Indian tourist trade tackles terror fallout

The Indian Tourism Office in the UK is considering launching a fresh PR campaign following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last week.

Rethink Indian Tourist Office is holding talks following attacks
Rethink Indian Tourist Office is holding talks following attacks

Director Jagdish Chander said the body was holding crisis talks with tour operators and hoteliers as PRWeek went to press.

He added that the meeting on Wednesday was to decide whether to launch any PR, marketing or advertising campaigns.

The Indian Tourism Office does not have a retained PR agency but Oxygen Public Relations has worked with it on trade show projects.

Meanwhile, several British agencies, including Lewis, APCO and Text 100, have offices in India. Others – including Edelman, MS&L and Ogilvy – have formed links and acquired local agencies.

Arunava Khan, general manager of Lewis’ Indian arm, said there were close to 160 PR organisations in India and that, in the wake of the attacks, ‘government and businesses are using PR to spread the message that we are determined to work together against terror’.

Nick Giles, UK MD of Text 100, said, despite the terror attacks, ‘international businesses aren’t about to run away from India, and the PR industry will evolve’.

Visit London communications director Ken Kelling predicted that India’s tourism industry would recover. He said: ‘India has run some great campaigns and done well to establish itself in the tourism circuit. It needs to keep that momentum.’

The crisis could also have an impact on community relations in the UK.

Weber Shandwick head of multicultural comms Rakhee Vithlani has called for the Government to engage with the British Indian and Pakistani communities to stop ‘inflammatory’ press coverage stirring up racial tensions.

She said the Government should do more to ease tensions between UK Pakistani and Indian communities by ensuring that ‘calm, neutral and positive messages’ are conveyed, particularly through specialist media.

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