Every year brings with it new hopes and plans, some that succeed while others stay static. Year 2012 too had its share of highs and lows. Express TravelWorld looks back at the year that was.
If some doomsday predictions are to be believed then 2012ís December cover story may be the last one written. But as optimists we feel 2013 will bring in renewed energy and hope once again for all of us to live and learn. Factors like dollar rate shooting up and increase in airfares have attributed in dampening the general morale of the industry. Diwali this year was, in particular, lacklustre. There have however been some positive developments and decisions (though very few on paper) that the industry should take note of. Countries that had ignored the Indian market in the past have made inroads in 2012 to tap the India outbound business with Portugal and Bulgaria being the latest to join the bandwagon. India won special awards at the WTM 2012 event and also had an encouraging participation there.
New circuits, sanctions and tie-ups
On the home turf, in January 2012 the ministry of tourism identified 45 Mega Tourist Destinations/Circuits in consultation with the concerned state governments/Union Territories(UTs) to be developed. During the same time, India signed an MoU on tourism with ASEAN. This lead to some progress made in the implementation of the work plan for the development of ASEAN-India cooperation in Buddhist pilgrimage tourism including the production and promotion of materials and documentary films on Buddhist pilgrimage in ASEAN-India. The main objectives of the MoU was to cooperate in facilitating travel and tourist visits, further strengthen the tourism partnership, enhance mutual assistance and human resource development for tourism sector, take necessary steps for exploring avenues of cooperation and sharing of information, exchange information pertaining to statistics and development strategies, investment opportunities and economic data in tourism, travel and hospitality sectors relevant to each other and jointly organise seminars, workshops and face-to-face meetings wherever possible, with a view to exploring and discussing new opportunities and avenues for the development and promotion of tourism. Apart from the ASEAN countries there were proactive exchange for tourism promotion between the SAARC countries at the first SAARC Tour Operators Conclave.
Setting up of Gurukuls under the Rural Tourism Scheme - development and promotion of tourism is primarily undertaken by state governments/UT Administrations. However, under its Rural Tourism Scheme, ministry of tourism provides