In 1955 a tourism cell was formed in Air India. It was subsequently upgraded to a division in 1981 with its base in New Delhi.
1. Tourism Division
The division played an important role in promoting inbound tourist traffic to India. The division has 4 main sections
- Public relations
- Mountaineering and trekking
- Congresses and conventions
The division works in close liaison with the department of tourism and its overseas offices, to plan the marketing strategies for promoting tourism to India.
2. Public Relations and Tourism Generating Activities
The idea of the activities is to
- Project India as an attractive tourist destination
- How Air India can make it much more convenient and meaningful
The activities are categorised into mainline activities and ancillary activities.
a) Mainline Activities
This include participation in major international travel trade shows and meets. Sponsoring visits to India of travel agents and writers. Arranging Indian cultural events and food festivals abroad. Foreigners will get a taste of India's rich cultural heritage. Creating awareness and interest overseas about the range of tourism activities like fishing, wildlife, golf etc and also organizing travel marts. Involvement with the international congress and conventions associations to tap the extensive and growing market of conventions and congresses. Assisting state governments to promote their tourist facilities overseas.
b) Ancillary Activities
Providing mandatory passages to the department of tourism for inviting travel agents, writers and media representations. Organising 'know India' seminars overseas. Producing and screening of ausio-visuals highlighting special aspects of India. Publishing bi-monthly newsletter to bring about effective communication within Air India offices worldwide. Organising orientation seminars for Air India officers posted abroad to familiarise them with the latest news and trends regarding the Indian tourism product and its infrastructure.
3. Congresses and Conventions
Congresses and conventions cell started in 1976 and handles about 60 conferences yearly. It is actively engaged in marketing and promoting India as a conference destination. The cell works closely with Indian Convention Promotion Bureau, Ministry of Tourism and travel bodies for promoting India as a conference and convention venue. The cell succeeded in driving a considerable number of passengers to India.
4. Adventure Tourism
The objective is to promote mountaineering, trekking and adventure activities. The cell works in association with Indian mountaineering foundation, department of tourism and adventure clubs in India and outside. It assists in getting clearances from government agencies for expeditions to various peaks in the Himalayas. The cell actively promotes white-water rafting, car rallies, ballooning etc. Special emphasis is given to sports championships for which India has great potential.
5. Special Schemes
It is specially designed for the convenience of tourists and business travelers who would normally overfly India, provide them an excellent opportunity to enjoy a holiday at budget rates. Cities overseas also come under the scheme. In India, stopover packages are offered at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Madras. The shopper tours can be availed for a maximum period of 3 nights and must be pre-booked through any Air India office overseas.
b) India Super Summer Saver Scheme
This is to promote tourism in the lean months of April-September. This is done in association with the Department of tourism, Indian airlines and leading hotel chains. Concession on fares and tariffs provided to use the under utilised hotel capacity during summer months. Tourists are directed to cooler hill resorts.
6. Special Promotions
Some of the special promotions are
On MTV, promotional programme focused on Calcutta was done in association with Department of Tourism and Taj Bengal.
b) Indian Crafts Exhibition in Austria
In 1993, a major exhibition of living Indian crafts were organised at Austria. The exhibition featured a display of contemporary Indian handicrafts.
c) Food & Culture Festivals
Following the popularity of Goan food and cultural festival organised in Singapore and Malaysia in 1992, Air India is planning more events.
d) Magasin du Nord India Promotion
A promotion of Indian handicrafts and goods in Scandinavia will be done through the largest department store chain Magasin du Nord.
e) Theme Song and Campaign
Theme song and campaign was launched by Air India to promote tourism.