The title indicates that I am out to sell India like the great villains in Hindi Cinema do to phoren people. Remember Amrish Puri in Ketan Mehta’s “Oh Darling Yeh hai India”. He wants to auction India. No, I am certainly not selling India although a number of Indians are available for sale looking at corruption rise in the country.
Sunday, I had accompanied Ranjana to a Travel Exhibition in Utrecht, a City in Netherlands. Ranjana owns a Travel service company and the exhibition was about getting new clients and business for the company. I was told to handle queries regarding travel to India.
Recently India was voted as the top 5 tourist destination in the world. In spite of many problems like the Tsunami, earthquake, terrorist attack but still the cultural diversity and the beautiful landscape could attract more than 3.5 million tourists.
But this isn’t a fact finding mission for the Indian Tourism industry. The Indian stall in the exhibition was a very small affair. Promoted by the “Incredible India” campaign, it saw a small number of Travel and Tour operators. I am from the IT industry and have very little idea about the tourism industry except I read something on the net.
So off I was volunteering to sell India to the world. It was a difficult task. For a person like me, with little knowledge about tourism and in total India itself, selling India was a daunting task.
I could answer a lot of queries based on the little knowledge I had and we did manage to generate an interest about India.
But the question still remains. How much do we know about India? How much of our own country we know? I have always these pre-notions about certain places in India. The north Indians are always show-offs. The North-east India is very violent. The South Indian are geeky and do not speak Hindi. Actually a very few Indians have traveled to parts other than their own. But the economy changed and now people move across state borders. Its migration for jobs, better prospects etc. With technology also improving and Air travel becoming cheaper people are seeing more of India.
So what is India’s selling point? We working in the IT industry make to various part of the world for projects. We are a representation of India in these countries. When India struggles to become a developed country making a successful migration from the Third-world countries, there are many misconceptions about India. The country of snake-charmers, we know that we haven’t seen a snake-charmer in ages. The western world has a picture of India which is difficult to shake. Added to that, Indians have the habit of putting the negative points forward when they talk about India. I find this very self-destructing.
How do you plan to sell anything which you yourself don’t believe in? Sure, we have problems but those are present in all countries in some form or other. I have never seen any one else bad-mouthing their country as much as we do.
India has a vast number of languages, cultures, monuments and a lot of history. But the way this is marketed leaves a lot to be desired. Look at the North-East states, a lot could be developed only on the revenue generated by tourism.
We have a great product, what required is a great promotion.