2nd Day of Punjab Tourism Summit and Travel Mart Unveils Transformative Vision: A Kaleidoscope of Tourism Excellence
September 12, 2023, Mohali, Punjab: The second day of the 3-day Punjab Tourism Summit and Travel Mart continued to illuminate the ambitious vision for transforming Punjab into a premier global tourist destination. Over 5,000 people gathered to witness the Travel Mart exhibition, including distinguished dignitaries, industry leaders, foreign and domestic tour operators, influencers, and more.
The Travel Mart unfolded as a vibrant and dynamic platform that brought together a diverse spectrum of brands, both big and small, showcasing the rich tapestry of not only Punjab’s culture and offerings but the entire country. With 85 different exhibitors, it featured an eclectic mix of participants, from home-grown food brands nestled in the heart of Punjab’s villages and rural areas to elegant farmhouses, villas, and renowned hotel brands.
Visitors had the opportunity to explore the distinctive charm of boutique hotels and connect with the Indian Heritage Hotels Association. The mart also hosted stalls by banks, tour operators, travel and tourism agencies, and transport agencies, providing a comprehensive outlook on Punjab’s tourism landscape.
Punjab Agro proudly displayed their exquisite array of products, embodying the state’s agricultural prowess. The PhD Chamber of Commerce and Industry added a layer of significance to the event, highlighting the dynamic partnership between industry and tourism.
The atmosphere at the Travel Mart buzzed with the essence of Punjab as some of them were seen immersed in traditional attires, Phulkaris, and Juttis. The exhibition exuded a grassroots vibe, with jute cots (charpais) and traditional sofas (muddas) scattered throughout the venue, creating a welcoming and culturally rich ambience. Folk dances and cultural performances further enriched the overall experience, making it a true celebration of Punjab’s heritage and hospitality.
Ms Rakhee Gupta Bhandari, IAS Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, expressed, “The Travel Mart has emerged as an emblem of our commitment to showcasing the heart and soul of Punjab. This exhibition stands as a testament to our vibrant culture, warm hospitality, and the diverse tapestry of our tourism offerings. It serves as a single, harmonious platform where our rural treasures, traditional crafts, and modern tourism services converge, reflecting the very essence of Punjab. It embodies our collective vision of transforming our state into a globally recognised tourist destination, where every corner is a canvas of unforgettable experiences.”
The first day of the summit was a captivating inaugural ceremony graced by several prominent figures, including:
Chief Guest: Mr S. Bhagwant Mann, Honourable Chief Minister of Punjab, reiterated his commitment to make Punjab a magnet for tourists, showcasing its rich culture, heritage, and hospitality.
Guest of Honour: Ms Anmol Gagan Maan, Tourism Minister of Punjab, shared her profound insights into Punjab’s thematic circuits, including devotional, border, and wellness tourism.
Special Guests: Mr Anurag Verma, IAS, Chief Secretary, Punjab, enlightened the guests on the purpose of the summit.
Dignitaries and industry leaders: Distinguished personalities attending the event included comedian and producer Kapil Sharma, film producer Bobby Bedi, stand-up artist Sunil Pal, managing director of ITC Fortune Hotels Samir M. C., and vice president of Ramoji Film City A. V. Rao.
The highlight of the inaugural ceremony was the unveiling of a groundbreaking culture and entertainment policy, announced by Rakhee Gupta Bhandari, Principal Secretary of the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, along with the strategic development of water and adventure parks, picturesque farm stays, and cottages in rural areas. This policy promises to further enrich Punjab’s cultural landscape and position it as a cultural and entertainment hub. Actively seeking investment, the state’s initiatives include Invest Punjab, a single-window investment promotion office.
Enlightening panel sessions followed the inauguration, each offering a unique perspective on Punjab’s tourism potential:
Session 1: Amritsar Tourism Destination 1 (Religious & Wedding)
Experts explored the readiness and co-branding required to make Punjab a coveted wedding destination.
Session 2: Amritsar Tourism Destination 2 (Hinterland & Culinary Tourism)
This session delved into the hinterland and culinary tourism, highlighting Amritsar’s potential.
Session 3: Eco & Farm Tourism
Experts discussed agro- and ecotourism, painting the importance of sustainability.
Session 4: Wellness Tourism
This session explored Punjab’s wellness potential, including the manufacturing hub for Ayurvedic drugs.
Session 5: Media & Entertainment
Experts discussed the role of media and entertainment in promoting Punjab’s culture and tourism.
Session 6: Heritage Tourism
This session accentuated the significance of preserving and promoting Punjab’s heritage.
The discussions underscored Punjab’s commitment to a multifaceted approach to tourism development, focusing on sustainability, culture, wellness, and heritage. These sessions embodied the spirit of transforming Punjab into a global tourist hotspot.
The Punjab Tourism Summit and Travel Mart continue to be a forum where visionary ideas converge and concrete plans emerge, setting the stage for the state’s remarkable journey in the world of global tourism.