Now, wedding & film circuits beckon foreign tourists, NRIs

Now, wedding & film circuits beckon foreign tourists, NRIs
Not many people know that Indian weddings and films are a craze abroad. The Ministry of Tourism is now creating special wedding and film tourism circuits to attract foreigners and NRIs.

Speaking at a discussion on ‘Partnering with diaspora to accelerate tourism in India’, Vinod Zutshi, secretary, Ministry of Tourism, explained how royal and beach weddings were gaining popularity. The ministry is getting numerous enquiries about royal weddings in Rajasthan and Indian-style beach weddings in Goa. Private tour operators are making the most of this opportunity.

The ministry is promoting tourism circuits on 13 themes such as spiritual, desert, Buddhist, Ramayana, Krishna, medical and wellness, North East and heritage. Zutshi said there was a lot of potential in the medical and wellness tourism. But this potential cannot be harnessed unless infrastructure, especially road and air connectivity, was improved, he added.

The official said his ministry was in talks with the Ministry of Transport to improve surface transport, especially in the seven northeastern states where roads play a major role in tourism. Air connectivity is also being improved under the Swadesh Darshan scheme. The regional connectivity programme entails upgrading 50-60 airports in the next 18-24 months. Then, there is a shortage of two lakh hotel rooms. To address this problem, state tourism departments are promoting home stays.

Zutshi urged foreign tourists to opt for e-tourist visas instead of visas on arrival. They can apply online and get e-tourist visas by e-mail. They can submit fingerprint and biometric details after reaching the airport, he said.

Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar said tourism in India was growing, but the problem was of a less-flattering reputation created by writers like V S Naipaul. “But today, India is no more in darkness. India also has rain and river tourism. There is a need to create food tourism as Indian cuisines are more than of any continent,” he said.

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