Published on : Saturday, February 20, 2021
Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), the policy federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India and cause partner AIRDA in association with ministry of tourism and KPMG as its knowledge partner, kick-started its annual India Tourism Mart (ITM) with a physical inauguration on Thursday, February 18. India Tourism Mart – ITM, which is a buyer seller meet, is taking place in a virtual format from February 18-20, 2021.
In his inaugural address, Mr. Subhash Goyal, Chairman, ITM 2021 and Honorary Secretary, FAITH emphasised how the past year was the darkest in the history of mankind and tourism was the worst hit where the travel fraternity was literally left hanging from a thread. He urged the industry to come together and consolidate their efforts for the revival of tourism in India. He mentioned that to revive the tourism industry and save millions of jobs, three key actions are being undertaken by policy makers – re-starting of e-tourist visas; reinstatement of scheduled international flights, at least to those countries with which India has air-bubble arrangements, with the necessary precautions on safety to allow willing travellers the opportunity to travel again and modification of policies to help subsidise or reduce the financial burden on the sector.
Reiterating Mr. Goyal’s viewpoint, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of India said, authorities have already started issuing medical visas are planning to soon restart E-Tourist Visas and schedule International flights in a phased manner. He shared that the restart will be on a reciprocal basis, first with those countries with whom India have an air bubble agreement. He stated the Ministry of Health is fully supporting the Ministry of Tourism’s efforts in reviving international tourism to India.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Ayog, said that the revival of tourism is integral for India to regain the GDP growth of 9 to 10 per cent sooner than later. He also reiterated that there remains no doubt regarding the recovery of the tourism sector and he is confident of its bouncing back. Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of Tourism, Government of India, who could not be present physically, addressed the gathering and delegates virtually, assuring Government’s complete cooperation to the tourism sector and stating the numerous Government policies & initiatives and how they are providing relief and benefit to the tourism sector.
Mr. Nakul Anand, Chairman, FAITH in his address shared all that FAITH has successfully achieved in the past few years. He reiterated how the federation has worked closely with the Central as well as the State Government for the growth of Indian tourism industry. He shared that authorities have closely worked with Governments on tourism components and various strategic national and international policies, such as E-Visa, GST, Strategy on monuments, PPP policy, Tourism Vision Document, Foreign Trade, Udan policy, Union Budget discussion, economic surveys, cruise tourism policy, I Respect Women badges and more. He also mentioned that they are excited to bring ITM 2021 – Virtual, which is a great marketplace for Indian tourism to showcase its products and services to the global audience. He also emphasized that as a new feature this year, domestic buyers were invited as well.
Mr. Amaresh Tiwari, Co-Chairman, ITM 2021– Virtual and Vice Chairman, ICPB was applauded by all for not just burning the midnight oil in putting together a great event but also for putting together extremely insightful and knowledgeable panellists together for the Leadership Conclave. He shared that during these 3 days, there will be 12 Knowledge Sessions with 73 Speakers. He stated tha ITM 2021 – Virtual, has 73 countries participating along with 316 International Buyers, 240 Domestic Buyer and over 1200 delegates joining in virtually.
Mr. Arvind Singh, Secretary Tourism, Government of India; Mr. Rakesh Verma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Mrs. Meenakshi Sharma, DG Tourism, Government of India in their respective addresses applauded the efforts of FAITH in organising the event virtually and assured complete cooperation of the government in reviving the tourism sector in India starting with revival of e-visa and international flights soon. Mrs. Rupinder Brar, ADG, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India gave the vote of thanks. The road ahead vision document prepared by FAITH & KPMG was also released on the occasion.