Shri Kapil Misra, Tourism Minister, Delhi, is a young, dynamic, enthusiastic and full of ideas. He talks about Delhi; he feels it and envisions taking Delhi to greater heights, by boosting its tourism in its various aspects. Just in six months of taking the charge as Delhi’s Tourism Minister, he has strategically picked out the small elements and through them is working towards achieving the larger vision he has for the state. In 2015, the Delhi Tourism Department was fairly dormant, however, he plans to change the same and bring in many new initiatives giving Delhi Tourism the much needed push. He shares his plans for 2016 exclusively with TTJ.
2015 was not an unusual year for Delhi in terms of tourist flow in the state; it has been an average year. But one improvement which has happened in the year 2015 is that the networking of Delhi Tourism Department has improved, which has been an achievement. Earlier what use to happen was that tour operators were working on some other activities and government was taking some other initiatives and the connection between both were missing. We have started emphasising on relation building and even on policy making; we are taking feedback from the tour operators. For example, Delhi didn’t have any Tourism Policy earlier, so we are in the process of making it and it are on the final stage now. This particular stage, I will name it as a foundation stage, we can’t accept a dramatic result in the moment but, atleast we have started working in a positive direction which for sure in the years to come will give an encouraging outcome.
Key highlights of Tourism Policy:
The policy will carve out an overall overview including what significant approach we will be taking to encourage tourism in the state and in what direction we will be taking it. What will be our vision and what kind of facilities will we provide to tourists coming in the capital. At present the scenario is that, tourists coming in the capital often get lost and do not know where to head towards. So, we are developing quiet many tours, mobile application and are also upgrading our website. We are also in the process of opening up tourist information center. So, first of all, we have shaped our larger goals and now are identifying the small components with the help of which we can achieve the vision we have set.
2016 is going to be a year of events for Delhi. All the big events are coming to Delhi. Already we have seen Zubin Mehta, A R Rehman, everyone year after years have came to Delhi and performed. We have changed the event organising policy and are also giving a single window clearance. We are also planning Delhi Festival at massive scale in the month of February 2016, which will later on become an annual event. We are also planning few major events on the banks of Yamuna River. All the major events will be coming to Delhi and this will be the year when we will launch Brand Delhi. The first phase of marketing Brand Delhi campaign nationally and internationally will also start. This is going to be a very interesting year for us. We are also working on certain ideas, few logos or symbols or products which one can identify with the capital. At present we are working with Delhi I Love, running a campaign on Twitter, taking feedback from people. Yet, we have not taken any concrete decision. Definitely, there will be symbol, punchline, and a whole marketing exercise will be done for Delhi.
Reviving unknown heritage sites:
There are around 200 heritage sites which are unknown and are reviving many of those. We also have an archaeological section in South Delhi, which have never been maintained. We now are putting all the records online which are approx 10 lakhs pages. We are also planning small tours to these heritage sites and around 100 walks these not so known sites and will also launch several walks such as food walk, history walk, etc. For this we are looking for partners, several NGOs have come forward, there are other commercial organisations and others such as FICCI, CII are coming forward. It is going to be a mass exercise where so many people are coming forward.
We are going to brand the food heritage in old part of Delhi. People are already going there and experiencing it, but it is not well managed and promoted. There are some food walks in the southern part of Delhi which we are going to initiate in the coming two months. Apart from this, other major issue is to deal with touts in the airport, railway station and bus terminal area. There are also many fake tourist information centers. These touts does not allow people to enter Delhi, the moment they land wrong information is passed on to them saying there is a curfew or strike in the city and take people outside Delhi. We have reports and I have also written to Delhi Police Commissioner and Lt Governor to organise a joint meeting with Delhi Police and Tourism Ministry. There are many FIRs and need a corporation from Delhi Police. We are also changing the DTDC website and it will be dynamic and interactive website and will also launch Delhi Tourism on Twitter and Facebook.
We are in touch with people who have organised Singapore Festival and Mumbai Festival and we are learning from. We are also connecting all the events which we are doing in Delhi. So with the launch of Delhi Festival you will see the change. Without any initiative people are coming to Delhi and would like to visit Delhi despite of any negative feedback. Earlier there was no strategy there and if they were doing any events, there was no long term strategy behind it. We need to have an action and we are working on a long term policy and strategy and once we roll it out in February 2016, you will see that we have a plan.