"Our High Commission and Consulates are temporarily unable to process visa applications. We will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.
India is positioned at the forefront of global economic growth, poised to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2027, said Amitabh Kant, former CEO of Niti Aayog, at the inaugural session of the 10th Indian Heritage Hotels Convention being held at the Tijara Fort in Alwar.
Addressing the session as the chief guest, Kant said the primary engine driving this growth within the local economy is tourism.
“Tourism is also key to achieving equitable growth. Tourism today has moved beyond elitism and lavish 5-star accommodations and instead focuses on providing unique experiences. Heritage hotels are pivotal in this paradigm shift, as they redefine the concept of luxury and create unique and memorable experiences for visitors,” he said.
Kant also emphasised the importance of revitalising a place’s cultural heritage by breathing life into its roots.
“Traditional art forms, cuisines, architecture, and more should be actively promoted as distinctive products. The government, in this regard, should play the role of a catalyst, facilitating these efforts and ensuring the provision of last-mile connectivity. However, the responsibility for the operation and management of these ventures should rest with private partners,” he said.
Sanjeev Sanyal, Member of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, gave a presentation on ‘Thinking of Heritage as Economic and Cultural Capital’.
He said that storytelling and narrative building is an important part of running the economy.
“Instead of imbibing someone else’s narrative, the need is to tell our own story. The sites of Haldighati, Chittorgarh and Kumbhalgarh in Rajasthan have great stories of resistance to foreign domination. The heritage hotels need to revive bardic traditions and re-tell the stories of our past. The stories of local communities should be re-packaged in a modern way and we must re-tell India’s narrative for the 21st century,” he said.
President of Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA), Gaj Singh, said that IHHA with its more than 200 members is a unique organisation and is willing to promote India as a unique heritage destination. Sustainable preservation is one of the important aspirations for the future of heritage tourism, he added.