The world is but a book, and those who do not travel have but read only a page. Travel is an eye opener in every sense of the word, besides being a vital catalyst of the economy.
It is, hence, no wonder that countries across the world strive to welcome future brand ambassadors or, in other words, tourists. Travelling is facilitated by good connections, enabled by modern transportation systems that ensure fast and comfortable travels.
A recent high profile get together hosted by the Ambassador of Denmark to India, Peter Taksoe-Jensen, saw the announcement of one such initiative to enhance travel between the two countries.
Indo-Danish connectivity got a boost as Air India announced the introduction of direct flights between Delhi and Copenhagen. This development ~ a result of years of discussions between Air India and Copenhagen Airport ~ has been strongly assisted by the Embassy in India.
The gathering saw representatives from major travel agencies, the press, Air India, Copenhagen Airport, Invest in Denmark, Visit Denmark and the Trade Council in India.
The increase in political and business cooperation between both countries has resulted in an increase in travel, creating a demand for non-stop connections. In 2016 alone, when travel figures between India and Denmark increased by 11 per cent, visas issued grew by 20 per cent ~ a trend that continues.
An important contributor to the facilitation of direct connectivity is a rise in the number of Danish companies active in India.
"The direct connection is expected to also give a major boost to tourism in both directions," says Taksoe-Jensen. "The number of outbound Indian tourists has doubled in just a few years and we hope that this trend continues, especially since my country has many unique selling propositions within a small distance from one another."
VisitDenmark ~ the official tourist organisation ~ is actively promoting the country through various innovative strategies, which will also be boosted through the Embassy's public diplomacy work. Air India Commercial Director Pankaj Srivastava expressed immense pleasure and satisfaction when he said, "If there is one airline that is happy to expand its network in the world's highest happiness index region, it is Air India. Operations will commence 16 September onwards and will be operated by a state-of-the-art Dreamliner with thrice-aweek frequency ~ Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays."
In 2016 alone, traffic between Denmark and India grew by 10.1 per cent, and now passengers can travel directly without layovers. The Copenhagen Airport saw an average of 726 daily departures and arrivals and a total of 29 million passengers in 2016, making it the largest airport in Northern Europe. The direct connection has the potential to strengthen ties between India and Denmark, especially the Greater Copenhagen Area.
Notably, the area had a GDP of 173 billion Euros in 2013, generates around 40 per cent of Denmark's GDP, attracts around 85 per cent of foreign investment and is the recipient of Denmark's largest private and public investments in research and development. Julian Bevis, senior director for the Maersk group in India, welcomed the direct connection saying that this would greatly boost trade ties.
The same sentiments were echoed by a number of other Danish business companies located in India such as FLSmidth India, Novo Nordisk India and others. Measures like these enhance people-to-people connection, so necessary for public diplomacy.
As a famous quote goes: The beauty of nature will leave you speechless once you start travelling, but it will make you a story teller once you finish travelling.
Diplomatic Editor Ashok Tuteja (email@example.com)