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Mr. Gour Kanjilal - Professional being, Developing Tourism in India from Outside India
Drawing out a Marketing Plan
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    A sincere effort has been initiated by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India to brand India with new logo to reposition the tourism products in the global market. Promotional programmes in the overseas markets are more focused to showcase all the new segments. But lot more needs to be done. We are not yet sure also are our potential clients with in the market and what are their needs and their financial strength. This would be the first step to understand the market which inturn can help to undertake marketing campaign based by intensive and targeted promotional activities. One must keep in mind that present day travelers have all opportunities to get information sitting at home by clicking the site. He is more educated and very demanding. Hence his needs are pre-determined and all marketing efforts will have to be done in such a manner that enthuses him to choose your destination. He feels that he has made the right choice. This will also need close public relations to reach these potential clients directly and exchange ideas and clarify the misconception if any at the decision taking stage.

    Here brings the importance of the "SWOT" analysis of the destination to ascertain strength and competition and corrective steps unique selling proposition comes out of well planned price conscious packages. For India, its variety and human touch and affordability could be its U.S.P. Even growing interest in Spiritual tourism, Ecotourism and Shopping tourism could be unique for India. Promoting Buddhist Tourism in South Asian markets will be beneficial for India like Medical Tourism in the Gulf.

    In the new segment, MICE tourism is very favourable for India as India can offer excellent conference venues in unique natural settings. India'a strategic location in the central route between east and west makes it all the more attractive with good air connections.

    In the fast changing scene and competitions, educating the trade and India should be the prime marketing objective. More aggressive partnerships and networking in the business is need of the hour. Airlines are forming marketing alliance and some Regional Tourism Board are working out Regional Tourism promotions. ASIAN countries are doing this type of Regional Tourism in a very effective manner.

    Similarly many tourism board have linked themselves with credit card companies, international events specially we saw how Australian Tourism benefited by promoting Olympic Games. The spin off was great with boom in tourist traffic to Australia. India could not really form Airline- Tourism nexus. But Malaysia with national airline or Singapore with national carrier with pro-active destination promotion penetrated into many new markets and India is one of their successful story. Even we could not form proper tie ups with overseas carriers who are doing good business in India. Even we need to work closely with global Distribution Agencies as key trade partners to have new business. Some steps have through now have been taken. This would call for constant and increased emphasis on research, P.R. new marketing initiatives (full use of technology) to gain the right competition edge. For country like India, image problem is there and lot needs to be done to change the negative perception it gets through media reports. We know that these media reports may not reflect the true state of the events, but they do create some impressions in the mind of the traveler that linger into the mind. Hence a continuous showcasing India products in the traffic generating markets to create favourable image will be necessary. Good budget support or synergised approach of all the segments of tourism partners can help to define a specific market oriented strategy. These then to be super imposed with unique Indian experience. With growing new market demand like Ecotourism, Health tourism, Shopping tourism, etc where India has upperhand on competitive destinations.

    Celebrity endorsements are emerging trend and we have also to utilize this medium to boost India image. Even our film actors are being used by our competitors for endorsement of their destinations. Mainly our marketing strategy should now be market focused, product improved, online alliances, travel service providers forming right team with right tools, value additions in the packages and pricing should be right . India is no doubt destination of the millennium.

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