(Provisional) as compared to 998,179 in 2010. Importantly, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ranked 3rd and 4th respectively in terms of foreign tourist arrivals to India in 2010. For SAARC member countries, India is one of the major source markets.