The tagline,“Madhya Pradesh – The Land of Many Possibilities”, is rightly placed. If there is any state in India which offers diversity at its best, then it has to be Madhya Pradesh. The royal Palace in Mandu, the marble mountain in Jabalpur, erotic & exotic stone carvings in Khajuraho, ancient rock shelters with paintings in Bhimbetka, architectural wonders like Sanchi Stupas, scenic hill station of Pachmarhi and flaunting wilderness with 9 national parks in one state, makes it one of the most celebrated state in Incredible India. The journey to the heart of India never fails to impress me. And this time also it was no exception.
I was invited to be a part of the prestigious Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart 2016, held in Bhopal from 14th to 16th October. Being a Travel Blogger, it was a perfect platform for me to meet delegates from across the globe and have a good interactive session. To my surprise, before the event started, a grand welcome dinner was planned by the Madhya Pradesh tourism. As I stepped into the beautiful Jeha Numa Palace in Bhopal, the whole aura was overwhelmingly welcoming.
The garden was lit up with scintillating glass lamps. The welcome dinner was set in the counters. The live piano session added to the much needed charm in the party.
The cultural show at the venue was another highlight of the night. While delegates happily indulged in the conversations, I decided to sit down and enjoy the melodious music being played by the pianist. I loved the way Madhya Pradesh Tourism welcomed us in such an impressive manner. It certainly raised the bar for the most prestigious Travel Mart 2016, scheduled the next day.
The energy was high at the mart venue with 70 hosted buyers from 28 countries, 175 domestic buyers from 54 Indian cities and a total of 61 Exhibitors. Not just that, presidents of major National Travel Trade Associations like IATO, ADTOI, ATOAI and ITTA also attended the Mart. The stage was set for the inaugural function. The three day M.P. Travel Mart 2016, was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the presence of a delighted audience.
“In Madhya Pradesh, it’s very easy to fix an appointment with the chief minister and the tiger,” was the opening statement of the Chief Minister’s speech. I was really amused by his well articulated speech. He also talked about increasing Tourists to Madhya Pradesh and the initiatives taken by the government to increase private investors in order to boost tourism. The vision to promote balanced and sustainable tourism and to establish Madhya Pradesh as a promising destination was vibrant in his speech. I was also very much impressed by the presentation given by Mr. Hari Ranjan Rao, IAS officer and Managing Director, M.P. State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. He took us through all the great initiatives the government has taken to promote the state on a large scale. The presentation was like a visual treat to the eyes as the audience traveled to the mesmerizing cultural landscape of the state.
At the event, 30 awards were given in 22 categories. These awards are given in order to promote excellence in the Madhya Pradesh Tourism sector.
After the official inauguration, the mart was open to the buyers, seller and media. The best part of attending the travel mart is the opportunity one gets to interact with the sellers as well as the buyers. The colourful stall of the Resorts and Hotels were eye-catching.
I had a great opportunity to interact with tourism boards like MP tourism board, Telangana Tourism Board, Gujarat Tourism Board, etc. While having a conversation with many of the stakeholders, I got to know about the newly opened luxury properties in Madhya pradesh. This kind of mart also provides a platform for setting up meetings amongst the attendees. More than 1900 such business meetings took place in these two days of the Travel Mart.
Madhya Pradesh Tourism also organized “Heritage Walk” for their delegates in the old part of Bhopal to get a sense of the rich cultural heritage this city holds. It got a tremendous response from the delegates;more than 175 hosted buyers attended the Walk and experienced the interesting sights of the city of Bhopal.
As the first day ended successfully, a gala evening was already planned at Sayaji Hotels. A grand preparation, beautifully decked up lawn, lights and a cultural evening; every element was there to switch on your party mood. I really enjoyed the food, drink and the traditional dance performance.
The evening got even better with a Live DJ and people started dancing to the tunes. I could not shy away from shaking a leg on my favourite numbers. It was undoubtedly one of the memorable nights in Bhopal.
The highlight of the second day was the media interaction with Mr. Hari Ranjan Rao, Managing Director, M.P. State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. The media representatives from different publications from India were present at the press conference, where Mr. Rao shared the different initiatives his government is taking to enhance the tourism sector which enables socio-economic development in the state.
According to him,” Travel Mart is nothing but giving an exposure to the kind of properties we have in the state to the buyers. This mart is specifically tailor made for the seller belonging to Madhya Pradesh only”. While talking about various state policies like Regional State Airline policy, Mr Rao stressed on Way Side Amenities (WSA) on the highways in coming days. At a distance of every 40 kilometres, there will be a WSA in the state, which solves the purpose of road side restaurant cum restroom. This is undoubtedly one of the progressive and unique steps taken by the state government to enhance the basic amenities to boost tourism in the state. More than 60 WSA are under construction in different parts of the state and will be ready in coming few months. While talking about the WSA, he also mentioned about big players like Indian Oil Corporation, is also going to have their WSA in Madhya Pradesh. The Green field Model is another excellent well thought policy under WSA, where the Government will be allotting lands on the highways for 30 years lease to the businessmen to run a WSA. Another interesting development is that MP tourism is going to construct and maintain world class washrooms in more than 13 ticketed ASI monuments in the state. If I talk about the upcoming luxury resorts in Madhya Pradesh, Orange County is coming up in Mandu and Club Mahindra in Hanuwantiya.
After this insightful press meet, it was soon time to leave for our Fam trip to the heart of India. What a great way to end this travel Mart, where I not only indulged myself into the great opportunity to meet delegates from different parts of the world, but also had the chance to explore this beautiful land of splendid secrets.
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If you are planning to travel to Madhya Pradesh is next few months, don’t skip the chance to be part of “Jal Mahotsav” starting from 15th December to 15th January.
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