Sector’s job generation prospects must be explored, says former tourism secretary

Events like the Kochi-Muziris biennale point to the fact that India has yet to exploit its potential as a tourist destination, Amitabh Kant, CEO and managing director of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation, has said.

Delivering a talk on ‘Brand India’ at Aspinwall House, a biennale venue, the former tourism secretary of Kerala recalled how certain programmes designed under his guidance were successful in boosting Kerala’s and India’s image as a cultural destination.

Among them were campaigns such as ‘God’s Own Country’ and ‘Incredible India’, besides those meant to give training to guides as well as taxi drivers, and creating awareness among people about preserving heritage sites and tourist resorts, he was quoted in a biennale press release.

Mr. Kant said records showed an average of 30 people in India moving every minute from villages to urban areas in search of livelihood. “The tourism segment is what aids their job prospects. There are ways to boost it. We have to use them well,” he said. “We brand our land not as an advertisement, but as an experience.”

On an awareness campaign by the Union tourism department, he said the advertisements had been conceptualised based on the need for inculcating a habit among children to conserve legacies and to maintain the surroundings clean.

Involving local communities in such moves could bring in better results, he added.

Later, princess Hoor al-Qasimi, Sharjah Art Foundation president, along with Yuko Hasegawa, curator of the upcoming biennale in the West Asian Emirate, explained its aesthetic and organisational aspects.

Ghanaian artist Bernard Akoi-Jackson will deliver a talk at the same venue on Sunday.

Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor is slated to speak on ‘Globalisation and Human Imagination’ on Monday at 12 noon.