Photo courtesy of Kavita Agrawal, Svayam
Inclusive Destination Development continues to experience success in India. Most recently Svayam and the Ministry of Tourism conducted a training for more than 60 government and business representatives on Inclusive Tourism. As the economic slump hits India's tourism industry, which tends to offer a relatively expensive product, this progressive impetus toward inclusion of a greater range of tourists is a safe strategy for increasing market share - and capturing its loyalty as economic matters improve. See the final article below for insight into the current India market.
Tourist destinations to be made barrier-free
New Delhi, October 25, 2008
Physically challenged and elderly persons might soon find it easier to access tourist destinations as the government intends to make them barrier-free for the benefit of this sections of tourists.
The tourism ministry has made it mandatory that all tourist facilities, which are being created with Central financial assistance, should be barrier-free, the tourism secretary, Mr Shilabhadra Banerjee, said yesterday.
The ministry believes that physically challenged and older persons are becoming a growing group of consumers of travel, sports and other leisure oriented products and services.
To tap the potential of this group for promotion of tourism destinations in the country, the ministry has therefore taken this initiative to make tourist destinations barrier-free.
As a part of it, the ministry organised a workshop for engineers of state tourism corporations, Indian Tourism Development Corporation and officials of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to sensitise them about the special needs of the physically challenged and elderly.
Inaugurating the workshop, Mr Banerjee said it makes sense to provide special facilities for the physically challenged persons because this group is now willing to travel to different tourist destinations which provide accessibility and also has surplus funds to spend.
“Moreover, the accessible environment created for disabled persons are also used by people with limited mobility and the elderly,” he said. The workshop was followed by a site visit to Qutab Complex, which has been made barrier free by ASI.
MoT organises workshop to promote Accessible Tourism in the country
Monday, October 27, 2008, 11:00 Hrs [IST]
According to a PIB release, People with Disabilities (PwDs) and older persons are now becoming a growing group of consumers of travel, sports and other leisure oriented products and services. The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) wants to tap the potential of this group for promotion of tourism destinations in the country. The MoT has therefore, taken the initiative to make barrier free tourist facilities available to PwDs with central financial assistance. For this purpose, the MoT organised a workshop in association with Svayam, a Delhi-based NGO on creation of disabled-friendly environment at tourist destinations to sensitise the engineers of state tourism corporations, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and officials of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) about the special needs of PwDs. Engineers and officials of various state tourism departments/state tourism corporations attended the workshop. The objective was to sensitise the stakeholders towards the needs of the physically challenged and motivate them to implement accessible facilities.
Inaugurating the workshop Shilabhadra Banerjee, Secretary (Tourism), Government of India stressed on the need for making our tourist destinations barrier free for the benefit of persons with disabilities and older persons. He also said that it makes sense to provide special facilities for physically challenged persons because this group is now willing to travel to different tourist destinations which provide accessibility and also has surplus funds to spend. Moreover, the accessible environment created for disabled persons are also used by people with limited mobility and the elderly.
The team of experts of Svayam trained by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) at Asian and Pacific Development Centre (APCD), Bangkok conducted the workshop. The representative of ASI shared the experience of making Qutab Complex barrier free. The representative of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) also explained the efforts being made by them to provide accessible public transport in Delhi.
The workshop was followed by a site visit to Qutab Complex which has been made barrier free by ASI with the assistance of Svayam, in an Accessible Low Floor Bus provided by DTC.
from Ravi Teja Sharma NEW DELHI
WINTER is peak time for travel to India, but with the financial crisis impacting both corporate and leisure spending across the globe, Indian tourism industry is expecting a drop of 15-25% in business for the January-April period. October-December might be comparatively safe because travellers have already paid. There has been a slowdown of at least 30% from the US market, which was one of the biggest source for India, especially in the luxury segment. “The phones have stopped ringing,” says a US-based travel partner of an Indian tour operator. The recent bomb blasts haven’t helped the sentiment either.
Foreign tourist arrivals have touched 3.87 million by September this year, an increase of 10.4% and foreign exchange earnings were Rs 36,464 crore in the same period, a 17.8% increase over the previous year. However, uncertainty abounds in the tourist season, which starts in October. “Forward bookings for the second half of the season—January-April—are looking very slow,” says Creative Travel marketing director Rajeev Kohli, adding that the only saving grace is that there have been no real cancellations as yet. While October-December is safe because people have already paid and bookings are sealed, the fate of the January-April part of the season is still uncertain. “That part of the season is almost 60% of the business for us, which might see a considerable drop,” explains Mr Kohli.
Kuoni Destination Management (KDM) is expecting a drop of 20-25% in business for the January-April period, going by their forward bookings data. “The effect of the slowdown will show up in the first quarter of next year,” says KDM COO Dipak Deva. For Indo Asia Tours and Le Passage to India, business is expected to be down 10-15%.
“The world will not stop travelling, but we will surely see a realignment of pricing, which will be healthy,” says Le Passage to India managing director Arjun Sharma. Overall spends have come down and it is clear that the Indian tourism product is overpriced. “We are expensive at a time when people cannot pay much,” says Mr Kohli. Indo Asia director Suresh Behal feels that if hotel rates go down 20-25% from the current rates, there is a chance that the second half of the season will still pick up for the better. “When there is a better offer for a destination there will be some positive impact,” he says. The hotel component constitutes 50-70% of the total tour package cost, depending which category hotel one chooses.
Interestingly, Mr Kohli says that Delhi hotels are looking for business for the November–December period, months which have traditionally been packed for the hotels. Hotel occupancies are under pressure and many city hotels are offering huge discounts. “Hotels are uncertain about rates, which are already down 5-7% and are expected to go down a further 10-13% soon,” says Mr Sharma.Posted by rollingrains at October 27, 2008 04:32 PM