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tour operators: Travel companies seek government push to draw tourists

Will the buzz around the G20 summit fuel an uptick in foreign tourist arrivals? Tour operators are sceptical.

Ahead of the peak tourist season, tour operators and travel agents expect the government to ramp up overseas marketing and promotions, open tourism promotion offices abroad that were shut due to the pandemic and participate in foreign fairs and marts.

Most incoming arrivals from January to July this year were from Bangladesh and that would primarily be for medical reasons, they said. There were 10.93 million foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) during the pre-pandemic year of 2019. In comparison, there were 6.19 million FTAs in 2022 and 1.52 million FTAs in 2021.

“Getting to the 2019 level of business looks like a tall order. We would probably get to 75% of 2019 levels. The ministry of tourism is not spending money on tourism promotions overseas and we have not been able to take advantage of the fact that not as many people are going to a market like China,” said Dipak Deva, MD of Travel Corp of India.

The bulk of foreign tourists who visited India from January to July this year were from Bangladesh (23.7%), followed by US (17.9%) and UK (9.5%), according to data issued by the tourism ministry.

“We should look at participation in foreign fairs. If we are looking for niche tourists, we need to concentrate more on markets such as the US, UK, and Europe,” said a senior government official.

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