I have always been fascinated by Madhya Pradesh as a destination. I went on a road trip to Madhya Pradesh with my parents as a small kid. I still have a very faint memory of how wide eyed I was when I saw the raw and exotic landscapes en route. Perhaps that memory still fascinates me. Or perhaps the enticing Madhya Pradesh Tourism ads lure me. Not to forget, the brief trip I made last year to Jabalpur, Bhedaghat and Bandhavgarh national park also left me with the hunger to explore more of this untamed state of India. Madhya Pradesh will always be special to me because I saw my first tiger in wild in M. P. I could not click the picture of tiger as he vanished in a hurry but a cab driver allowed me to use the picture he clicked.
I was delighted when Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board sent me an invite to attend the Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart (MPTM), 2016 organized by Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC). The event will be held from 14th to 16th October in Bhopal, a city I always wanted to visit but could not. This year is the 3rd edition of the travel mart. The venue is Hotel Lake View Ashok in Bhopal. Just what I wanted! A nice place to stare at the lake for hours as I dig into my food!
The mart will be inaugurated by Honourable Chief Minister Shri. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, along with other dignitaries from Madhya Pradesh and special invitees from other states. I am excited to meet the many representatives of top exhibitors from Madhya Pradesh’s Wildlife sector, hotels, Destination Management Companies, Conference venues, Car Rentals, Tour Operators, Heritage Hotels, and Wildlife Parks etc at The B2B Exhibition at MPTM.
The main aim of the mart is to promote tourism in Madhya Pradesh around the year with a focus on domestic and inbound travelers to M.P. The show will provide a platform to the participants who can have one to one business meetings. I am sure the environment will be conducive to such interactions. The exhibitor, buyer and visitor are going to benefit with such interactions. As a travel blogger, I am looking forward to meeting the people who would like to collaborate with me on projects. Thanks to the mart, exhibitors, buyers, media and other visitors will get an opportunity to network, meet and share expertise with professionals who want to educate themselves about various products.
I think, with right infrastructure, Madhya Pradesh has the potential to be a world-class destination for Wildlife, Nature, Heritage, Pilgrimage, Adventure & MICE. It will not be an over statement to call M.P. the ‘Africa of India’. The state is teeming with wildlife and one can avail some truly world class and luxurious stay options in its wildlife reserves. What is even more exciting is that post the 3 day Mart, we will be taken on familiarization trips across the state. The Fam Trip Itineraries are so tempting that it is difficult to choose between them. I mean how do you choose just two destinations out of Bandhavgarh, Satpura, Orchcha, Khajuraho, Pench, Kanha, the works? My vote goes for Satpura National Park and Pachmarhi, the hill station of M.P. mainly because I find these two destinations offbeat and attractive.
I still vividly remember the massive Dhuandhar waterfall I saw near Bhedaghat. The marble rocks of Bhedaghat, was not like something I had seen before. I would also like to go back to Bandhavgarh National Park someday to spot more tigers or to just soak in the beauty of the forest.
It is getting a bit difficult for me to wait for October. Maybe I should just get back to watching the cool videos produced by Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board. Or plan how can I use my time productively in Bhopal. I hope I am able to see some of the many famous mosques of Bhopal and explore it’s exciting food options. Though, I am not too keen on bumping into Soorma Bhopali (that hilarious character from the blockbuster Sholay) I belong to the ‘City of Nawabs’, Lucknow and looking forward to see how this other ‘City of Nawab’ welcomes me.
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