An India Beyond Our Imaginations, A Journey Beyond Measures -- World Tourism Cities Federation Deputy Secretary-General Yan Han’s Impressions on India

Publish Time:2017-04-21 18:03:30Source:WTCF

【Introduction】:After receiving invitations from both the Outbound Travel Market (OTM) and the City of Delhi, World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Deputy Secretary-General Yan Han paid two separate visits to the Mumbai Travel Market and Delhi. Mr. Yan took part in the OTM by giving a keynote speech, vastly connecting with the Indian tourism community.

After receiving invitations from both the Outbound Travel Market (OTM) and the City of Delhi, World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Deputy Secretary-General Yan Han paid two separate visits to the Mumbai Travel Market and Delhi. Mr. Yan took part in the OTM by giving a keynote speech, vastly connecting with the Indian tourism community.

Q: Deputy Secretary-General Yan Han, in February of 2017 you paid a visit to Delhi in India. This is the first time that the WTCF has visited India. You were in talks with Kapil Mishra, the Delhi Minister for Water Conservation, Tourism, Culture, and Arts & Languages. It has been reported that the date of your meeting coincided with an important religious holiday in India, and that you took part in the lantern lighting festivities. Can you tell us a little bit more about the impressions you have from your talk and the festivities?

Due to time constraints, I could not make it to India during their working days. I met Minister Mishra during a public holiday, which also happens to be an important religious holiday. This religious holiday is a very important holiday for the Indian people.

Minister Mishra attentively listened to my introduction of the WTCF and strongly agreed with strengthening our partnership. He then introduced the unique tourism resources of Delhi, including the particularity of India Cultural Tours and his utter confidence in the ability of Indian tourism to expand, grow, and synthesize. He is very optimistic about the outbound travel market in China. Compared with other tourist destinations such as Europe, the United States, and Australia, the current number of Chinese tourists who visit India, and even Delhi, is relatively small. Minister Mishra hopes to further strengthen his understanding of the Chinese market and maintain a positive relationship with the WTCF. Minister Mishra also wishes to promote Delhi to join the WTCF.

Prior to the celebration of the festival there was a lantern lighting ceremony. The lights are symbols of blessings and luck in India. Minister Mishra invited me as the only guest to attend the lighting event and introduce the WTCF to the audience. The Hindustan Times newspaper provided coverage of the event. By taking part in this festive celebration, we found ourselves deeply impressed by the ancient art and culture of India. Tourism is capable of stimulating the flow of culture. Only when people have a deeper understanding and are willing to sit down and listen can there be more resonance.

Q: What do you think the unique characteristics of the Mumbai-hosted OTM are, as opposed to other travel exhibitions around the world?

I have a few thoughts with regards to the OTM; my first impression is that the content of the exhibition is very rich. Travel offices, travel agencies, travel salesmen, and tourism organizations from South Asia all took part in the exhibition. The United Arab Emirates even established a special VIP reception room for the guests. Countries such as Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar built grand and unique booths, showcasing that India is an important source of tourists for these countries and that it is also an important tourist destination.

My second impression is that the exhibition is highly internationalized. From the exhibition catalogue we can see that the exhibition attracted the world's important tourism agencies and organizations as a result of the personal influence and organizational skills of the exhibition's chairman, Abraham John. The amount of information at the exhibition was very large. The time, location, and lecture content of the planned speeches could be seen on any of the exhibition boards, which was very beneficial for those in the tourism industry.

My third impression is that there is a high degree of professionalism and the audience members are of high caliber. The exhibition schedule was also very tight. For example, there was a keynote speech every half hour. After we arrived at the hall we immediately took part in the keynote speech from 2:30 pm to 3:00pm. While we were giving the speech, the lecture venue was open and the organizers had not made any plans for the number of audience in advance, whether people listened or not was dependent on their interests. When we began to speak there were just 20 spectators or so, and the number later rose to more than 100. At the very beginning there was an issue with the equipment, the staff were trying to debug the situation while the audience waited. This behaviour was a reflection of their interest in the theme of the speech: The Theory and Characteristics of Chinese Citizens’ Outbound Travel. Frankly speaking you could feel their unfamiliarity with the Chinese market. They did not expect that China had an outbound travel market worth 120 million RMB. The number of travellers between China and India in 2015 was 900,000. This meant that India was a very promising tourist destination for China.

At the OTM, we mainly carried out in-depth discussions with two data companies. India's software industry is very strong. Through digital means and databases, people can conduct tourism analysis and integration planning. They believed that urban management, tourist reception, and tourism promotion needed to be more refined thus the demand for big data support. In other words you cannot simply rely on just one or two or several people to complete these tasks. These are all areas in which the WTCF can consider cooperation in the future.

Q: Having visited both Mumbai and Delhi, what is your holistic impression of India?

My overall impression of India is in line with her promotional slogan ̶ incredible. Her incredibleness is reflected in many areas, such as the OTM exhibition.

The tourism resources of India are very rich and include many aspects such as religion, cultural heritage, and art, representing the fusion of culture. What left me with the deepest impression are the towers in Delhi. The Qutab Minar was built in 1193, with the construction finally coming to an end in the middle of the 14th century. Located in the city of New Delhi at a height of 72.5 meters, it is the tallest brick spire tower in the world and is one of the world's earliest and most significant Hindu-Islamic cultural architectural fusions. It was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1993 and is also known as one of “India’s Seven Wonders.” The Qutab Minaris, a fusion of five or six different cultural origins. The tower is of Islamic architectural style yet the lotus style of the dome is Buddhist and the pillars of the colonnade are of Roman architectural style; the remnants perfectly embody the concept of cultural fusion. Within India any type of culture is welcome and grows, harmoniously interacting with each other. This factor has caused India to become home to a large number of cultural relics and has contributed to its rich tourism resources. Furthermore, there are many opportunities in India's tourism business. Currently, India's historical and cultural relics are scattered throughout the country with no designated specialist to maintain or mange them. As a result, there are many opportunities open for the protection of historical and cultural relics in India and I believe that people can seize them.

One thing worth mentioning is that the local Indian tourism employees are usually quite professional and responsible. They all take an active role in conscientiously protecting the relics and are very knowledgeable in their explanations for guided tours.

On this visit to India I have opened a line of communication between the WTCF and regions in India. I have introduced multiple projects undertaken by the WTCF, which will be very beneficial towards our knowledge of India and assist in further carrying out membership development and tourism exchanges in South Asia.

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