ABHISHEK CHAKRABORTY – New Delhi
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will be organising an international tourism festival from December 5-7, 2013 in Chandigarh, with an aim to boost tourism and hospitality industry and showcase the immense potential of the eight northern states of India. Jayant Davar, chairman, CII northern region and co-chairman and managing director, Sandhar Technologie, revealed that the first ever CII ‘Tourism Fest’ will be organised in partnership with all northern state governments with a lot of domestic as well international participation. Punjab and Chandigarh will be the host states and CII is in talks with other states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir to partner in this unique venture.
Talking about international participation, 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.”
CII will also invite 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 and travel 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 US $ 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 only need to brand it well.”
“The northern states are keen to seek fresh investments and forge new partnerships in tourism and hospitality sectors that would in turn help create 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.
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.
“We all are tourists and we all contribute to the economy while we travel,” said DK 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.
Apart from B2B meet, the Tourism Fest 2013 will also include international dance shows, national and international food festivals, golf tournament; international chef meet, leisure and excursion trips, etc.