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Wooing tourists in meltdown times

Apart from vibrant colours and the marble white Taj Mahal, travel enthusiasts around the world would come to know what India stands for, more particularly during these turbulent times, reports Prasad Nichenametla.

delhi Updated: Dec 30, 2008 23:51 IST
Prasad Nichenametla

Apart from vibrant colours and the marble white Taj Mahal, travel enthusiasts around the world would come to know what India stands for, more particularly during these turbulent times.

In the wake of the global meltdown and the terror attacks threatening the tourism industry, the ministry of tourism is launching a new set of print and TV ads across the world from the first part of January – as part of the Incredible India campaign.

The new campaign with the ‘Quintessential India’ theme takes out Mahatma Gandhi’s message to the world signifying the Indian culture of welcoming everyone but not losing its identity. “I want all the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any,” reads the poster of a Royal Bengal tiger that would appear in local languages in countries like Russia, west Europe, Latin America, the Far East and Scandinavia, apart from English-speaking nations.

The campaign also offers an alternate bull run, in the times of the bear (economic slowdown). ‘A different kind of Bull Run – The wisdom to pull together. The will to win.’ — says a poster with bulls racing at a village fair.

The Kerala boat race sums up the resilience and resolution of the nation when the country is experiencing attacks to dent its integrity. ‘Here everybody moves as one body. Teamwork and unity of purpose — Quintessential India’ the ad says.

The campaign has a TV ad where a foreigner recalls his emotions — humour and awe – as he travels the country.

Though the exact cost of the campaign is not known officials said it is part of the Rs 220 crore budget earmarked for overseas marketing for 2008-09.