Foundation for Aviation and Sustainable Tourism (FAST) with support of the Ministries of Civil Aviation and Tourism, organised a seminar on ‘Incredible India: Connectivity – Driving Tourism for Inclusive Growth’ on April 12, 2018 at the India International Centre, New Delhi.
While welcoming the delegates, Gen K M Seth, President FAST and Former Governor of Tripura and Chhattisgarh stated that tourism and aviation apart from being natural allies are intertwined and mutually support each other. With India emerging as the world’s fastest growing aviation economy with immense opportunity of growth by connecting our small, medium town and remote areas by air are yet to be fully exploited.
Primary aim of organising this seminar was to focus on seamless connectivity by air, rail, and road with affordable and world-class accommodation and experience which leaves an inimitable impression on the tourists. More importantly, today’s discerning tourist looks for secure destination and it is duty of the host country to ensure his personal security and provide safe environment. We, as a nation, have lot of ground to cover on this account.
Shri Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation who was to inaugurate the programme could not come due to certain unavoidable circumstances, but his video recorded speech was displayed for the participants. He specifically highlighted that places with tourism potential can see significant growth if connected by air, rail, road and waterways. As we see today, some of the existing tourist destinations or pilgrimage destinations are not easily accessible through traditional modes of travel due to their location/terrain of surrounding areas. Providing air connectivity to such regions would make travel more convenient and time effective, in turn increasing demand. In this context, the tour operators can play an important role in the planning, facilitating and execution tours. Although many tours are based on travel by rail or road, an air travel segment always offers an added advantage and that air travel is an opportunity every traveller will be looking forward to.
Airports Authority of India has a great role to play in providing air connectivity between small cities and regional hubs for which adequate emphasis has been laid down in the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016. There is an urgent need for convergent of efforts by all concerned i.e. central and state governments, rail and road transport authorities, service providers, regulators and other stake holders, including financial institutions to synchronise the developmental efforts so as to provide an efficient tourism infrastructure which will meet the aspirations of the domestic as well as international tourists.
Secretary (Tourism) emphasised that aviation acts as a propellant for the tourism industry. Similarly, growth in tourism acts as a pull factor to enhance growth in civil aviation. It is, therefore, necessary that this relation of push and pull between tourism and civil aviation is converged properly to drive overall economic growth.
Seminar was attended by about 150 delegates drawn from tourism and aviation industry, tourism industry represented by tour and travel operators, hotel industry, tour operators association, travel agents associations besides delegates from Ministry of Tourism, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and state tourism departments. Aviation industry was represented by Airports Authority of India, private airport operators, major airlines, including Air India, leading helicopter service company- Pawan Hans, Federation of Indian Airlines, IATA, CAPA, regional airlines and general aviation and State Civil Aviation/Tourism Departments. Seminar was a grand success in terms of participation, deliberations and outcome.