Organised by The High Commission of India in Kuala Lumpur (HCI), the India Tourism Promotion Event on November 12th, 2021 at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose India Cultural Centre at Brickfields, saw a full house, and representation by travel entrepreneurs from the tourism and travel sector from Malaysia, along with MITTA (Malaysian Indian Travel and Tours Association) and MATTA (Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents).
The event began with welcome remarks by the First Secretary, Ms. C. Sushm, HCI, who highlighted that the event was being held on the eve of India opening its borders for international tourism on 15 November 2021. Various applicable guidelines were highlighted to the audience, including quarantine restrictions for international arrival into India. Various initiatives undertaken by the Government of India to boost the tourism sector were outlined, including initiating first 500,000 tourist visas free of charge to tourists, as well as specific tourist circuits targeted at Spiritual tourism, like with the Ramayana Circuit train journey curated around destinations that touch on the epic life and story of Lord Ram, the Buddhist Circuit, retracing the birth, life, enlightenment, and teachings of Buddha aimed for travelers from South East Asia; a tasteful journey around the delightful cuisines of India called `India on a Plate,’ for global foodies and culinary enthusiasts; mooting Railway Tourism spanning across lesser known historical and cultural destinations; wellness and medical tourism for followers of Ayurveda and alternative medicine; along with adventure tours targeted at international tourists from around the globe.
Specific initiatives undertaken by the State Governments were also highlighted to ensure all SOPs are in place to strengthen a smooth airport to destination experience, traveler registration and tracking services for feedback and on-ground support aimed at minimizing the risk of COVID infection.
Dato’ K. Thangavelu, President MITTA, highlighted that India’s decision to open its borders for international tourism from 15th November was a crucial landmark for the tourism sector. He outlined how important it was for the tour operators to be aware of the exact guidelines for international arrival both in India, and Malaysia, to be able to offer suitable guidance to tourists.
Mr. Ganneesh Ramachandran, Vice President (Inbound & Domestic) MATTA, highlighted how India offers multiple opportunities for tourism, and how India has always been a popular destination for Malaysian nationals. He said that the announcement by the Government of Malaysia to possibly open its international border for tourism in January 2022 will further help boost tourism traffic between the two countries. Dato’ A. Aruldas, Deputy President, MITTA, highlighted that Malaysians are keenly looking forward to visit India. He was confident that once the flight connectivity resumes and travel restrictions ease, the tourism will soon resume.
High Commissioner H.E. Mr. B.N. Reddy addressed the audience and highlighted how people-to-people linkages form the foundation of India-Malaysia partnership. “Tourism and visits are critical for furthering these linkages,” he stated. The High Commissioner also announced that Indian Visa Application Collection Centre in Kuala Lumpur will become operational from 15 November 2021.
The High Commissioner also spoke about two key enabling factors for tourism, besides the travel regulations: Mainly, mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, and Air Bubble arrangement between India and Malaysia. “India and Malaysia are working together towards an early finalisation of these arrangements,” the High Commissioner assured the Malaysian Travel and Tour sector, whilst stating that the HCI KL will continue to facilitate in all possible ways to revive the tourist visits from Malaysia to India.
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