Mumbai: The government recognition for tourism as an industry is need of the hour because a well-documented policy will help people to legally offer their apartments to foreign tourists for staying, averred Neem Holidays Pvt Ltd Managing Director Manish Agarwal on the occasion of World Tourism Day. He made the point while speaking at the 'FPJ Dialogue' which was held at the Free Press Journal office on Wednesday.
Underscoring that a tourism policy will also help people offering services related to the sector to pay taxes, he asserted that the government should also simultaneously improve infrastructure facilities across the nation. Explaining the emerging trend, Agarwal pointed out that there was a steady increase in the number of Indians going abroad for tourism post-Covid.
Pandemic-hit industry sees boom
He continued that his company concentrates exclusively on organising group tours to foreign destinations while highlighting that the potential was immense for the same. During the pandemic, outbound travel, like all other industries, was severely hit, but now the situation is looking up with a large number of Indians going to Europe, Japan and South East Asia in a big way. Tours to Europe were the most popular with Indians, Agarwal added.
He further said that even during Christmas when the weather was very cold in Europe, Indians were keen on travelling because the comfort level for Indian tourists abroad has increased tremendously. To put it in perspective, he recalled that earlier, some tour operators used to take cooks along with them, but the fad is no more as every type of Indian food is now easily available overseas.
Though there was tremendous competition to organise tours within India, the number of companies for foreign tours are very limited. “The potential for the same is huge and I am confident that Neem Holidays will occupy the number one position,” he emphasised. Asked about the hidden costs involved in foreign travel, he replied, “We at Neem conduct our business with total transparency by providing all the facilities promised to the customers. We often surprise them with facilities which didn't exist in the original itinerary. In this way, we retain our customers who are all completely satisfied with our tariff and service,” told Agarwal.
When queried about the scope for inbound tourism, he said that India has exploited only a fraction of its potential while adding that Neem has no plans to enter into inbound tourism as of now. “Our strategy is to further excel in organising group tours abroad. We are a well-focused company,” he said.