To attract more foreign tourists into India, the Centre is preparing to rope in Hollywood stars such as Richard Gere, Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie as brand ambassadors for Incredible India 2 campaign, Union tourism minister K J Alphons said.
Earlier Bollywood actors Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra endorsed and promoted the Indian tourism campaign. Aamir Khan promoted Indian tourism for about a decade while the other two were chosen for the coveted job last year.
Tourism ministry has announced to take annual footfall of foreign tourists from the present 14.4 million to 40 million in the next five years.
“We are going to launch Incredible India campaign 2 this year. And as brand ambassadors, we might think of zeroing in on international celebrities like Richard, Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie, though we have not finalised anything as yet,” Alphons said.
“We won’t mind roping in Richard Gere for promoting our ambitious tourism project Buddhist Circuit as he himself is a Buddhist. Actually, we are looking for celebrities who have got global appeal. We have millions of NRIs and why don’t they come and see India also?” the minister wondered.
The ministry also wants to contain the outflow of 22 million Indians going abroad and wants them to enjoy Indian tourist destinations instead.
“We want them to go out and see the world but they should also enjoy the rich Indian culture. Anyway, we don’t thoroughly rule out roping in Indian actors for the campaign,” he added.
The tourism ministry is eyeing on the huge foreign exchange and employment generation opportunities by promoting tourism domestically and globally.
Alphons in October had announced to create 100 million jobs from current 43 million through the tourism sector only.
Elaborating on the Incredible India 2, he said the focus this year would be on the north-eastern states, Rajasthan and the Buddhist circuit.