SUBJECT: DAY 01: IATO Campaign - “a Message a Day”
9th January 2016
To All Members,
Sub: IATO Campaign - “a Message a Day”
Happy a New Year again from all of us in IATO. Hope you’re settling down to your routine after a relaxing festive period.
This message is of a fairly serious nature and we need the support of all our members on what we are about to say. Unless we come together as one in our efforts, we will not make progress.
Our Hon’ble Prime Minister has been promoting tourism all over the world but ground reality is not changing due to various reasons. The past year has seen a very alarming slowdown in tourism arrivals into India and consequently business for a vast majority of our members. Although official government figures may show small increases, the actual situation on the ground for the organised tourism sector as reported by our members and partner hotels is very different. It is evident that the foreign arrivals into India have a higher percentage of non-tourists.
The decline can be attributed to a number of reasons. A lack of overseas promotion by the government; outdated brand image; no heads for India Tourism offices across the world; poor PR efforts to counter negative press; our high prices due to irrational taxation structures…we can go on and on. The reality is that the situation we are in today is a result of consistent government apathy (central and state) towards tourism as an industry.
IATO has been pushing hard at the Ministry of Tourism to get some action, but unfortunately issues beyond the control of very supportive ministry officials are blocking our efforts. We will be honest when we say that we in your IATO EC team are extremely frustrated and very disheartened at the lack of action at a national level.
The time has come to get our message to the highest levels of government. It’s time to know take a stand and push for what is our right. It’s time to be heard !!
We have created a Campaign called “a Message a Day”. There is a clear strategy behind this process for which we need the active participation of every IATO member.
We ask that each of you send one email every day for the week of January 11-15 to the Prime Minister of India expressing what you feel about the industry, what the problems you are facing and what actions need to be take. We need to be assertive yet polite. But not weak. (details on procedure for sending are given below)
Every day pick up a new issue and send a message to our PM Mr Modi. We will leave it to you to write about what you think is important, but we are offering some suggestions below along with some talking points. We want you to state your opinion and thoughts in your own words. –
• Monday Jan 11 2016 – High taxes – highlight your views on the high an irrational taxes; how taxes are out pricing us; how a reduction in taxes reduces costs and will encourage more visitors
• Tuesday Jan 12 2016 – Weak and poor implementation of the e-Visa system – poor payment gateway, long lines at airports, we need more countries to be added, we need the validity of the visa to be made for 6 months (currently at 30 days), we need the application period to be increased from 30 days to 6 months, we need it to be a multiple entry visa to allow for inter-regional travel
• Wednesday Jan 13 2016 – Employment in the industry – due to the downturn we will see retrenchment of staff across the industry, new employment generation will be nil, cost of running a company and paying salaries is becoming unmanageable
• Thursday Jan 14 2016 – poor infrastructure of our national monuments – the ASI is proposing to increase monument entrance fees by 300% from April 1. They have ignored all pleas by the industry on a rational and staggered increase. We support fees, but we need to be fair to travellers and we need to demand service form the ASI in their maintenance. ALSO, The Clean India campaign has had no effect on our tourist sites. We need special efforts on that front.
• Friday Jan 15 2016 – No marketing of Indian Tourism – no real marketing campaign or overseas promotion, no marketing support to the industry, overseas tourist offices have been left without the heads for months and some years, no support to foreign agents, the lack of any visibility or presence of the Indian tourism brand has hurt us.
Please add in all messages something that states the following –
• Every mail must end with the following “Sir, the inbound tourism industry of India needs an appointment with you. Tourism is your passion and we need help before it is too late!”
• The Indian tourism industry is facing negative growth
• The Organised tourism industry is under the biggest threat it has even been in the past 20 years
• Companies are in critical condition and many small and medium players are on the verge of closing down
• You must ensure that every message has a common link the basic issue is that tourism is suffering, we need help and we are being ignored.
These are just guidelines. You can write on anything you want, BUT PLEASE DO WRITE EVERY DAY!! We wish to express to the government a sense of solidarity of our industry and show the strength we have.
One email a day from 1,000+ members and their employees for 5 consecutive days to the PMO cannot be ignored. We have been asking for an appointment with PM Modi for some time to allow us to present our issues directly to the man in charge, but the bureaucracy has blocked us. We hope this mass action will get us the support we need to make our point. This is a strategy that has worked for a number of different issues in India and around the world. We need to show the PM that we cannot stand by as silent witnesses to the end of our businesses.
Please also share with your employees to send their thoughts as well. We need to build a volume of pressure.
• Select “Write to the Prime Minister”
• In the field of Grievance Category, please select “Other Central Government Related".
If you want, you can in addition write to the below powerful ministers-
• Nirmala Sitharaman – Minister of Commerce & Industry - firstname.lastname@example.org
• Arun Jaitely, Minister of Finance – email@example.com
• Rajnath Singh, Home Minister - firstname.lastname@example.org
We will also be taking this messaging to the mainstream media. We want to spread the news that we are desperate and we need immediate action on the ground otherwise the clock would have ticked too far to be turned back for some of us.
Please do help us, help your industry, and help your business by supporting this initiative. Each and every one of us need to send the mail just one a day for 5 days. This is not too much to ask for.
Please reach out to your IATO office bearers if you have any questions or additional thoughts. We need to be together as one to win this battle.