INDIA. Khajuraho: The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, as a precursor to MICE Roadshow – Meet in India and inauguration of the Chhatrasal Convention Centre, Khajuraho on 26th March 2021, organised a special session on Responsible Tourism at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh. The session focused on discussing various initiatives to position Khajuraho as an Iconic Destination and various successful case studies and best practices on Responsible Tourism across the country were presented. The session included presentations by the following experts:
- Introduction for SD and Iconic Schemes and its convergence with Reasonable Tourism by Piyush Jain, Director, Ernst & Young.
- Kerala as one of the models for Responsible Tourism by Kamala Vardhana Rao, MD, ITDC.
- Partnering Community to enable the conservation of Natural Heritage through Responsible tourism practices by Anirudh Chaoji, RTSOI.
- Tourism for all – Universally accessible by Ms. Neha Arora, Planet Abled.
- Sustainability and Renewable Energy by Ms. Manjari Gaikwad, Director, Global Himalayan Expedition.
- Responsible Travel and Tourists by Rajiv Mehra, President IATO
The meet in India session began with a presentation on the overview of initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism by Ms. Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General. Speaking on the occasion Brar outlined the strategies of the Ministry of Tourism in promoting domestic tourism, including the initiatives of organizing mega physical events in key destinations following all COVID protocols so as to instill a sense of confidence among the industry stakeholders.
This session was followed by a meeting with the media by Secretary (Tourism), who informed that the Ministry of Tourism under its scheme of ‘Swadesh Darshan’ provides financial assistance to State Governments/ Union Territory (UT) Administrations/ Central Agencies for the development of tourism infrastructure in the country. The Ministry has sanctioned 4 projects for Rs. 350.26 Crores in the State of Madhya Pradesh. These projects have been sanctioned under Wildlife, Buddhist, Heritage, and Eco-Tourism Circuits. The project sanctioned under Heritage Circuit includes interventions for Rs. 44.99 Crore in Khajuraho and surroundings, out of which Rs. 34.99 Crore have been sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism for the development of Convention Centre at Khajuraho.
The Ministry of Tourism has framed the “Development of Iconic Tourist Destinations Scheme”, a Central Sector Scheme for the development of nineteen identified iconic destinations in the country following a holistic approach. A total of 19 sites have been identified as Iconic Sites which include Khajuraho. The Ministry has identified these sites on the basis of existing footfall, regional distribution, the potential for development & showcasing as world-class destinations, and ease of implementation. The identified tourist sites to be developed as iconic destinations under the Meet in India Scheme are as follows:
(i). Kaziranga National Park (Assam)
(ii). Maha Bodhi temple (Bihar)
(iii). Humayun’s Tomb (Delhi)
(iv). QutubMinar (Delhi)
(v). Red Fort (Delhi)
(vi). Colva Beach (Goa)
(vii). Dholavira (Gujarat)
(viii). Somnath (Gujarat)
(ix). Statue of Unity (Gujarat)
(x). Hampi (Karnataka)
(xi). Kumarakom (Kerala)
(xii). Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh)
(xiii). Ajanta caves (Maharashtra)
(xiv). Ellora caves (Maharashtra)
(xv). Konark (Odisha)
(xvi). Amer Fort (Rajasthan)
(xvii). Mamallapuram (Tamil Nadu)
(xviii). FatehpurSikri (Uttar Pradesh)
(xix). Taj Mahal (Uttar Pradesh)
The master plan for Khajuraho includes multiple proposed interventions both hard and soft which can help in positioning Khajuraho on the world tourist map. These interventions will be presented before the stakeholders during the event in multiple sessions.
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