The triumvirate event, including the 21st Anniversary Celebrations of Today’s Traveller, the 12th Annual Today’s Traveller Awards and the Cover Launch of the Coffee Table Book 2018, was a resounding success.
The cover of the Today’s Traveller Coffee Table Book 2018, Passion For Excellence, being unveiled by Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Government of India
It was that time of year again, when the Today’s Traveller Team pulled out all the stops when it came to organising and hosting a mega event. Defying the rain gods and the prodigious traffic snarls, dignitaries, celebrities and corporates assembled together in an inclusive and harmonious fashion. The synergy was there for all to see, as was the effortless ease with which one programme followed another. After all, the theme for the Today’s Traveller Coffee Table Book 2018 was Passion For Excellence – which was more than amply borne out by the event du jour.
The event kickstarted on the evening of August 7, 2018, at the Durbar Ballroom, Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi, with the arrival of Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Government of India, the Chief Guest, who felicitated the remarkable achievers and icons from the Tourism and Hospitality industry with the Today’s Traveller Awards 2018 and launched the cover of the Coffee Table Book. The theme for the Coffee Table Book – Passion For Excellence, reflects on the hallmark achievements of leaders and entrepreneurs across the industries of travel, tourism, hospitality and aviation.
Prabhu began his speech by lauding the Gill India Group for successfully completing “21 years of service in promoting Travel and Tourism, and contributing to the sector’s development.” Amongst the dignitaries present were V.K. Duggal, Former Governor of Manipur and Mizoram; Biswajit Daimary, Member of Parliament from Assam; Chandan Brahma, Minister of Tourism, Government of Assam; and Dr. Sapam Ranjan Singh, Chairman, Tourism Corporation of Manipur. A distinguished guest at the event was Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Indian Railway Board. More than 400 top professionals from the fields of travel, tourism, hospitality, aviation, wellness and corporate segments attended the grand event.
Tourism and Connectivity on a Growth Curve
Continuing, the Minister appreciated the efforts of Today’s Traveller in identifying the stalwarts in the industry. “I must congratulate Today’s Traveller for this excellent idea to identify achievers in various spheres and recognise them. I congratulate all the winners, and I’m very happy that each one of you has been identified in a very perceptive way.”
He went on to say, “Promoting Tourism is like performing a national duty, because the greater the number of tourists – the greater the prosperity and economic development.”
Among the many initiatives outlined by the Minister, regional connectivity was uppermost on the agenda. “We are planning a new initiative, starting with Assam, to provide regional connectivity to neighbouring countries, so that international tourists can explore the Northeast and its hinterland areas with ease. With this, Guwahati and other places in Northeast could become hubs of tourist activity,” he affirmed, concluding with a smile, “I’m sure Today’s Traveller will bring in tomorrow’s prosperity, so I really look forward to that happening.”
With her customary grace and élan, Kamal Gill, Executive Editor and Managing Director, Gill India Group, said, in her address, “Tourism continues to show significant growth worldwide and figures coming in show that International tourist arrivals not only continued the strong 2017 trends, but exceeded UNWTO’s forecast for 2018. This, in turn, translates into job creation. This growth underlines the need to manage tourism in a sustainable way, with the help of environment preservation, innovation and technology.”
Celebrity Guest Shoojit Sircar
Shoojit Sircar’s films are poignant portrayals of contemporary life, which have won him many admirers in the country. His directorial skills complement the narratives, leaving the audience spellbound. Shoojit has showcased the Hospitality Industry in his popular movie, “October” for which he recieved the Today’s Traveller Award 2018 for Best Filmmaker for showcasing the Hospitality Industry.
Today’s Traveller Summit Breaks New Ground
Commemorating the 21-year-journey of Today’s Traveller, the publication hosted its second Today’s Traveller Summit – with a Keynote Address followed by four panel discussions comprising industry experts and eminent leaders from the corporate, wellness, travel, hospitality and aviation realms.
Frits van Paasschen, the renowned author of Amazon bestseller, “The Disruptors’ Feast”, delivered the keynote address at The Today’s Traveller Summit. He is a global keynote speaker and advisor with a focus on disruption and strategy.
In his thought provoking address, he touched upon how virtually everything about the way people live and do business is changing faster than ever before. Digital technology, global development, urbanisation and business disruption represent both a major opportunity and a threat to the global economy. Although individuals and organisations are aware that the world is changing exponentially, most are ill-equipped to face this level of disruption and volatility.
Opening Panel: Art of Wellness The Opening Panel, Art of Wellness, sponsored by Gujarat Tourism and Ananda in the Himalayas was moderated by Veer Vijay Singh, CEO & MD, Trance Hotels. It discussed “Wellness Tourism as a Need for Holistic Development.” Among the eminent Panellists were Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; Khyati Nayak, PRO, Head – Film Facilitation Cell, Medical and Wellness Tourism, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd; Mahesh Natarajan, Sr. Vice President –Marketing, Sales, & Business Development, Ananda in the Himalayas; Nikhil Kapur, Founder & Director, Atmantan Wellness Resort, Mulshi, Pune.
Owners Panel: Young Investers The Owners’ Panel sponsored by Tourism Finance Corporation of India Ltd and KUE Management Services was moderated by Vikram Puri, Director, Archer Hospitality Pvt Ltd. Among the Panellists were Satyen Jain, CEO & Director, Pride Group of Hotels; Noor Bakshi, Director, Shweta Estates; B.M. Gupta, Executive Director, TFCI; and Hiren Sodha, Group Managing Director, Wings Group of Companies.
Leaders Panel: Skill Development The Leaders’ Panel – Skill Development discussed the disconnect between education and job requirement in India. It was moderated by Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality and the Panellists were Raj Rana, CEO, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group; Navjit Ahluwalia, Sr. V.P. and Country Head – India, Hilton; Rattan Keswani, Dy. Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels.
Keynote Panel: Connectivity & Tourism The Connectivity & Tourism panel was sponsored by Club One Air. Among the distinguished Panellists were Satyajeet Rajan, IAS, Director General Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India; Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Indian Railway Board; Leena Nandan, IAS, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Govt. of India; Rajan Mehra, CEO, Club One Air; Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip. It was moderated by the former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, Vinod Zutshi, IAS (Retd.).
Dignitaries and Celebrities Enjoy the Celebrations
The event was attended by dignitaries like Lt Gen K M Seth, Former Governor of Tripura & Chhattisgarh & President, Foundation of Aviation & Sustainable Tourism; Leena Nandan, IAS, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Govt. of India; Suman Billa, IAS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and Vinod Zutshi, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India.
Dignitaries came from far and near. The celebrations were graced by distinguished personalities like Rajesh Prasad, IAS, Principal Secretary, Assam Tourism; C.P. Dhakal, IAS, Secretary, Tourism & Civil Aviation Dept, Government of Sikkim; Satyajeet Rajan, IAS, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India; Vikas Pratap, IAS, Secretary Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Punjab; Pratima Srivastava, IFS, Executive Director, Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board; Dr. Sapam Ranjan Singh, Chairman, Tourism Corporation of Manipur; W. Ibohal Singh, Director (Tourism), Government of Manipur and Khyati Nayak, PRO, Head – Film Facilitation Cell, Medical & Wellness Tourism Cell, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat; Abdul Salam, Director General, UAE-India Business Council.