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Tourism Ministry to cash in on Yoga Day success

To make yoga and meditation centrepiece of Incredible India campaign.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Updated: June 24, 2015 1:32:20 am
Children take part in an event to mark International Yoga Day in Chandigarh on Sunday. Children take part in an event to mark International Yoga Day in Chandigarh on Sunday.

After the Guinness world records and the publicity blitzkrieg surrounding the International Day of Yoga (IDY), the Ministry of Tourism is all set to make yoga and meditation the centrepiece of its Incredible India campaign.

Snapshots of the new campaigns — Yoga, Sambhavnaon Ko Sambhav Karen (Yoga, realise all possibilities) — were visible in the run-up to the Yoga Day. However, in close coordination with the Ministry of AYUSH, the Tourism Ministry is working on building India’s brand as a “wellness tourism” hub — a place where one comes to heal the body and calm the mind. ‘India, Land of Yoga’ will be a key catch-phrase that the campaign will use.

The ministries are also looking at ways to club it with the increasing medical tourism business. However, despite many celebrity endorsements for IDY — the latest being tennis star Martina Hingis tweeting a photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi doing yoga — the Tourism Ministry will stick to its present brand ambassador, Aamir Khan.

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“India is a cultural destination. Now, we are trying to make yoga an integral part of that experience by promoting some cities as yoga hubs where tourists can come and learn yoga from authentic centres. There is also a large traffic of medical tourists, for whom we want to promote India as a wellness destination. So, basically what we are saying is that you come and treat yourself at AIIMS or wherever and then go on a wellness trip to Haridwar and Rishikesh. It is just like Kerala promotes itself as a spa destination,” explained a senior official in the Ministry of Tourism.

Ministry of AYUSH was involved in drawing up the blueprint for the plan, to vet the yoga postures to be photographed in the publicity material and also to give a list of authentic institutes, where future students could head. The publicity material for distribution in the Ministry of Tourism centres, all across the world, was unveiled by Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma on Yoga Day.

In the publicity plan, Rishikesh is pitched as the “Yoga capital of the world”.

“People from across the world now come to India for Ayurveda and yoga in Rishikesh,” reads the section on Rishikesh.

Also listed among the yoga centres in Rishikesh and Haridwar is Patanjali Yogpeeth of yoga guru Ramdev, who had also shared the stage with the PM during Sunday’s IDY celebrations at Rajpath.

The other cities listed in yoga “circuit” are Pune, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Puducherry, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Munger.

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