– Ambuj Saxena
“We are expecting this event to be a runaway success like the earlier editions. Have a look at the banner on the roadside. It has your logo in the bottom row! Other sponsors also have been generous in giving their support to the event!”- exclaimed Mr. Yogesh Srivastav, the dynamic Director, PHD Chamber of Commerce, incharge of Tourism committee.
He was referring to the 6th edition of the annual Heritage Tourism conclave- Sustaining Heritage Tourism of Khajuraho, organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce Tourism committee, headed by Mr Mukesh Gupta. The Heritage tourism conclaves aim to create a strong platform to exchange best practices and experiences, discuss challenges and opportunities, future perspectives and changes in the Heritage Tourism sector. It offers an excellent opportunity to explore new ways to actively penetrate in and attract more tourist from the new emerging markets as well as discuss actions aimed to promote heritage tourism in India.
The Tourism committee had been organizing such unique Indian Heritage Tourism conclaves since 2011. These conclaves have been a runaway success with participation and enthusiasm increasing exponentially each year. This time, the Tourism committee comprising Mr. Mukesh Gupta, Mr. Rajan Sehgal, Mr. Yogesh Srivastav, Dr. GG Saxena thought it better to hold it in Khajuraho.
The conference started on time with the traditional form of welcome as can be seen here:
Local artists welcome delegates with traditional music and songs
Mr. Yogesh and Mr. Raja Bundela lead the way in introducing the dignitaries which included His Excellency Igor Polikha, The Ambassador of Ukraine to India along with his wife. His excellency gave a resounding speech in Hindi and to many, it seemed Hindi was his mother tongue!
This was followed by the Ms. Daniela from Embassy of Romania to India, who gave her views on Heritage tourism in India. Her speech met with thunderous applause. Two Belgian scholars who stayed in a village near Khajuraho for 6 months internship presented their observations to carry out their research presented their points in a concise manner. Dr GG Saxena, Honorary member of Tourism committee, PHDCCI, and mentor of BnBNation left everyone spellbound by putting forward tourism statistics and urging all stakeholders to join hands and preserve Indian heritage. His awe-inspiring speech met with a loud round of applause!
Later, I was asked to present my thoughts on how social media can play a role in Heritage tourism through a 10-minute presentation. My ideas gave the audience ways to preserve, celebrate, share and educate communities about heritage sites and in turn increase heritage tourism.
Mr. AB Shukla, Member National Monuments Authority (NMA), was left with little time but presented his thoughts precisely on what steps are being taken to preserve national monuments by NMA and to encourage Heritage tourism in India. His speech was an eye-opener for everyone in the audience.
The conference saw an overwhelming response with the number of speakers being too many and time falling short. Mr. Yogesh Srivastav and Mr. Raja Bundela kept the audience entertained and kept a strict watch on time. After the conference, sumptuous lunch was organized for all the delegates and half an hour was squeezed in for a Heritage walk around the Khajuraho Western Group of Temples before the delegates left.
Following were the takeaways from the 6th Heritage Tourism conclave for sustaining Heritage Tourism in Khajuraho:
• Poor connectivity to Khajuraho which the authorities and political party members volunteered to alleviate soon.
• Costly air tickets to Khajuraho
• One Deluxe train from metropolitan cities of India to Khajuraho was suggested so that foreign tourists do not have to travel and face the inconvenience in the local trains as well as to earn handsome foreign exchange.
• The idea of a single umbrella organization was mooted. This organization would house various agencies that work towards preservation of Khajuraho’s western group of temples as well as the Heritage tourism agencies
• It was also suggested that trains be operated from Agra, Allahabad and Mumbai and other places from where tourists frequent Khajuraho.
At the end of the conference, a souvenir book was launched with BnBNation as the Knowledge partner. The book can be accessed here:
All in all, it was a brilliant conference that saw participation from various continents, political parties of various ideologies, government departments like Air India, state tourism boards like Delhi Tourism, J&K Tourism and private companies like BnBNation as the synergy partner.
Why Khajuraho was chosen as the venue of 6th IHTC:
Khajuraho’s western group of temples is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list since 1986.
The city is considered the religious capital of Chandela rulers. The western group of temples is among the most beautiful medieval monuments in the country. Built between AD 900 and 1130, it is presumed that every Chandella rule has built at least one temple in his lifetime. Originally, they were a group of 85 temples of which only 25 remain. The sculptures in Khajuraho temples represent the cult images of Parivara, devatas, apsaras, sura-sundaris, secular and animal sculptures. The erotic sculptures are the finest sculptural compositions which vibrate with a rare sensitiveness and warmth of emotion. The most popular temples in Khajuraho are:
• Lakshman temple
• Kandariya Mahadev temple
• Vishwanath temple
• Chitragupta temple
• Parsvanath temple
• Adinath temple
• Chitragupta temple etc.
Keeping the above points in mind, it was only obvious that Khajuraho would be chosen as the venue for 6th IHTC by PHDCCI Tourism committee.
About the Author:
Ambuj Saxena is Co-Founder at BnBNation. He is a 2013 Brand Management graduate from Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA). He has successfully executed various online and offline marketing campaigns for companies operating in Automobile, Fashion, and Lifestyle, Travel and Tourism sectors as well as Government departments. He has co-founded BnBNation as he believes that Tourism and Hospitality are as much online as it is offline, and he can add value to both.