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Indian movie 'fever' boosts travelling
Publication Date : 28-08-2014
The Indonesian people are passionate about Indian drama series and this “fever” is expected to boost the number of Indonesian travellers visiting India.
A major obstacle to achieving this, however, is the absence of direct flights between the two countries.
Indian Consul General in Bali, Amarjeet Singh Takhi, said Monday that the Indian movie fever had made Indonesians eager to visit India.
“It [the number of Indonesian tourists to India] should increase. But one of the major obstacles, as conveyed by tour operators and travel agents, is the absence of direct flights,” Takhi said after an Indian tourism promotion meeting entitled “Incredible India” with tour operators and the media at the consulate office in Denpasar.
Takhi said that Balinese tourists found it burdensome to change flights. “They are requesting direct flights. We all hope and pray that Garuda Indonesia will someday start these,” he said.
“However, yes, I see a rising number of tourists going from Bali to India, as many Balinese watch Indian drama series,” Takhi said.
Indian mythological drama series currently being aired by a private television station, especially Mahabharata and Mahadewa, have become a new favorite among Balinese, as well as among many Indonesians nationwide.
Currently, more than 6 million people from all over the world visit India every year. Among these visitors, only 33,000 are Indonesian and only around 3,500 are Balinese.
Meanwhile, more than 200,000 Indians vacation in Indonesia every year. Last year, the Bali Tourism Agency recorded nearly 66,000 Indians visiting Bali.
“I am sure they go to Java and other places while they are travelling, they also come to Bali. All Indians visiting Indonesia actually also visit Bali,” he assured.
“This year, I think more Indian tourists will come, because wherever I go and whoever I meet, they always say they are coming here for weddings,” Takhi added.
In an attempt to attract more Balinese to visit India, Takhi said he was attempting to encourage the Indian movie industry to shoot movies in picturesque Bali.
“We have been working with the film industry, trying to persuade them to come and shoot in Bali. So, in the near future, you will see some more movie stars coming here,” he said.
Earlier in June, Indian film actor, producer and entrepreneur, Suniel Shetty, visited Bali.
During his time on the island, he visited the India pavilion at the Bali Arts Center in Denpasar, which was showcasing Indian art, culture and tourism, including spiritual tourism, Indian products, as well as Indian cinema.
Shetty has starred in several Bollywood films, mostly action-oriented, including hit epic films with patriotic roles, and received many accolades, awards and nominations for his sterling performances.
“We are now working with several partners to get Bollywood to Bali,” Takhi said.
To facilitate Balinese who want to visit India, he said, the consulate general provided a one-day visa service.
“We give visas the same day. Anybody who applies for a visa in the morning will receive it that afternoon. And if there is an emergency, we can do them within 30 minutes,” he said.
A visa-on-arrival facility, he said, was also available for all Indonesians visiting India. However, to avoid long lines at the airport, he suggested travellers get a visa from the consulate general office.
Takhi said that there were 20 tour operators and travel agents currently bringing tourists from Bali to India.
Assistant director of India tourism in Singapore, Y. Neelakantham, said in his presentation that India had many tourist destinations and was not just for Hindu tirtayatra (Balinese Hindu pilgrims).
Spiritual journeys could also be conducted in India by other religions, including Buddhists and Muslims, and many spiritual places for all religions could be visited.
“India also has medical tourism, MICE tourism, beach tourism and other types,” he said.
There are also at least 30 world heritage sites recognised by Unesco in India.
“And India offers a variety of cuisines from every region and every state. All major international cuisines, like French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Mexican are also available,” Neelakantham said.