Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Indian Summer for UK and USA?

With Visit England calling for an enhanced UK tourism plan with India last week, and Brand USA calling for a revamped tourism plan to increase USA visitors to India from the USA-India 2017 Travel Year, surely the great success Commonwealth Summit and Games this month provides a backdrop for joined-up thinking for UK, India and USA tourism?



The dynamic Nikki Haley USA ambassador to UN epitomising the new generation of Indian-Americans (Indian as in India, not First Nations - Columbus' original navsat error on the way to the Spice Islands of Indonesia and India echoing past the upcoming Magellan Anniversaries, and down through the centuries).

While American Indians as in First Nations speaking out at the UN Water Forum. Surely future keynote speakers as well as urging the 2019 Water Forum in Hungary?

But phasing destinations and flights from USA and UK to India (Boeing in Sheffield and Airbus in Toulouse are fast-forwarding eco-engines? The first round the world solar flight last year) would be simplicity itself in balancing out demand and seasonal peaks and troughs for all three tourism industries.

The notional Hotel Haley (South Carolina already with a Hotel Margate at Myrtle Beach) - in say Hyderabad would no doubt be keen one month to be preparing hamburgers for its American guests, and the next month fish and chips for its British guests and so on.

Even serving up the Great British favourite meal of Chicken Tikka Masala, given UK’s long links with South Asia, whether India and Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan in themselves, and united within the Commonwealth.

And surely Carolina’s Great Dismal Swamp must be one of the first effective marketing slogans in USA for the original 13 colonies settlers? Discouraging rather than encouraging trips. Although now tourists shouldn’t be put off from enjoying a Virginia and Carolinas trail with daily flights to New York and Atlanta - but also the potential in landing slots for London Heathrow expansion or reorganisation.

If it’s too early to discuss trade beyond tourism, then Great British Walmart-Asda buying 40% in India’s Flipkart ecommerce tech has been making waves in the City and financial pages of FT, The Sun and Daily Mail.
As with Amazon and Whole Foods merger, and Tesco and Booker, Indian and Thai and Cambodian rice suppliers have new outlets beyond just Kent’s Veetee rice wholesalers near Ebbsfleet New Town and Thames Gateway.

Jack Ma’s Alibaba Chinese ecommerce site selling 80,000 durian fruit in one minute at a showcase for Thailand’s trade ministers. And as relevant for Sonny Perdue and USDA farmers and Kent’s winemakers and apple growers and mobile phone app developers in the Farm to Pharma trade policy.

While bizarre trade issues such as Waitrose marketing Thai chillies when they’re produced in India is no doubt ripe for the quietly effective diplomacy tweaks of Thailand’s Ambassador Sam in India (@chutinmtorn_sam) and a wider Asian Doitung strategy.

And US Ambassador Ken Juster coming out to bat for both cricket and baseball in India - surely the UK Embassy team will give him a few #sportsdiplomacy tips even Canterbury Cricket Club herein East Kent one of the oldest teams in the world.

11BN mouths to feed up from 7BN are going to need the Great British Indian farmers to get their wellies on - as well as feeding those extra tourists.

And a boon for the tea industries of UK and India. Let’s gloss over USA’s Boston tea party as a waste of a perfectly good brew although the Boston Tea Party cafĂ© chain first to end disposable paper cups in the war on litter and plastic.

While, as an aside, Sikhs in UK are right to be horrified at the lack of commemoration to their support of UK in WW1 and WW2.

UK and USA universities form almost all of the top ten global universities - those scruffy backpackers eventually going first class long-haul and five star hotels. The tourism director of Goa very unwise to call the many tourists there – Indian or foreign - the scum of the earth last month.

And The Economist detailing 11,489 students studying in USA in 2016-17: a 30% increase over 2009-2010 is surely the basis for joined up action with UK and USA and Indian visas and students. Those Indian PHD geeks on megahit television series Big Bang Theory are grounded in reality in UK and USA bedsits and halls of residence.

Certainly a Project #IndianSummer of UK/USA/India tourism teams could easily tweak strange instances of disconnect between the world’s largest and long-established democracies, such as The Great British Tourist being charged £6 for 5 visa photos for EU and other destinations, yet £8 for USA or India 4 photos.

It’s enough to make them want to take their bucket and spade and Union Jack shorts home. Especially against the UK debacle of Windrush citizens with many no doubt questioning if London is Open and Kent Welcoming.

Ramsgate’s General Lord Dannatt the former Chief of Staff raising concerns over Larium and Mefloquine used in military and tourism malaria vaccinations for places such as India. An easier problem to solve for Project #IndianSummer medical teams than pandemic Resilience.

Are US military routine anthrax vaccinations for a day out in London or Paris or Budapest a bit excessive with shades of the toxic soup of Gulf War syndrome, and delaying TB and Flu vaccine production by the likes of Janssen?

I travel a lot and I have no idea on what routine vaccinations, nor travel vaccinations, are recommended within the Byzantine sprawl of NHS websites etc. How would gap year American students or Indian tourists manage?
Ambassador Woody in London shouldn’t hesitate in making a Johnson and Johnson Resilience Box as essential as a Johnson and Johnson Travel Box of suncream and vaccine info?

The excellent BBC4 (why no BBC3 or BBC5 with some more CSpan or PSB and India programming?) Contagion! documentary highlighting 43M infections and 900k deaths in 60 days in UK from the next pandemic such as Spanish Flu.

The figures for USA and India that much higher. And mundane epidemics such as measles and rabies growing: 8 rabies deaths in Thailand this year and a horrifying 30kin India. As with American Princess Markle's Indian tampon charity surely such vaccines and requisites as sanitary towels and condoms can't be a drain on the $20BN UK and USA aid budgets?

Pandemic officially now the number one threat to UK – although a Pakistan-India nuclear conflagration not outlandish either. Kashmir tourism and a Coke and a smile a cooling influence?

And South East Asia – anywhere from Hyderabad to Ho Chi Minh City – officially the UN’s main site for the next outbreak of pandemics such as bird flu etc. Doitung again on model villages and farms -and not UKIP-racism but merely hot countries, with weaker health systems and different germs.

Although Kent’s NHS could do well to improve on Singapore medicare.

And do those USA or Indian customs officers have such bad eyesight they need larger photos to check a passport?
Perhaps they do with the quietly effective management of the Commonwealth Summit agenda by Tim Hitchens – the world’s 40M blind – many in rural India – could be helped. Maybe some Bayer or Johnson and Johnson vitamin tablets too from the #TrumpDavos15Friends.

With my politics hat on, many of the Indian doctors and nurses and optometrists in the NHS – one of the world’s largest employers - no doubt keen on their health service not being plundered, but rather with work visas for training and returning and synergy of qualifications.

While Operation Smile cleft palate training and hospital ships would be a no-brainer too. Hopefully jostling for space with tourist cruise ships from East Kent’s Saga, and Royal Navy and Indian Navy fishing patrols and protection.

The lack of radar and satellite coverage of the Indian Ocean given the missing Malaysia airliner surely cause for extra work at NASA and the UK/EU and Indian Space agencies with the new Australian Space Agency?

And any UK tourist flying to India – or USA tourist on a London stopover for a few days – would be less keen on British Airways using 20 year old jumbo jets on the South Asia routes. Boeing in Sheffield or Airbus in UK and Toulouse gearing up?

As the debate on expanding London Heathrow (or Gatwick or Stansted or Birmingham) or reworking Luton, or a Doncaster Aerotropolis, rumbles along the runway, all the more reason for USA and Indian airlines and tourism organisations (the takeover of India Air by Singapore Airlines progressing?) to see how it will take off.

Much as John McCain’s Arizona aircraft dumping grounds or the horrifyingly polluting and dangerous shipbreaking yards of Bangladesh are overdue modern recycling techniques in the Circular Economy with UK and USA.

And throwing A400 cargo planes and Chinook helicopters into the mix both UK and USA and Indian wider economies could benefit form an uptick in Indian Summer Tourism.


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