Punjab has recorded an unprecedented growth in domestic and foreign tourists’ arrival in THE last decade. The state has seen a phenomenal CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of nearly 30% in Foreign Tourist Arrivals & 27% in Domestic Tourist Arrivals over the period 2009-2018. Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar, was awarded the most visited religious place in the world by the World Book of Records (WBR). These were some of the facts that emerged during the session on ‘Tourism in Punjab: Unlocking Tourism Potential of Punjab’ at Progressive Punjab Investor Summit-2019. Vikas Pratap, Principal Secretary Tourism and Culture, said Punjab witnessed arrival of 1.2 million foreign tourists and 44.5 million domestic tourists in 2018. He said that this was because Punjab is known for its rich religious places, cultural heritage, traditional fairs and festivals, museums, memorials, cuisines, art & craft, farms and eco-tourism.
During the session, panellists and delegates from across different segments in the tourism sector said that the state still had great potential to become the tourist hub of South Asia.The session brought together all the stakeholders from Hotel & Hospitality, Travel Magazines, Leisure and Tour Associations on a single platform.Panelists included Nakul Anand, Executive Director, ITC Limited and Chairman of FAITH; Zubin Saxena, MD & VP, Operations, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group; Kavinder Singh, MD & CEO, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd; Sesh Seshadri, Director, Lonely Planet India; Ashish Gupta, CEO, FAITH; Chef Manjit Singh Gill, President , Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA); and Dinesh Chadha, VP – Real Estate & Development, Indian Hotels Company Limited.There was a discussion on new emerging area/theme in the tourism sector and the role of hospitality sector in increasing the tourism activities in any region.Suneet Kochhar, Director, Khanna Papers (Hospitality Division), shared his experience on setting up a unit in hospitality division in Punjab. He hailed the Punjab government for time-bound and hassle-free approval of applications.