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Monday, 28 September, 2015, 16 : 30 PM [IST]

First ever MITM kicks off with wholehearted support from state government

Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, inaugurated the first edition of Maharashtra International Travel Mart (MITM) at the Bombay Convention & Exhibition Center, Goregaon in Mumbai today. The three-day event will showcase the tourism attractions of the state to enhance the brand image of the destination. MITM witnessed strong participation from representatives of the Maharashtra government. Ram Shindhe, Minister of State for Tourism, Maharashtra; Shubhash Desai, Minister of Industries, Maharashtra; Vidya Thakur, Minister of State for Women & Child Development, Maharashtra; Gajanan Kiritikar, MP; Swadhin Shatriya, IAS, Secretary Maharahstra; Valsa Nair Singh, IAS, Secretary Tourism & Culture, Govt. of Maharashtra; and Paraag Jaiin Nainuttia, IAS, MD, MTDC, were present at the launch.

 

MITM 2015 is witnessing 250 registrations with participation from 16 states, along with hoteliers, travel agents, and tour operators from India and abroad. Fadnavis said, “The mart has brought all tourism stakeholders under one roof. There's great scope for tourism in Maharashtra and India. 2017 will be celebrated as Visit Maharashtra Year. The Nashik Kumbh Mela had 2 crore visitors, which is a record. All the CMs, saints and common people appreciated the efforts and said that we have created a benchmark. No loss reported and there wasn’t any stampede.”

MITM saw the IIPT (International Institute for Peace Through Tourism) conducting a session titled, ‘Tourism – Powerful tool for peace’. The session was moderated by Ajay Prakash, President, IIPT India. Deepak Haskar, COO, ITC Hotels; Kiah Scherr, President, One Life Alliance; Kiran Yadav, Co-Founder, IIPT India; and Prof. Patrick Kalifungwa, Vice Chancellor, LIUTEBM, were the speakers. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO, in a video message, said, “Tourism is a powerful, transformative force; every tourist can be a global ambassador of peace.”

Louis D'Amore, Founder and President, IIPT, in his video message, said, “The economic impact of violence is 13.4% of the global GDP.”

History has shown that a few committed people can make major differences in the world, Prakash said. “Tourism creates an environment where you interact with people from different backgrounds. Tourism opens barriers in our mind.”

Kalifungwa opined, “Tourism can be used as a tool for prosperity of tourism-connected industry. Peace is all around us when we choose to have it. Peace is a period of harmony between different social groups. It is understood as the absence of hostility.”

Haskar added, “One billion tourists travel around the world and 8 billion come to India, and 1 billion tourists travel across India. By 2025, we will have 1.5-1.75 billion young tourists between the age group of 18 to 25. The youth wants to see the rich, cultural diversity of the country. Tourism can and must play an important role in national integration. It can play a role in sheer appreciation of each others culture. Unless tourism isn’t sustainable we will have problems.”

Prakash rounded up the session by saying that it is not enough to talk about it, but you need to believe and work towards peace. We also need to celebrate the differences.
 
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