Shri Subodh Kant Sahai, Minister of Tourism, Government of India, is on an official visit to Russia from 21-24 September 2011. During the visit, Shri Sahai had interaction with Russian and Indian tour operators and discussed various measures to increase both inbound and outbound tourism in India. A presentation was made by Shri Anand Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, highlighting the programmes implemented by the Ministry to promote different forms of tourism. Shri Sahai also inaugurated the Indian stall at the Tourism Expo (Moscow Autumn Travel Industry Week) and met the participants of the Expo.
An Incredible India Evening was organised by the Ministry of Tourism, India, at Renaissance Hotel, Moscow on 22 September. The event was attended by a large number of Russian and Indian tour operators and representatives of the Russian industry. During the opening ceremony of the event, Shri Sahai welcomed the guests and highlighted the rising stature of India as a tourist destination.
He reiterated the commitment of Ministry of Tourism to achieve the target of a share of 1% in international arrivals by 2016. Shri Ajai Malhotra, Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation, also addressed the gathering and stated that visa norms have been liberalized to facilitate the grant of tourist and business visas to Russian nationals. He hoped that this would provide the required impetus to both tourism and investment. The event also featured cultural programmes by Indian artists and performers, showcasing traditional dances from different parts of India.
Shri Sahai met Mr. Vitaly Mutko, Russian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Youth Policy on 23 September. During the meeting, both sides discussed the ways and means to improve tourist inflow and outflow by enhancing the role of the private sector, human resource development, and promotion of cultural, wellness and eco-tourism. Both sides agreed to hold the meeting of the Joint Working Group on Tourism and Culture at the earliest. Shri Sahai also had a meeting with Mr. Sergei Cheremin, Minister for External Economic Relations, Moscow City Government, to discuss various measures to boost tourism and investment opportunities between India and City of Moscow.
Shri Sahai announced that a Regional Tourism Office of Government of India will start functioning in Moscow from 01 October 2011. He also stated that a Joint India-Russia Tourist Trade Forum will be formed under the aegis of Indian Embassy in Moscow to promote tourism between the two countries. He stressed upon the need to improve connectivity between the cities of the two countries.
Shri Sahai also inaugurated an exhibition displaying literary and artistic works of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The exhibition was held at the Russian State Library and was jointly organised by the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre, Embassy of India and the Oriental Centre, Russian State library, under the aegis of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Rabindranath Tagore. In his remarks, Shri Sahai underscored that Tagore, the first Nobel Laureate from Asia, was a citizen of the world and stated that Tagore's ideals were relevant even today. At the event, Ambassador Ajai Malhotra highlighted the multifaceted personality of Tagore as a poet, painter and philosopher and drew attention to his contribution in the field of education.
23 September 2011