At the 1st Delhi Tourism Conclave, Chief Minister of Delhi Mrs Sheila Dikshit pointed out that “the private sector’s role in positioning Delhi as a civic, responsive and sophisticated tourist destination is immense.” The Conclave, organized in March by Delhi Tourism in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), recognized Commonwealth Games 2010 as a platform to showcase India as a culturally rich tourist destination.
Mrs Dikshit said that the private sector can be an active instrument of change when it came to matters such as cleaning the city, green energy usage, and saying no to plastic bags. It is not enough for the Government to announce projects. Citizens need to participate in the decision-making and implementation of such projects. Tourists coming to Delhi should return with the impression that Delhi is truly a civilized city. Around 200 unique monuments speak about the enriching history of this city, and Delhi needs to showcase them tastefully and with pride.
“The private sector’s role in positioning Delhi as a civic, responsive and sophisticated tourist destination is immense” —Chief Minister of Delhi, Mrs Sheila Dikshit
The tourism sector is geared to pitchfork the rich culture of Delhi. A range of cuisines that have the stamp of many regions, as well as an array of programmes on theatre, dance, songs and fusion music will showcase Delhi’s heritage and the sophistication of the city. The diversity from neighbouring states in the north as well as those from the North-East and southern parts of the country will also be on display during CWG 2010.
|FUTURISTIC OUTLOOK: Delhi Chief Minister Mrs Sheila Dikshit (second from right) at the 1st Delhi Tourism Conclave. Also in the picture Ms Rina Ray, Managing Director, Delhi Tourism and Secretary, Culture (second from left), Mr Zubin J Irani, MD, Carrier Airconditioning and Refrigeration Ltd (left) and Mr Harpal Singh, Chairman, CII (NR)
||FPROMOTING DELHI’S TOURISM: (Left to right) Ms Rumjhum Chatterjee, Mr Mark Chandler, Ms Rina Ray and Mr K T Ravindrana
Mrs Dikshit pointed out that Delhi is at present registering a monumental transformation in infrastructure, transportation and greening. The Thyagaraja stadium is an indicator of what Delhi can do. It has qualified as the only true green stadium in the world, which not just conserves water and power, but has also used up plenty of eco-friendly building material. She also indicated that 5-6 new hotels are coming up in the city, while 335 requests for Bed and Breakfast accommodation scheme that would cater to 1,100 guests are under consideration.
Mr Mark Chandler, Director, Office of the Mayor, International Trade and Commerce, City of San Fransisco, suggested that Delhi should not merely look at replicating tourism- strategies adopted by countries such as China and Singapore. Instead it should come up with brand promotion strategies that can arise out of its own unique history and culture. He said that it was critical that any modernization effort in Delhi did not clash with the city’s rich historical legacy. He was also of the view that the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for promotion of tourism was very relevant in the present context since it was imperative for the fund flow into the tourism sector to remain uninterrupted.
Chairman of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), Mr K T Ravindran said that the need of the times was an integrated tourism development policy that could benefit multiple players and cater to every strata of society. He said that Delhi would do well to revive crafts markets that were representative of Indian handicraft, have night bazaars, and go all out to showcase its culture through a range of activities during CWG 2010.
Mr Harpal Singh, Chairman CII (Northern Region) listed Delhi as a modern, sensitive, pluralistic, responsive and culturally rich city. He said Delhi stands on the threshold of a cultural extravaganza where 2 million foreign and 4.5 million domestic tourists would pour into the city during the Games. According to “The Liveability Index 2010” report brought out by the CII and Institute for Competitiveness, Delhi is the topper in overall quality of life. The city, Mr Singh said, has evolved over the years with a futuristic outlook.
Like Mr Chandler, Mr Zubin J Irani, Managing Director, Carrier Airconditioning and Refrigeration Ltd also spoke about the importance of the PPP model. He said that both the Government as well as the private sector should come together to share their respective insights in order to boost tourism in India. The CWG 2010, he said, presented the right opportunity for sharing such insights.
Ms Rina Ray, Managing Director, Delhi Tourism, said that it was the aim of her organization to project the best facets of the city in sports and culture. She reiterated what Chief Minister had indicated—that Delhi is a superpower in the cultural domain, considering its monuments, literature, cuisine and history.
Summing up the recommendations of the two-day Conclave, Ms Ray said that it would be worthwhile to go in for a top-notch, eye-ball grabbing advertising campaign that could position Delhi as the true Gateway to the rest of India. She lauded the efforts of the Planning Commission for having approved the Business Action Plan for the CWG 2010. She was confident that the CWG would have a multiplier effect on the tourism industry, and that those who visited India during that time would return home with a perception that India had much to offer. This would trigger more visits to India.
The Conclave covered such subjects as Advantage Delhi 2010, the spread across market tourism services, experiential tourism, sustainable and responsible practices in developing the tourism industry, and the role of Government, industry and community in making tourism competitive.
Among others who participated at the Conclave were Mr Naresh Kumar, MD of the Delhi Transport Corporation, Mr Ashwani Lohani, Divisional Manager (Delhi) in Indian Railways and former MD of Madhya Pradesh Tourism, Mr Savitur Prasad, Secretary (IT) and Managing Director, Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation, Dr Amiya Chandra, Collector of Property Tax, MCD, Ms Archana Kapoor, CMD, Tourism Finance Corporation of India, Mr V K Verma, DG, Organizing Committee, CWG 2010, Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO and MD of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation, Mr Peter Noyce, COO of the Delhi International Airport Ltd., Mr A K Jain, former Commissioner (Planning), DDA, Mr Vikram Bakshi, MD, Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt. Ltd, Mr K K Muhammed, Superintending Archaeologist, Delhi Circle, ASI, Ms Sharon Lowen, danseuse, Ms Laila Tyabji, Chairperson of Dastkar, Dr Amit Kapoor, Chairman, Institute of Competitiveness, Mr A G K Menon, Convenor, Delhi Chapter of the INTACH, Mr Pronab Sarkar, Vice President, IATO and Managing Director Swagatam Tours Pvt. Ltd, Mr Akshay Kulkarni, Executive Director, South Asia (Hospitality Services) for Cushman and Wakefield, Mr Aman Nath, Co-Chairman, Neemrana Hotels, Mr Rajinder Pai, President, Travel Agent Association of India, Mr Rakesh Mathur, President, Welcome Heritage Hotels, Mr Pranay Sinha, Convenor, CII Retail Core Group and MD, Star Centres, Ms Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Ms Mala Sekhri, COO (Life Style), India Today, and Ms Rumjhum Chatterjee, Chairperson, CII Delhi State Council.