New Delhi: Having showcased India as a preferred tourist destination in the ‘India Now´ festival in the UK, the government on 6 September said it plans to organise similar events in other countries.
The three-month long event which climaxed in Regent Street Festival in London on 2 September, saw more than 650,000 visitors turning up from all walks of life.
“The turnout surpassed our expectations. The UK is one of the most important markets for us,” a senior official in the Ministry of Tourism said here.
The government is planning to hold similar ‘India Now´ festivals in the US and European countries, she told PTI.
Over seven lakh tourists from the UK visited India during 2006, an increase of 12.8% compared to the previous year.
Tourists from UK account for over 16% of the total tourist traffic to India, followed by USA, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
The ministry is undertaking various promotional activities to further tap the immense potential of this market.
“India literally came alive at the annual Regent Street Festival in the heart of London as it showcased the rich music, dance and colour of the country,” the official said.
The grand finale of the India Now festival was organised by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, at Regent Street - home to some of the top retail brands and flagship stores of the UK.
He also pulled out a prize winning entry for two people on the Deccan Odyssey.
“The last day was the most crowded and the visitors interest was immense. Our stalls ran out of the promotional material of Incredible India campaign,” the official said.
“We also carried out an extensive media campaign in the print and electronic media as well as on buses, taxis and outdoor panels in Central London during the three month period,” she added.
London’s premier shopping street was transformed into an Indian streetscape with ethnic music, food and artisans.
A temple-style archway in a ‘typical Indian way’ was set up at one end of the street and an Incredible India marquee with traditional decor greeted visitors at the entrance to the street.
The highlights of the festival included Manipuri dances, a recreation of Goa’s beaches, a street bazaar with Indian spices, herbs, silks and a variety of teas. Pounding of large Indian ‘dhols´ added a vibrant rhythm to the event.
Over 150 cultural organisations from London participated in “the biggest ever” festival of India to be staged in the UK.