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Sustainable Practices and MICE to Boost Tourism in India: Rakesh Verma

The India Pavilion at EXPO2020 Dubai which is currently hosting ‘Tourism Fortnight’, organized two special sessions to promote sustainable tourism and MICE segment in the country. Key officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India along with industry representatives, participated in the sessions titled, ‘Tourism at Crossroads – Mainstreaming sustainability for future of tourism’ and ‘Meet in India: Emerging Hub for Business and Social Events’.

The session on MICE tourism was important in highlighting India’s impressive combination of accommodation and conference support facilities that make the country a successful MICE destination globally. The session was addressed by Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Chairman, India Convention Promotion Bureau virtually.

Addressing the session, ‘Meet in India: Emerging Hub for Business and Social Events’, Verma said, “MICE industry is an important contributor to national economies as it contributes to income generation and creates huge employment opportunities, provides an impetus to hospitality services including sectors like accommodation, food and beverages, convention services, transportation, tourism, and entertainment. India possesses excellent convention and hospitality infrastructure, unparalleled cultural, natural attractions and a rapidly growing economy all of which act as catalysts to India emerging as a hub of business and social events.”

He added that India is also a very attractive market for exhibitions keeping in view the rapid economic growth and rising demand from consumers and industry destinations. Another crucial sector that Shri Verma highlighted is that of Wedding Tourism. He said, “Wedding is another important niche area which is growing rapidly, many destinations in the country are emerging as wedding destinations and industry is getting more organized.”

Talking about the roadmap of MICE Tourism in India, Verma said, “Ministry of Tourism is working on the strategy to position India as a MICE destination in the world and a hub of mega conferences and exhibitions. It is working towards creating enabling conditions and institutional framework at the central, state and city level for the growth of MICE industry. The short-term goal of the Ministry is to enhance India’s share in MICE business to 2% from the current share of approximately 1% to promote the growth of MICE industry in the country.”

The session on Sustainable Tourism, held on 9th January, was also crucial to address key challenges for tourism sector and the ways in which future of tourism could be shaped by sustainable and responsible policies and action by the Governments and Private Sector. The session was facilitated by G Kamala Vardhana Rao, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, virtually where he highlighted strengths of India to work towards ensuring sustainably responsible tourism practices.

Addressing the session, ‘Tourism at Crossroads – Mainstreaming sustainability for future of tourism’, Rao said, “Tourism is one of the important sectors globally as it provides almost 11-13% of employment globally, and ranges between 7-9% of the GDP of many countries. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has clearly defined guidelines for Sustainable Tourism which are to conserve government resources, protect biodiversity while respecting resources of the cultures, benefiting the local communities and to address the needs and benefits of the tourism industry.” 

He added that planning is a pivotal element of urbanization, and it needs to be addressed meticulously, for the future generations to thrive.

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