NEW DELHI: “Incredible India” — the country’s international tourism campaign — has come a full circle exactly two decades later. The government has finalised — “Incredible India! Visit India Year 2023” — as its campaign tagline to revive international tourism post-Covid, Union tourism secretary Arvind Singh told TOI Monday.
The Vajpayee government had used this slogan in 2002 with Amitabh Kant, then in the tourism ministry, being a key driver. Now India is banking on G20 to revive international inbound in 2023 when it hosts the summit with Kant as the Sherpa.
“In terms of international inbound, we expect to recover faster than other Asian countries. We are likely to see as many international arrivals in 2023 as we had in pre-Covid 2019 at 1.7 crore. Thanks to the G20 Presidency, we should soon go past the 2019 figure which was the highest ever annual arrival,” Arvind Singh said.
“G20 is a huge opportunity to send back every visitor to India with a unique Indian experience which in culturally enriching, mentally rejuvenating and spiritually invigorating. Every G20 participant must go back home as a brand ambassador of Incredible India!” Amitabh Kant told TOI.
Out of the 1.7 crore international inbound in 2019, about 1.1 crore were foreign tourists. Starting March 2020, international travel took an unprecedented hit with Covid. As a result, 2020 saw 27 lakh foreign tourists, most of who were her in January and February of that year. In 2021, the number was at 15 lakh. According to the India Tourism Statistics 2022, the arrival of NRIs had increased by 52.6% in 2021 compared to 2020.
Since July 2020, Indian travel industry has been surviving primarily on domestic tourists. Hospitality sector biggies say while their focus will remain firmly on domestic tourism, the revival of international inbound will aid the overall recovery of the industry.
“We needed something really big to revive international inbound to India. The G20 is just the right global platform and mega event to help us achieve that. India is a year-round destination with something for everyone — from the Himalayas to the desert and the sandy beaches — along with its incomparable culture, heritage and hospitality,” said a leading hotelier who did not wish to be named.





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