Incredible India now has a chic-looking brand new website befitting the glory and grandeur of the destinations, attractions and experiences this nation offers. In mid-June, K J Alphons, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, launched the revamped digital presence of India Tourism, which is contemporary in design, features and functionality.

To start with, the Government of India engaged a professional agency and not any ‘sarkari’ outfit to create the website and it shows.

IT major Tech Mahindra, which developed the site, has ensured a user-friendly design, vast content with interactive quick search, mobile readiness and provision for curating user-generated content.

Advanced personalisation has been made possible by leveraging the power of Adobe Experience Cloud. The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) can now engage effectively with visitors across the web and social channels, and measure engagement to deliver real-time personalised experiences for each visitor, based on their interest and travel personality. A great step forward for Incredible India 2.0!

While there has been a lot of focus on Religious and Spiritual Tourism, what the Minister recently stated in Varanasi gains significance. Step aside from all the brouhaha over the comment’s political implications, the reality it documents is shameful to say the least.

India’s much sought-after religious and spiritual destinations are in crying need of attention – basic tourism infrastructure like good roads, reliable local transport, public toilets and the like are absent even today.

Be it Bodh Gaya or Varanasi, the ground reality is pathetic. The MoT has been spending pots of money through its flagship schemes ‘Swadesh Darshan’ and ‘PRASAD’, but the improvements have been marginal.

For one, we have many destinations on the Religious, Spiritual, Buddhist, Ramayana and Sufi circuits to spruce up and secondly the number of visitors to each of these destinations is remarkably high.

Domestic tourists constitute more than 80 per cent of total traffic on these circuits. Indians do not value their own heritage and culture – littering, defacing and vandalism are common. A PPP (Public-Private Partnership) approach like ‘Monument Mitra’ could be a great way to deck up and maintain areas around some of our most sought-after religious and spiritual destinations.

This would bring additional capital as well as greater involvement and much needed ownership to sustain these well intentioned initiatives.

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Categories: Editor's Note