‘Incredible India Roadshow’ launched in Sri Lanka

Text & Pix By Gitika Talukdar

Incredible India launched a new tourism drive in Sri Lanka by introducing the ‘Incredible India Roadshow’ at the Taj Samudra in Colombo on 23 June in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and High Commission of India and its sub-offices overseas.

During the roadshows the local Sri Lankan tour operators had an opportunity to interact directly with tour operators from India and share thoughts and best practices, analyse trends and plan future strides. The scope to present new products, expand business horizons and networking was beneficial to all the participants.

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A total of 250 local tour operators participated in the program, along with 15 private tour operators from India. The participants received a good opportunity to obtain interesting information about India, especially in relation to the tourism industry, with industry representatives providing a wide range of information. High Commissioner of India Y.K. Sinha and Minister of Tourism John Amaratunga formally inaugurated the show by lighting the inaugural lamp. Addressing the gathering, Sinha said that India was pursuing a re-invigorated neighbourhood policy of ‘Neighbourhood First,’ which puts a premium on greater connectivity, stronger and mutually beneficial cooperation and deeper ties with its neighbour.

“There is also recognition that neighbours have the first claim on India and Sri Lanka is amongst our closest and dearest neighbours. India and Sri Lanka have experienced an exhilarating renewal of democracy in recent times,” he said.

With the aim of further increasing tourism between the two countries, the first meeting of the joint working group on tourism was held in April 2015 in New Delhi, where developing a Ramayana Trail in Sri Lanka and a Buddhist Circuit in India were discussed. Adding to this, he said India would introduce Buddhist tourism and medical tourism along with Ayurveda, agro-tourism, cinematic tourism, etc. Religious tourism under Buddhist tourism will be visa free. India and Sri Lanka are working towards the resumption of ferry services between Colombo and Tuticorin and between Talaimannar and Rames-hwaram, which will make travel easier. Another proposal is to operate a cruise/ferry service between Colombo and Cochin in Kerala. Railway connectivity will also be introduced very shortly, he added.

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On travel between the two countries, he said India and Sri Lanka already enjoyed close connectivity by air with 154 flights a week from Colombo to eight destinations in India.

However, given the anticipated rise in tourist arrivals both ways, more flights will be added along with the international airport in Trincomalee.

Referring to education in recent years, he said India had been attracting a growing number of Sri Lankan students for tertiary education and offered a more affordable alternative to other countries without compromising on quality. Prominent Indian institutions of excellence are interested in investing in Sri Lanka, provided the necessary legislative framework is put in place.

Tourism Development Secretary Janaka Sugathadasa told the audience that both the countries were joining to form bilateral, regional and multilateral arrangements to optimise benefits and collaboration and cooperation had become mantras for success rather than confrontation and conflict.

The keynote speech at the event was delivered by Ministry of India Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi. Presentations were made by

State Government of Andhra Pradesh Principal Secretary to Government (Tourism) Neerabh Kumar Prasad and Madhya Pradesh Tourism General Manager J.M. Mathew on tour plans and packages.

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Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/551230/-Incredible-India-Roadshow–launched-in-Sri-Lanka

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