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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

Sydney-Melbourne, meet Sanchi-Khajuraho!

Saeed Khan Saeed Khan, Hindustan Times  Indore, October 11, 2012
First Published: 14:26 IST(11/10/2012) | Last Updated: 14:30 IST(11/10/2012)

Oz wizardry needs no introduction for Indians. Kookaburra balls are a household name in our cricket-mad nation.

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And, of course, every idiot box addict worth his protruding belly knows the name that's "Australian for beer."  Now, the Madhya Pradesh government is working to ensure that the "heart" of Incredible India becomes equally familiar to Australians.

Just last week, MP State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) bosses visited Down Under, weaving a visual tapestry of films and presentations showcasing prominent tourist destinations at road shows meant to lure Australians to Madhya Pradesh. 

The shows, organised jointly by the Ministry of Tourism and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), were attended by travel agency representatives, tour operators as well as travel writers. Diverse strains of tourism - heritage, religious and, of course, wildlife were highlighted at the shows held at Melbourne (October 3) and Sydney (October 5).

Incidentally, notwithstanding the reduction in the tiger population, MP bagged the Best Indian Destination for Wildlife award from Lonely Planet - the backpackers' Bible - earlier this year.

"Films on prominent destinations like Sanchi, Khajuraho and Mandu were exhibited at the shows. We also held one-on-one meetings (with travel trade representatives) to promote tourist sites," said MPSTDC managing director Raghvendra Singh, who attended the shows.

In response to a question he said the Corporation hadn't so far unveiled any special packages or offers for visitors from Oz. "We are only showcasing the properties," said Singh. He spoke specifically about the "amazing aquarium in Melbourne". "Something along similar lines can be set up here, maybe on a PPP (public-private partnership (PPP) basis," said Singh, who earlier served as Indore collector.

Although MPSTDC officials are unwilling to comment, industry insiders say the road shows in Australia and New Zealand (October 1) segued with an overall trend in the tourism sector -- focus on emerging markets like Australia to tide over the slide in footfalls and revenues caused by the economic slowdown in Europe and US.


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