A ‘Know India’ Seminar was held in Mauritius at the Hotel Intercontinental this week, in the presence of Hon Nandcoomar Bodha, Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport and Acting Minister of Tourism as well as other personalities, including Mr IRV Rao, Head of Regional Tourist Office, Government of India in Johannesburg and representatives of travel agencies.
The High Commissioner of India, Shri Abhay Tahkur, in his address said he was happy to welcome everybody present to the ‘Incredible India’ presentation by the Government of India Regional Tourist Office based out of Johannesburg.
He drew attention to ‘the unique historic, cultural and ancestral linkages between India and Mauritius’ that are well known, emphasizing how ‘Our two peoples maintain very close contact and frequently travel to each other’s countries’, giving some numbers that reflected this growing closeness. Thus, ‘Not only are both India and Mauritius growing rapidly as attractive tourist destinations globally, but also that tourist exchanges between them is intensifying bilaterally… Both India and Mauritius tourist arrivals grew by well over 10% last year. Further, ‘bilaterally, the number of Indian tourists coming into Mauritius in 2016 was 82,670, a growth of 14.6%, while the number of Mauritian tourists coming into India in 2015 was 32,533, a growth of 16.4%. So the number of our peoples travelling to each other countries is also growing well, in the range of 15%’.
He felt that with the ‘growing prosperity in India and Mauritius, and growing propensity to travel, tourism is definitely one sector where both sides can and are doing more’. He referred to the recent initiatives by GOI, ‘like the e-Tourist Visa facility and the special dispensation for Mauritius for OCI cards’, as well as ‘special schemes of great interest to Mauritians, who either seek spiritual rejuvenation through pilgrimage in India, or wish to re-discover their umbilical connect with India, or go for wellness treatment’.
For example, the ‘Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme aims at providing a complete religious and spiritual tourism experience’, covering many sites across several states. The Swadesh Darshan scheme has thirteen thematic circuits, for example, North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit’.
He also highlighted that ‘India is also well recognized the world over as a holistic health and wellness tourism destination, offering quality medical services of global standing with highly qualified doctors, state-of–the-art diagnostic equipment and affordable treatment at competitive prices’.
In conclusion, he encouraged ‘the travel companies present here today to further develop their contacts with their Indian counterparts in order to utilize all the various avenues and options available’, confident that ‘with your support, our efforts to increase our tourist linkages will be fruitful’.