Nakul Anand, Chairman, FAITH delivered an inspirational address during the inaugural session of National Conference of State Tourism Ministers being held at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh in the presence of Shri G Kishan Reddy, Hon’ble Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development for North Eastern Region.
Other dignitaries at the event included Jai Ram Thakur, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Shripad Naik, Hon’ble Union Minister of state for Tourism and Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Ajay Bhat, Hon’ble Union Minister of state for Tourism & Defense, Sambit Patra, Chairman, India Tourism Development Corporation, Dr VK Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary, GKV Rao, Director General and Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism.
On behalf of Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality – FAITH, Nakul Anand said, “We meet together for a common cause. A cause that has provided livelihood and life to so many. It is our global calling card that truly unites the diversity of our country. “
FAITH is the India tourism policy body and think tank set up by all the Ten National Associations representing the complete Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry of India – ADTOI, ATOAI, FHRAI, HAI, IATO, ICPB, IHHA, ITTA, TAAI & TAFI.
Said Nakul Anand, “You have and will be hearing the Presidents of these associations who are my colleagues on the board of FAITH our collective thoughts.”
In his address Nakul Anand stressed, “Despite its rich treasure trove and high rankings in Natural & Cultural resources coupled with price competitiveness, India – the 5th largest economy in the world could only capture 1.24% of the World’s International Tourist Arrivals in 2019, despite the fact that India ranked 8th on Cultural Resources & Business Travel and 14th on Natural Resources on World Economic Forum Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2019 out of 140 countries. We, obviously have not been able to realise the true impact of Tourism and convert our natural advantages into a potential economic advantage.”
He continued, “There are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen. The Covid pandemic swept through the world and wreaked havoc like never before. It remains the worst crisis to hits the industry, ironically tourism relies on the same mobility that spreads the disease.”
With a philosophical touch Nakul Anand pointed out, “Every storm, however, brings with itself seeds of opportunities. Opportunities are like Sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them. Uncertain times are the catalysts for re-imagination and the opportunity also lies in seeing what everyone sees and imagining what no one has thought. Archimedes saw the water level in his bathtub rise as he immersed himself. Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why. Gandhi questioned violence. Buddha questioned desire. Christ questioned revenge. And the Wright Brothers questioned gravity.”
He put forward the real issue that was in the audience mind, when he asked rhetorically, “What has the pandemic changed?The pandemic triggered consumers to make this the “Year of the Travel Reset”- The Great Life Refresh, resulting in drastic personal changes and a collective reboot of values, lifestyle and purpose driven goals.”
“The future is, traveling slower and more mindfully,” he suggested, adding other significant changes like embracing regenerative travel, challenging over-tourism and correcting under-tourism, the changed perception of experience-inclusive destinations rooted in meaningful connections with nature. He said that Community development, Conservation and Sustainability (green activism & low carbon lifestyle are here to stay), while putting Purpose first was an important part of the great Tourism Reset..
The address touched upon future trends which will dominate tourism. Travel will be less about where you go and when you go. More about who you are with and what you can do together from mass travel to meaningful travel. The year ahead will also see the rise of premium travel. Expedia is calling 2022 the year of the GOAT, or the “Greatest of All Trips.” – The big once in a life time adventure dream trip to loosen the purse strings (go big, spend big)
In 1943, American psychologist Abraham Maslow established a theory of human motivation based on a hierarchical classification of 5 human needs which human drive behaviour. Over the past decades and accelerated by the pandemic, the tourism industry has evolved from focusing on primarily basic needs to the higher order of psychological and experiential guest needs.
Said Nakul Anand, “Experience will be the battleground for differentiation. The four realms of experience (education, esthetic, escapist & entertainment) can be used to script and stage experiences that are personalized, transformative, travel inspired, food focused and eco-friendly. Many modern-day concerns arising from the pandemic can thus become the new beacon of light for Tourism India. We need to blend our current tourism assets with our ancient wisdom.”
What then, is India’s opportunity?
“In our past lies our future” – While the rest of the world rushes to find solutions, we in India already have our charter crafted and created centuries ago! We at FAITH believe that we have a great opportunity to make Indian Tourism the mainstream engine of Socio-Economic growth. In our journey to 100th anniversary of India’s Independence in 2047, it is more than possible to achieve 100 million Inbound Tourists and 10 billion Domestic Tourism Visits, with a potential employment of 150 million additional direct and indirect jobs pan India.”
He shared a master plan which revealed that at the core of achieving this vision are the strategic pillars;
- Shared National Tourism Vision
- Value Accretive Regulation
- Investment Drivers and
- Market Excellence.
“These,” he added, “can best be summed up in what we term as Keeping the “FAITH” in Our TEN to WIN.”
The top TEN ways to WIN include:
NATIONAL TOURISM COUNCIL- “One India – One Tourism”
- GST amendments- “One Country – One Tax”
- Infrastructure Sector and Industry Status- “Quality brings Quality”
- Export Status “Globally Competitive”-Value & Volume
- Classify Tourism in the Concurrent List
- Domestic Travel Tax Credit- “Extend Benefits to ‘Aas Paas’ Tourism”
- Create Tourism Centers of Excellence
- Sensitisation on importance of Tourism across all states’ officers
- Seamless Tourism Transportation- “Standardise all inter State road Taxes”
- Integrated Tourism Marketing Campaign between Center and States
Making India more Incredible is a reality waiting to happen.
Nakul Anand concluded his thought-provoking address with, “Mark Twain said it many years ago…”India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”
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