India’s free SIM cards: a win-win for destinations and visitors

Katie Shriner

14 March 2017

Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) everywhere are seeking new ways to provide value to visitors while helping them share their experiences. From producing engaging content, to social listening and enabling Wi-Fi, the tactics destinations use to encourage conversation are endless. India’s Ministry of Tourism is tackling the matter by offering something every traveller needs in a foreign country: a way to communicate.

India’s new initiative announced in February 2017 will provide e-Visa holders with a ready-to-use, pre-loaded SIM card upon arrival. According to India’s Ministry of Tourism, this will help travellers connect with loved ones and contact the Ministry’s toll-free helpline during times of need. The idea will of course help the destination as well. Free SIM cards, like free Wi-Fi, will make it much easier for travellers to converse and share while in-market.

India Facebook comment

Why is this idea important for DMOs?

A small gesture goes along way in helping travellers feel welcome. We see this regularly with Tourism and Events Queensland, which makes an effort to listen and engage with visitors through small, meaningful interactions. “Surprise and delight” tactics also help TEQ discover in-market travellers online and then add something special to their trip.

In addition, arming visitors with the right tools makes it easy for people to talk about (and talk highly of) your destination. Digital infrastructure is important for Tel Aviv Global, which aims to build a seamless visitor experience for tourists in Tel Aviv. This is achieved through city-wide free Wi-Fi (including the beach) and by sharing tourist information on hotel smart TVs.

Helping your visitors become your best marketers is the most effective way to spend your marketing dollars. For Tourism New Zealand, digital marketing (which makes up 90% of their global marketing spend) allows them to amplify visitor stories. Having created a strong, differentiated product, the destination leverages advocacy, earned and owned content to drive their message.

What other tools can help visitors share stories?

In reviewing new initiatives, it’s important to remember some of the simple but effective tactics destinations can use to help visitors share stories. Social listening, in which the destination reaches out to people during the 5 stages of travel, is a great way to encourage interaction. This also has the important benefit of showing that your destination values customer service. Going above and beyond to help travellers customize and plan their trips may lead them to stay in your destination longer and find greater value during their stay.

Lastly, educating tourism businesses to become great marketers is key to encouraging visitors to share stories. Building the right infrastructure greatly improves the chances that travellers will talk about the destination within their own networks.

What tactics do you employ to help visitors share stories in your destination?

Featured image credit: FaceMePLS, Flickr

1 Comment

  1. Philipp Grieb

    Since August 2016 this news was announced every other month by the media, quoting officials of the home ministry or tourism ministry. Nothing is available since and hundred thousands of international visitors are waiting for it.
    Fake news? Alternate facts ? no, just “Incredible India”.


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