ABHISHEK CHAKRABORTY – New Delhi
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is going to organise an international tourism fest from December 5 to December 7, 2013 in Chandigarh to boost tourism and hospitality industry and showcase the immense potential the eight northern states of India has. Jayant Davar, chairman, CII northern region and co-chairman and managing director, Sandhar Technologies, revealed that the first ever CII Tourism Fest will be organised with the partnership of all northern state governments with a lot of domestic as well international participation. Punjab and Chandigarh would be the host states and the CII is in talks with other states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir to partner up in this unique venture.
Talking about international participation in the Tourism Fest, Davar said, “Thailand and Dubai have already confirmed their participation and we are expecting participation from countries like Germany, South Africa, the US, Canada, Russia, Australia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Britain etc.” The various stakeholders that would participate in addition to state governments include hoteliers, hospitals, tour operators, travel agents, golf courses and resorts, central and state government tourism agencies, tourism board of various countries, airlines, airports, air charters companies, city transport providers, railways and IRCTC, industry experts in hospitality and tourism, etc.
CII would also invite the chief ministers of all northern states at the conclave and create a chief ministers’ forum to address various issues like infrastructure, connectivity, security, cleanliness, accommodation, food, travel, etc, which hinder the growth of tourism. “We would also push all states to have a tourism policy in place,” said Arjun Sharma, chairman, CII Tourism Fest 2013 and managing director, Le Passage to India.
Speaking about the immense employment opportunities and the potential of tourism in India, Sharma said, “The tourism sector grew at a rate of four per cent last year globally as compared to the manufacturing sector which grew at less than two per cent. Looking at the potential of tourism, the Government of India has allocated $ one trillion in the 12th Five Year Plan for tourism. Considering our great heritage, beautiful locations and cheaper medical facilities, there is an immense potential of tourism in India. We just need to brand it well.”
“The northern states are keen to seek fresh investments and forge new partnerships in tourism and hospitality sector that would in turn help create a lot of jobs and lead to inclusive growth. The Tourism Fest is an effort to create a platform for northern states to showcase their potential to play host to the world,” added Sharma
“We all are tourists and we all contribute to the economy while we travel,” said D K Tiwari, secretary, tourism, Chandigarh administration. “The inbound tourism in India was less than one per cent of our GDP last year so we need to put huge impetus on tourism and enhance the facilities, services, amenities and promote India as a preferred tourist destination. A lot needs to be done to enhance brand of India as a tourist hub,” he added.