Sunday, January 8, 2012

COVER STORY: Island Tourism Festival: Cultural Extravaganza Begins

VOL: 35 | ISSUE: 23 | FRIDAY | 6 JANUARY 2012

Island Tourism Festival:
Cultural Extravaganza Begins

By Staff Reporter

The Island Tourism Festival had a colourful start on 5th Jan 2011, inaugurated by Lt Governor Bhopinder Singh. The one and a half hour cultural fiesta went global this time with DD Bharathi, telecasting it to more than 40 countries.
Despite plentiful of adverse complaints and criticism about popular mainland artistes, the cultural extravaganza sailed smooth with local and various cultural organizations from South, East and North Zone putting together a blend of folk dances depicting the cultural heritage and diversity of the country.
Lieutenant Governor, Bhopinder Singh, inaugurating the 16th mega cultural extravaganza said that this year, the festival is celebrated on a wider scale extending to Nicobar group too. Praising the local talents, he said that they are not less than the mainland-based artistes.
On the snail pace of development in tourism sector, he justified it saying that the Administration is deliberately going slow taking very cautious steps not disturbing the ecological balance, aspirations of local population and the sensibilities of the tribal population. Taking a dig on other states that are expeditiously creating tourism infrastructure, he said that the Admn is more concerned about the impact of tourism on environment.
Referring the aftermath of Cyclone Thane, which had hundreds of tourists stranded in different destinations, he said that a proposal will be mooted by the Administration to provide free boarding and lodging facilities to such tourists and requested the local population not to harass and exploit them and to extend all hospitality in such eventualities. He also sought the cooperation of the local population in keeping the tourism destinations and the Islands clean and tidy so that the tourists take a positive and pleasant memory with them.
He also announced that apart from ITF, food festival, film festival and another major Cultural Festival will be organized in 2012.
On the role of tourism for the economic development of the Islands, he said that the Islands do not have any major industries apart from tourism and fisheries. Hence, these sectors should emerge as the major employment providers.
On connectivity, he said that considerable number of flights has been plying between the capital and the Islands. He informed that about 2 lakh tourists visited the Islands in 2011 and the administration is determined to make these emerald Islands into one of the best tourism destinations.
The Lieutenant Governor also released four films on Island tourism.  He also praised the effort of Naresh Chandra Lal in promoting the seaplane service through a documentary.
The cultural events were an enriching experience taking the spectators on a journey through the diversity of India, with folk dances by Nicobari, Karen, Ranchi, Bengali artistes and the guest artistes from South Zone and East Zone.
Doordarshan, Port Blair Kendra in close coordination with Directorate of Art and Culture and Directorate of Tourism deserves all praise for the successful maiden telecast of the Cultural festival on the national network through DD Bharati.
Earlier, Satish Mathur, Secretary, Tourism welcomed the gathering and R Murali, Director Tourism proposed vote of thanks. The programme was compered with all splendor by Rasheeda Iqbal, in her innate style, blended with Urdu poetry on the beauty of the Islands and its historical importance in freedom struggle.

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