PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) organized the 8th India Heritage Tourism Conclave with the theme ‘Sustainable Tourism Management at World Heritage Sites’ on 27 March 2019 at WelcomHotel The Savoy, Mussoorie. The programme was supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Inaugurating the Conclave, Dr Sanjeev Chopra (IAS), Director, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, said, “A country as diverse as India is symbolized by the plurality of its culture and heritage. Heritage tourism in India is a real treasure as there are numerous cultural, historical and natural resources. There are immense possibilities of heritage tourism in India. This type of event can prove to be a milestone for increasing the tourism business of the country.” H E Chung Kwang Tien, Ambassador, Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in India; H.E. Fleming Duarte, Ambassador, Embassy of Paraguay; H.E. Dato Hidayat Abdul Hamid, High Commissioner, High Commission of Malaysia; H.E. Eleonora Dimitrova, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria; and H.E. Jagdishwar Goburdhun, High Commissioner-Designate, Mauritius High Commission were also present at the programme and shared the heritage tourism potential of their respective countries. PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its Knowledge Partner- Auctus Advisors have jointly released a Knowledge Report ‘Sustainable Heritage Tourism in India’. The report gives a holistic view on heritage tourism across the world and in the country. The report says that while growth in Indian tourism needs to be aggressively taken up, the sustainability dimension of tourism also needs to be viewed with equal importance.
Radha Bhatia, Chairperson – Tourism Committee, PHDCCI, said that the ancient past of India has ensured that the present and subsequent generations have abundant historical and cultural inheritance to be proud of. “The restoration efforts to safeguard valuable heritage assets at government’s end in association with various agencies and organizations are visible at places of historic significance but there are many places which still require immediate attention,” she said. She requested Dr. Sanjeev Chopra, Director Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, to consider adding a capsule to highlight the importance of this for the IAS probationers at the Academy, as they would be taking on roles that would be associated with different aspects of these efforts.
Kishore Kumar Kaya, Co-Chairman – Tourism Committee, PHDCCI welcomed all the dignitaries and expressed his desire to host more such programmes in future at WelcomHotel The Savoy, Mussoorie. Ruskin Bond, Leading Indian Author; Bill Aitken, Travel Writer and Dinraj Pratap Singh, Owner, Kasmanda Palace were felicitated during the programme. While setting the theme of the Conclave, Rajan Sehgal, Co-Chairman – Tourism Committee, PHDCCI, said, “India’s World Heritage Tourism Sites have an added advantage for attracting international tourists. Nearly 85 percent of all visitors to India visit one or the other heritage sites of the country in their course of the vacation. Tourism in India has shown a phenomenal growth in the past decade and is expected to emerge as the most important revenue earner for India in the years to come.” Panel Discussion on ‘Creating a Sustainable Ecosystem for promotion of Heritage Tourism’ had Vinod Zutshi (IAS Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India as the moderator and witnessed Bhavna Saxena (IPS), Special Commissioner, Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board; Pronab Sarkar, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators; Dr. Lokesh Ohri, Convenor – Dehradun Chapter, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage; Anil Bhandari, Chairman, A B Smart Concepts; Ganesh Saili, Indian Author; Kulmeet Makkar, CEO, Producers Guild of India; Virendra Kalra, Chairman – Uttarakhand Chapter, PHDCCI; Sandeep Sahni, President, Hotels & Restaurants Association of Uttarakhand; Sumit Kumar Agarwal, Secretary General, Tribal India Chamber of Trade Agriculture and Commerce; and Manish Chheda, Managing Director, Auctus Advisors. Heritage tourism in India with 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and numerous other natural sites has immense potential that need repeat visits to cover all of them. The challenges are very demanding keeping in mind conservation and environmental protection. ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ by Ministry of Tourism and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is one of the best practices to showcase our monuments and drive sustainable growth. The panelists highlighted that the need of the hour is to have a clear vision and a well-defined execution plan with the goal of sustainable development that provides conservation and growth, clean air, water, energy and heritage at large. Technology, documentation, capacity building and regulation are the way to go for sustainable development of heritage tourism. A Heritage Walk was also organized during the programme for all the delegates to enjoy the heritage of Mussoorie not only as past, but as a living tradition. Yogesh Srivastav, Principal Director, PHDCCI, said that PHDCCI is committed to create such meaningful platforms to do its bit in enabling all the parameters of the tourism industry to grow and flourish further. The Conclave was attended by over 150 delegates.