India will hold tourism roadshows in London and other capitals of Commonwealth countries in a bid to cash in on the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi next year, Tourism Minister Kumari Selja said on Monday.
"The Commonwealth Games in India next year will be an important event, especially from the tourism point of view. Teams that will arrive here can take the opportunity to explore India thus giving a major boost to tourism," Selja said at the inaugural function of the two-day meet of the ministry's overseas tourism officials and the private sector.
Selja said that thanks to the ministry's efforts in promoting India as the ideal destination for tourists, there was a 0.2 per cent positive growth in the tourist arrival to India.
Because of the global meltdown, foreign tourist arrivals from January to June this year fell by 9.3 per cent as compared to last year.
Tourism ministry joint secretary Leena Nandan said special roadshows will be organised in London to attract people to explore India when they come to New Delhi for the Commonwealth Games that will be attended by athletes from 71 countries.
"Our overseas office in London is actively promoting India and will organise special roadshows there in this regard, so that people travel across India when they come here for the Commonwealth Games," Nandan told IANS.
The tourism ministry also has a number of other initiatives to attract tourists to the country.
"We want to encourage tourist arrival from those countries from which we are already getting a good tourist arrival. Therefore, we have a series of roadshows in the Scandinavian countries, Finland, Sweden and Norway, at the end of this month to promote India. Next month we will go to Russia with a similar aim," Selja said.
To promote niche tourism products, like medical tourism, the ministry will have a series of roadshows in Dubai in October this year, adventure tourism roadshows in Australia and New Zealand. The UN Development Programme is helping the tourism ministry to promote rural tourism.