Sunday, September 29, 2013

It will be a Himalayan task

Campaigns by the Indian government come and they go but nobody ever gets a glimpse of what goes on in between.

The Indian government has launched yet another campaign called...wait for it...'777 days of Incredible Indian Himalayas' on World Tourism Day this September. This will be to attract international and domestic tourists during the lean summer season. 

Apparently, no one seems to know why the programme will run only for 777 days. So what happens after November 13, 2015?

Now we all know that the ministry is more keen to reach out to international visitors even as the dependable Indian tourists stands ignored. Regardless of that, I'm not sure how well they package India abroad because they sure as hell don't sell it well here.

So anyways, six states will be a part of this: Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. 

The good news in all this is that the ministry will cough up 50% of peak fee that the IMF (Indian Mountaineering Foundation) charges all climbing expeditions. For all of 777 days! 

Unfortunately, there is so much more that the MoT should be doing. The Himalayas is a (pardon the pun) hot spot for adventure - be it mountaineering, skiing, trekking or even soft adventure activities. But what is lacking is a good marketing pitch and attractive packaging. Two things Singapore excels in. 

Unfortunately, good packaging should be preceded by a good product. Our infrastructure in most parts (except the regions where army has its presence) is deficient without which any packaging will only look like a glossy gift wrap. Instead of waiting and watching, the ministry should watch and learn. 

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