Madhya Pradesh Tourism Mart 2016 -A Great Idea To Boost Tourism!

Picture above: The CM Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, addressing the audience at the inauguration.


My comfortable room in Marriott!

IT WAS MY first time in Bhopal. I was excited to discover a new city (and the many gems around it). More than the destination, this time I was curious to discover what all is in store for the Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart 2016. I was invited as the online partner for this annual event related to tourism in Madhya Pradesh. As me and my fellow Press colleagues rested in the comfort of the luxurious Marriott, I anticipated in silence what next day has to offere to us. But before the main action began, we were treated to an extravaganza at the Jehan Numa palace. It is more than a hotel. It is a heritage building. The architecture, the hospitality, the exquisite food and the décor transported me to a bygone era of Nawabs and Begums (Read: Royals). MPTM sure started on a pleasant note.


The Pianist at the gala dinner in Jehan Numa Palace, Bhopal

The pianist filled the air with old Bollywood melodies,my favorite being ‘Chowdahvi ka chand ho’, wine flowing, delegates from across the world intermingling, candles lighting up the gardens. Films like Rajniti have been shot here. Madhya Pradesh, I loved the way you treated me and many others from 28 countries and 54 Indian cities. Approximately 70 hosted buyers from 28 countries, 175 domestic buyers from 54 Indian cities and a total of 61 Exhibitors, out of which 50 Sellers / Exhibitors being from Madhya Pradesh, participated in the third edition of M.P. Travel Mart. Presidents of major National Travel Trade Associations like IATO, ADTOI, ATOAI and ITTA also attended the Mart.


In M.P., the heart is like that of a child!

“In Madhya Pradesh, it’s very easy to fix the appointment with the chief minister and the tiger!” The CM Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said to an amused audience. The next day, after the inaugural function, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, the second largest state of India, presented the awards to the stakeholders in tourism industry. “MP tourism is getting lots of awards and we decided to give awards to those who are helping MP achieve all this.” 30 awards were given in 22 categories with Pugdundee safaris bagging 3 of them. The speech was flambouyant and laced with humour and wit, not something which I had expected. As the CM passionately engaged the audience with his vision of tourism in MP, I could see why Madhya Pradesh is doing so good in the tourism sector (and other fields too). MP is great for wildlife tourism. 25 wildlife sanctuaries, 9 national parks, 6 tiger reserves and an untamed landscape qualifies MP as ‘The Africa of India’. Most of these National Parks have world class facilities and some of the most luxurious resorts and hotels in India.


That’s a cake! At the gala dinner in Jehan Numa Palace!

The discussions on the stage centered around the achievements of Madhya Pradesh in the field of tourism, the future plans and the still untapped potential of the many ‘hidden gems’ in the state. After all, MP has much more to offer apart from the best National Parks of India. Think the heritage legacy of Orchcha,Mandu, Gwalior, the famous erotic art on the temples of Khajuraho, Tribal belts, the 7000 years old rock art and paintings in Bhimbhetka, the Sanchi Stupa which dates back to the times of Emperor Asoka, the great!


Me, so happy, to see my childhood dream – Sanchi Stupa. Pic by : Parnashree Devi

Post the address by the CM, the buyers, sellers and the media interacted with each other in a comfortable environment. More than 1900 business meetings took place over 2 days in the kiosks set up in the lawns of Hotel Lake View Ashok, Bhopal. In the capacity of a travel blogger/write/photographer, I met many resorts owners, stalls of the Travel Magazines like National Geographic Traveler India and Discover India and even tourism boards like MP tourism board, Telangna Tourism Board, Gujarat Tourism Board etc.


M.P. mein dil hua bachcha sa!

We were treated with another grand dinner in the lawns of the luxury property Sayaji Hotels. Good food, nice choice in mocktails and cocktails, tribal song and dances, even a live DJ made it a memorable night. My fellow blogger friend Parnashree Devi did not want to leave. I was accompanied by Ms. Sailaja Revur and Mr. Rahul Bhatia who regaled us with stories and adventures from his travels of many decades.


Heading to the safari in the jungles of Satpura in early morning!

On the morning of the 3rd day, we were taken on a Heritage walk in the old part of the city. I was surprised to discover the rich history of the unassuming city. The poha paradise that Bhopal is I loved bingeing on the Poha, black jalebi and special tea of the famous Raju Tea Stall during the Heritage Walk! The next day we geared up for the FAM trips (Familiarisation trip) to the jungles of Satpura and the hill station Pachmarhi. Since I have always had an inclination for the offbeat, I chose these two out of many tempting destinations which MP tourism Board offered me. Again, great company, good animal sightings, a stay in Colonial heritage hotel and a pleasant weather had me hooked. I was very curious to see more of Madhya Pradesh, so I made sure I don’t leave the state without paying a visit to Bhimbhetka, Sanchi Stupa and a very interesting detour to Sehore, a village near Bhopal which is making all the difference in the ‘Clean India campaign’. I will be writing all this in separate blogs. Stay tuned for the exclusive stories, videos and pictures. !


Spotted a Gaur aka Bison in Satpura National Park

The Indian media had a special one on one interaction with Mr. Hari Ranjan Rao, IAS officer and Managing Director, M.P. State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. in a press conference. He passionately shared the plans of MP Tourism and patiently listened to the suggestions from us. To boost tourism in MP, the government is planning many Way Side Amenities aka WSA on the highways. I observed while tarveling through the roads of MP, the state has baby bottom smooth roads. It makes for an ideal destination for road trips. The raw landscapes and pronounced sun sets adds to its charms. The proposed plan is to construct basic WSA every 25 kilometres and a larger one at every 50 kilometres. To simplify, WSAs are the roadside units meant for the refreshments of the road trippers. Expect restaurants, drinking water facility, clean toilets, kids’play area, bathing area, rest area for drivers, FMCG shops, parking facilities, the works! Not only will it help weary tourists but also locals and others who are plying on that particular road. It will be run on PPP model and many entities from private sector have shown interest, including a giant Corporate house and a ‘father who gifted his daughters WSA to run and make a living.”



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The cool train restaurant at Hotel Lake View Ashok, Bhopal!



What a memorable evening at Sayaji Hotel, Bhopal!


9 thoughts on “Madhya Pradesh Tourism Mart 2016 -A Great Idea To Boost Tourism!

  1. It must be a great experience for you to attend the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Mart, mingle with the people in the travel industry and explore the off-the-beaten locales. I think it is a great idea to plan Way Side Amenities so the travelers can take a rest and enjoy the beautiful view on the road. It will be a huge convenience and encouragement for the tourists to do the DIY road trips in India.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How do you get to Madhya Pradesh Tourism Mart? Do they have a programme for writers, journalists and bloggers? Looks like it could be a good way of making contacts and getting an overview of what’s available in the region.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read your article with excitement, as next week I will attend myself for the first time a tourism travel market, the WTM in London and I have no idea what to expect. The Madhya Pradesh region looks very beautiful, I would love to explore it next time I will be in India. I like that there are a lot of options to travel, from low budget to luxury.

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  4. The MP tourism mart seems to have been a grand success. The personal involvement of the the CM in this sector is definitely giving it a boost. Other state tourism boards should follow suit and start agressively marketing the tourist potential of their states. I can see you enjoyed MP from Stupa to Poha, really, MP mey dil he baccche sa 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My boyfriend has told me all about India and how wonderful it is there. He actually attended a wedding which would be awesome! That is one huge cake, and all those cut outs of figurines are kind of creepy in a way haha. Overall, looks like you had a great first trip there!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: TRAVEL GONE WRONG: WHY 4 MONTHS OF NON STOP TRAVEL MADE ME HATE TRAVEL! – Soul Window – Travel stories and pictures from Indian writer

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