As part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and on the occasion of National Tourism Day, the Embassy organized a Seminar “Tourism Wonders of India” on January 25, 2022. The event was also part of the Republic Day Celebrations. The Seminar was focused on the States of Goa and Kerala, the two most favored destinations for Lebanese tourists in India.
The speakers included, Mr. Nikhil Desai, MD, Goa Tourism Development Corporation, Mr. Ahmad El Wazzan, Head of Public Relations Abroad Department, Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Jean Abboud, President, Association of Travel & Tourism Agents in Lebanon (ATTAL), and Mr. Aouni Abdel Rahim, Members of Association for Development of Lebanese-Indian Relations (ADLIR). Members of ATTAL, ADLIR, and other travel and tour operators attended the event. Promotional videos from Kerala and Goa were screened.
Ambassador Dr. Suhel Ajaz Khan gave an overview of the demography of India, top touristic destinations and talked about the tourism industry of India. Ambassador also spoke about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism sector all over the world but highlighted that Indian tourism is able to make a fast recovery from the Covid-19 related slump. Despite the pandemic, India is able to host international guests following the Covid-19 protocols. Ambassador also spoke on the Free Tourist Visa Scheme of the Government of India to the first 5 lakh travelers to visit India and said that since the inception of this Scheme, the Embassy has had many free tourist visas for Lebanese travelers.
Other speakers talked about the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry and the challenges being faced by tourists. All the attendees showed great interest in taking more tour groups to India and exploring new touristic locations. Mr. Aouni Abdel Rahim spoke fondly about his visit to Kumbh Mela in India a few years back. A short film made by him on the Kumbh Mela, with a positive message of “live and let live”, was also screened.