The Ministry of Tourism with the objective to tap the high end tourists from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) organised Tourism Road Shows in the cities of Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah. The shows were held from 7th to 11th of this month.
A strong Indian delegation comprising officials from the Tourism Departments of Jammu & Kashmir and Maharashtra, members of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Air India, Jet Airways, Taj Group of Hotels, Medical and Wellness facilities etc., from India were present to showcase the multitude of tourist attractions of India to the Saudi Arabian Traveller. The Indian delegation was led by Shri RH Khwaja, Union Tourism Secretary.
The State delegation of Jammu & Kashmir was led by the Minister of Tourism & Culture Shri Nawang Rigzin Zora and the Minister of State for Tourism Shri Nasir Aslam Wani. The Ambassador of India, Shri Hamid Ali Rao, was also present during the event in Riyadh.
The Road Show held in the city of Dammam on 7th January 2012 witnessed the presence of over 154 participants representing the members of the Travel Trade, Media and opinion makers of this sector. During the event held in Riyadh on the 9th January, as many as 172 members of the travel industry and media participated and got a glimpse of Indian tourism products and its rich cuisine. The final leg of the Road Show was held in Jeddah on the 11th January 2012.
According to travel statistics, 4.5 million Saudis representing nearly a quarter of the population, travelled abroad and spent about US $33 billion last year. India is fast emerging as a preferred destination for the Saudi tourists.
Foreign tourist arrivals into India have witnessed a steady increase over the years, touching 6.29 million in 2011, an increase of 8.9% over 2009. During the year 2010 there has been an increase of nearly 38% in the inbound tourism from KSA to India with around twenty two thousand tourists. The Visa issuance figures of the Indian Mission indicate a similar high growth in the year 2011.
One of the highlights of the Road Show was the focus on the ‘Medical & Wellness’ Tourism potential of India. India’s vast potential as a Health and Wellness tourism destination, backed by its medical facilities and world-class doctors, para-medical staff and hospitals, ancient healing systems such as ‘Ayurveda’ and other rejuvenating programs were show-cased.
The cost of medical services in India is almost 30% lower to that in Western countries and the most cost effective in the region. Indian hospitals excel in cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, joint replacements, transplants, cosmetic treatments, dental care, orthopedic surgery and much more. All medical treatments and investigations are done using the latest, technologically advanced diagnostic equipment. Moreover, India is just about four hours away making it easier for patients to visit even for follow-up – offering unmatched proximity and value-for-money.
The Road Show also highlighted destinations which are becoming popular for holiday and the business traveler like the Luxury Trains viz. Palace on Wheels, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, The Deccan Odyssey and the Golden Chariot etc. in addition to the Palace Hotels, Luxury Spas etc. The other niche tourism products being publicized were adventure, eco and wildlife tourism.
The presentations were followed by interactive sessions with the members of the Indian Tourism Industry which provided an opportunity of building awareness about the Incredible India tourism product. This will contribute significantly in sustaining the growth of high spending tourists from KSA.