@ Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist
New Delhi: The first edition of Hindustan Times Tourism Conclave was organized today at Hotel Hyatt Regency in New Delhi. The symposium was a congregation of industry stalwarts, visionaries and government representatives from a multitude of industry types, who came together on a common platform to discuss strategies and growth drivers that pose as milestones and measurable opportunities in the constantly evolving tourism landscape of India.
The conclave was graced by Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, Hon’ble Minister of State for the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, who at the inaugural address stated, “It is important for the government and other stakeholders to create a positive environment and work towards mitigating the negative perception about the country’s tourism ecosystem. The ministry is working tirelessly to include various stakeholders in the process of promoting tourism, creating greater levels of synergy and viability. He further stated that a good illustration of this is the case of the ‘Kumbh Mela’, the largest congregation on the planet, which has transformed its brand image adding greater public convenience and security for the discerning tourists and becoming a mega event attracting tourists from all across the world. India has a huge potential and a rich cultural heritage that can help promote tourism and become a catalyst of economic growth and employment generation. The need of the hour is for a collective trust, to improve connectivity and add convenience for the tourists, ultimately creating the right ambience for growth of tourism.”
Welcoming the guests, Mr. R. Sukumar, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan Times said, “We are happy to host the first HT Tourism Conclave, which will be a stepping stone and a ready reckoner bolstering the tourism outlook of the country. The focus of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is to unleash the true potential of Indian tourism, realigning the entire blueprint of the industry and transforming it into a tourism superpower. The true measure of a country’s performance in many ways can be gauged from the country’s tourism infrastructure. In the present context we need to focus on both our inbound as well as our outbound tourism but also work towards promoting domestic tourism. We hope that this conclave will go a long way in aligning the various stakeholders’ part of the industry providing the right propulsion and opportunities to all aspects of tourism like eco-tourism, adventure, wildlife, cultural, shopping tourism, heritage and religious tourism.”
Speaking at a session on Decoding Future of Online Travel, Mr. Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip stated, “Travel & tourism has a tremendous scope and impact on the Indian economy, where the paradigm is constantly evolving in terms of the travelers opting for newer vistas of exploration and revisiting destinations to get a more visceral feel of the local flavours. The millennials of India are going for cruise travel, group travel, single women travel groups, celebration travel, regional and short-haul travel, all thanks to greater connectivity in form of direct flights and faster travel. He further stated that technology in form of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence is playing a pivotal role in simplifying the way people are travelling, giving more to the customers and auguring a new era in Indian tourism. At present there are some concerns like GST on Hotel Tariffs, safety and a holistic focus in terms of end-to-end customer journey, which needs to be focused upon to make the journey enchanting and complete.”
Mr. Aditya Ghosh, CEO – India & South Asia, OYO Hotels & Homes, addressing a session on Decoding Future of Hospitality said, “I think in the present context there are more choices that are available to the travelers, with access to service becoming very affordable. OYO is the third largest travel hotel chain in the world with over 1 million keys operated in a day and this stupendous success is not dependable on capital, rather on the ability to meet customer expectations. The future of hospitality depends on the overall experience, the joy of travelling that is offered and the role of technology in giving a more holistic experience to the travelers. The idea is to sustain growth, bring efficiency and further consolidate the ecosystem to give the Indian Tourism Industry a truly global perspective.”
Commenting on the session, India – The Ultimate Destination for New Age Bollywood, Ms. Richa Chadha, renowned Bollywood actor stated, “It is important for people to understand the importance of Heritage sites and be a part of the movement in its conservation, protecting them against desecration of all sorts. Bollywood is an important catalyst that has been highlighting India’s rich heritage, especially from the smaller towns, which it has successfully brought to the fore. The government in the past has supported Bollywood to amplify this rich heritage and we expect it to continue to support us in this endeavour.”
The Conclave became a confluence of different ideas and perspectives that coalesced into a larger ideologue under the auspices of the various themes that were deliberated upon.
Leaders and renowned guests engaged in discussions on various aspects that would govern the future of tourism industry in India and made an attempt at deciphering the future of Travel & Hospitality.
The various themes part of the day long discussions were on ‘The Potential of Heritage Tourism in India’, ‘Destination Tourism in India’, ‘Spiritual Travel, Holistic Healing & Wellness’, ‘Discover your Cities’, ‘Decoding Future of Online Travel – An Entrepreneur’s Perspective’, ‘Decoding The Future of Hospitality’ and ‘India – The Ultimate Destination for New Age Bollywood’.
The distinguished guests included names like Mr. Aman Nath, Chairman of Neemrana Hotels Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Vishal Kumar Dev, Secretary Tourism, Govt. of Odisha, Mr. Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Secretary Commissioner – Tourism Government of Madhya Pradesh, Ms. Rajni Hasija, Director – Tourism & Marketing, IRCTC, Dr. Mickey Mehta, Global Leading Holisitc Health Guru & Corporate Life coach, Mr. Deep kalra, Chairman and Group CEO, MakeMyTrip, Mr. Aditya Ghosh, CEO – India & South Asia, OYO Hotels & Homes and renowned actress Ms. Richa Chadha.