When Narendra Modi Tweets about the rise of Gujarat as an auto manufacturer’s hub, we are reminded of how political heads have become spokespersons for their state. A chief minister, speaking about the economic and industrial growth of the state brings a lot of credibility to the claims made, but is it only a one off thing or a consorted effort of the state’s PR machinery to attract investments? Gujarat has definitely created a brand of itself when it comes to that. The recent campaigns by the Gujarat Tourism Board, bringing in a bigwig like Amitabh Bachchan, as the brand ambassador, is proof of the seriousness in efforts. Also the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ summits present a pointed case study on how a state can be successfully turned into a leading investment destination.
Other states are also not too far behind. Union territory of Goa and state of Kerala have done notable PR activities to establish themselves as both investment hubs and attractive tourist locations, much to do with their unexplored resources and natural beauty. Talking about great PR, some of the state’s tourism campaign ads have won accolades at international short film festivals, which is a great sign for Indian locations that have recently started being noticed, just like the international destinations.
However some states have not done so well in the past mainly due to political instability or just lack of will. Many North Eastern states including Bihar have great natural resources and if these states formulate a well drawn plan to attract investors and industries, they can become models of economic change. Essential in solving the state’s problems. There is also great potential to harness inbound international tourism and even domestic tourism.
Here are some examples as to how state PR can do things better:
1. J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah recently inaugurated Taj Vivanta hotel in Shrinagar. Although the state has seen a decline in tourism due to a two-decade long militancy, this step comes as a welcome change and is seen as a new beginning to revive tourism in J&K in a big way.
2. Deccan Odyssey, a luxury train modelled after the famous Palace on Wheels, is collaboration by the Maharashtra government and Indian Railways. This train covers some of the exquisite locales of the Konkan range.
3. India is a great pilgrimage site for many religions. For example – Buddhist pilgrims head to the numerous sites in Bihar every year. The Indian Railways already run a train called Mahaparinirvana Express.