Showcasing India’s many shades, focusing on MICE, Film Tourism, Wellness/Medical Tourism, Wildlife / Adventure Tourism, Incredible India Pavilion at ATM is holistically promoting India in the Middle East… writes Soniya Kirpalani . Images: Rituraj Gogoi, Deva Vishnu 

Arabian Travel Market 2022 started with a buzz and a bang. It is being held in Dubai, from May 9-12,2022 at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre Trade, and the energy and excitement in the halls is almost palpable, as countries put their best feet forward. There is clear competition, between countries, each one competing against the other, cajoling travel buyers, as they work to revive the vital Travel and Tourism sector, which has stood still during pre-pandemic. This sector once contributed significantly to their GDPs and created 1/8 of the employment, hence the urgency to reinvent and reimagine travel.

Incredible India Pavilion was inaugurated on 9th May, by Ms. Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism and Dr. Aman Puri, Consulate General, Dubai. One of the largest Pavilions, hosting intriguing unknown destinations, like Nagaland, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, in a unique manner. Incredible India’s Shefali Munshi curated an expert panel with Ms. Rupinder Brar, Tourism Minister of Uttarakhand Satpal Maharaj, Mr. K.Kalimuthu, Consul, Economic, Trade, and Commerce, Mr. Prashant Ranjan, Director Tourism, India, Bollywood Celebrity Rakul Preet Singh, Singer Shweta Subram.

Showcasing India’s many shades, focusing on MICE, Film Tourism, Wellness/Medical Tourism, Wildlife / Adventure Tourism, they are holistically promoting India in Middle East. “In Spring, the Chopta Valley of Flowers looks like Goddess Nanda has taken red paint and colored Mother Earth with joyous hues.” Minister Satpal eloquently described the numerous unique experiences Uttarakhand offers. Chiming in Bollywood actor Rakul Preet shared anecdotal accounts of growing up in North East India, as her father, an army officer, took her across the pristine terrain.

Ms. Brar spoke about the Film policy, which has been successfully implemented by Chhattisgarh’s Media Specialists Team under Gaurav Dwivedi. Sikkim and Kashmir too have seen a huge uptake, as filmmakers are moving north, thanks to the consistent interactions by Mr. K.Kalimuthu from Consul of India Dubai, who has championed the North Eastern States successfully as proven by an increase in travel. Sending out a message, to NRIs, urging the Indian Diaspora to visit and become ‘Rashtradoot’ (Ambassadors of India), by inviting five non-Indian friends every year to visit India, the panel is not only tapping into social media but working creatively on a Word Of Mouth strategy.

Our team quizzed the panel about promoting “High Value, Low Impact” sustainable tourism, Ms. Brar and Mr. Prashant Ranjan gave us an exclusive on the ‘Vishwakarma Villages’. “Over 500 Craft Villages are being designed to create interaction, benefitting locals and travellers.” I. Kitto Zhmoni IRS, Commissioner & Secretary of Tourism, Nagaland, explained “Nagaland is known for its green valleys, terraced hills and Music Festivals. Now we are working with Nagaland’s multicultural tribes, tapping into our rare and refined craft-artisanal skills, tribal culture, and world-famous Naga cuisine, putting out a green carpet for sensitive, sustainable travellers to share our home, away from home.”

Karnataka’s Janardhana H.P Joint Director, Dept Tourism, spoke passionately about protecting the wildlife of his state, by unsung immersive social media and events, to sensitize travellers, highlight some of the rarest wildlife regions, promoting it as ‘Must See, Must Interact, Must Preserve’ experience. But real strength comes with people’s participation, DMCs like Mahendra Pratap Singh’s MP Tours, and Louis D’Souza of Tamarind Global are simultaneously upskilling and promoting Experts, especially Local Experts, who can support traveller journeys, and make it a mutually sustainable and safe experience for all. So let us #chaloindia #incredibleindia

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