Kolkata, Aug 6 :
Lamenting India’s negative tourist inflow, EIH Executive Chairman PRS Oberoi Wednesday called for reviewing government regulations for better marketing of the country’s largely untapped heritage assets, including Buddhist sites.
“India is one of the few countries to have negative travel account balance and the gap could widen considerably with outbound Indian travellers projected to reach 50 million by 2020,” Oberoi said in his speech during the company’s 64th AGM here.
India attracted only 6.8 million foreign visitors in 2013 while the outflow at nearly 15 million was more than double.
Oberoi also said that due to “unreasonable” coastal and island regulations, despite having a very long coastline, India’s beach and island destinations have remain untapped.
“India has unrivalled Buddhist sites such as Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Nalanda, but this market too has remain untapped because of lack of adequate connectivity and tourism facilities.
“Our heritage sites attract scant attention towards their upkeep and presentation. A drastic overhaul is required and regulations reviewed so that these untapped markets are fully utilised,” he said.
He also called for taking urgent steps to transform Air India as a strategic marketing tool to promote “Brand India”.
Regretting that India spends only 1 percent of its gross domestic product on the development of travel and tourism, Oberoi said the new government at the Centre has brought renewed confidence regarding the revival of the economy, development and growth.
EIH runs premium hotels under the Oberoi and Trident brands.