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Visit Incredible India 2009

'Visit India 2009' scheme has been launched with effect from today, April 1, 2009 by the Indian Ministry of Tourism and Culture wherei n several incentives by way of value additions would be offered to foreign tourists visiting the country between now and December 2009.

Whether you want to visit India to participate in a wine show or survey the Indian market or just want to travel and enjoy the Indian wines, visiting vineyards in Maharashtra and Karnataka, the government has made efforts to make it cheaper and easier for you  through this scheme.

It is a confidence building exercise to restore the traveler's confidence in a recessionary world, numbed by the Mumbai terrorist attack. The government has announced various incentives for the tourists as well the tourism and hospitality industry.

As already announced in delWine earlier, the value additions that would be offered include:

1. Complimentary international air passage for traveling companion through Air-India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines

2. One night complimentary stay in the hotel booked by the tourist. The participating hotels include the Taj group, Oberoi, Park, ITDC and ITC Hotels-with several variants available that include freebies like airport transfers and discounts on food.

3. One complimentary local sightseeing tour in any one city of visit

4. One complimentary Rural Eco Holiday in the country.

The scheme will operated on the concept of providing some additional or complimentary service to the tourist, for every service paid for. The incentives would be offered in collaboration with Airlines, Hotels and Tour Operators.

Promotional initiatives have been launched in the important tourist generating markets overseas to promote tourism to the country. The following months will see a spur in such advertisements.

Foreign tourist arrivals, one of the major contributors to the country's foreign exchange earnings started declining since November last year due to global financial crisis. Tourism was hit badly further by the Mumbai terror strike. Hotels witnessed and panicked to see the cancellations of over 50%. The government took cognizance of the situation and decided  to take measures to improve the situation after discussing with various stakeholders in the tourism industry.

DelWine had received several enquiries subsequent to their publishing the news item in edition 280 on January 23 this year. The scheme was not very clear at that time.

Much more clarity is now available at the official website of the Ministry . The Ministry does not take any direct responsibility for the operating of the scheme. But it does showcase the various facets of the scheme on a single platform that may be viewed by clicking here .

Since there is no single agency monitoring or administering the scheme, the readers would do well to check out the schemes they wish to utilize and get in touch with the service providers directly. For instance, the website does not show the exact airline fares or room tariffs on which the discounts or the complimentary nights are available.

As the industry has become incredibly smart and sophisticated, conditions apply on every offer and one needs to scrutinize them before having the third glass of wine. An example- Air India offers 55% discounts to senior citizens on the domestic air travel. Yet, a ticket from Delhi to Bangalore that costs Rs.5,800 costs Rs.11,000 if one wishes to avail the discount. Reason is simple, Dr. Watson! The discount is available on the full economy fare at which it probably sells hardly any tickets in today's competitive economy.

Similarly the hotels offer a discount of over 50% on the published rates. A free night or two won't have any meaning if the full price is expected to be paid to avail of the scheme offering free additional nights. Although Park Hotel has announced the special price, others have apparently not. The scheme does announce special tariffs for the hotels under the scheme, but we advise our readers to contact the hotels directly for clarifications.

The government has made genuine efforts to benefit the foreign travelers to India and one can make significant savings with good planning and looking into details.

DelWine or the Indian Wine Academy is in no way connected with any aspect of the scheme.

 

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