In an exclusive interactive session with our editor Apratim Ghoshal, at FITUR 2023, the first annual event for world tourism professionals and the leading fair for the receptive and issuing markets of Latin America, Sandeep Kumar Sultania, I.A.S., Principal Secretary to Government, Youth Advancement, Tourism & Culture Department, Government of Telangana shares how they there are promoting the beautiful youngest Indian state of Telangana at the global pedestal.
FITUR 2023: Talks with Sandeep Kumar Sultania, Principal Secretary to Government, Telengana
The international tourism trade fair, FITUR 2023, which takes place annually in the IFEMA trade fair centre of Madrid, has become one of the biggest tourism fairs worldwide and the no. 1 on the Iberian Peninsula. In so-called national pavilions, the particularities of the regions are presented to the visitors of the fair, mainly consisting of decision-makers in the tourism industry, such as travel agencies and tourism associations. The fair is also considered the most important gateway to the Latin American market.
Travel And Tour World: What is your main focus in FITUR 2023? Sandeep Kumar Sultania: First of all I want to highlight Telengana that is our main focus. Earlier it combined Andhra Pradesh and was under Andhra Pradesh tourism. We want people to know about this youngest state in India which has lot of tourism potential.
Travel And Tour World: Can you categorise the tourism segments in which Telengana is more popular?
Sandeep Kumar Sultania: Hyderabad is a big city with huge tourism properties. There are palaces and other historical monuments across the city of Hyderabad. It is already a big MICE and wedding destination and we want to grow in these sectors in future. The Ramappa Temple in Hyderabad has recently been designated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another major tourist attraction is the Buddhavanam. It is first of its kind Buddha structure in India which is recently made. Although this is not a historical structure, we want to focus on it. Apart from this, there is lot of water tourism in our state. We have lot of big water bodies that we want to promote.
Buddhavanam is a Buddhist theme park is a prestigious project taken up on the northern bank of river Krishna in Nagarjunasagar by Telangana Government with a view to develop tourism in the State. Buddhavanam is one of its kinds and the largest Buddhist heritage theme parks with an extent of 279 acres.
Ramappa temple is the right destination for people who admire architectural brilliance and have a panoramic view of true scenic beauty. It has been referred as the brightest star in the network of medieval temples in the Deccan region. Situated in Palampet village of the Venkatapur Mandal, in Mulug Taluq of Warangal, the temple which is situated in a valley took nearly 40 years to be completed.
Travel And Tour World: Please tell us something about the international connectivity as it plays an important role in inbound tourism from Europe.
Sandeep Kumar Sultania: Hyderabad has one of the biggest airports in India. It is connected to almost every part of the world either directly or through the biggest cities in India. Hyderabad has one of the connected airports in the world today.
Travel And Tour World: What about the connectivity within the state?
Sandeep Kumar Sultania: Within the state we mostly go by road. By road you can go to any place within two and half hours. We don’t require anything else. In that way it is a very centrally located state.
Travel And Tour World: As we know Telengana is a booming state for MICE tourism. So, do you have a world standard convention centre?
Sandeep Kumar Sultania: Yes, absolutely, Hyderabad Convention Centre is the first of its kind in India and one of the best in the world. It hosts many important MICE events in the world.
Travel And Tour World: After COVID-19, as we all understand it is a big question whether tourism is still sustainable. So, what challenges have you faced in the new journey post COVID-19 and what policies have you taken to make it more sustainable?
Sandeep Kumar Sultania: COVID-19 is something about which we never thought of. The whole world came to a standstill. Tourism was the biggest sufferer due to this pandemic. Now data shows after the COID-19 has come to the end tourism graph is rising. Hotels are overbooks, every airline is overbooked, so tourism is coming back to more than normalcy I would say post COVID. It is something which you cannot plan or anticipate. Whenever such situation comes, you have just to face it.
Travel And Tour World: But we can protect ourselves with knowledge and awareness?
Sandeep Kumar Sultania: Yes, it is an experience. When the world comes to a standstill, tourism cannot happen. We have to be very clear on this.