Sunday, March 21, 2010

Delhi’s Invitation to states to participate in Games

As the Delhi government gears up for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, there are plans afoot to take the Games beyond the city. Said Rina Ray, managing director, DTTDC, ‘‘We are in talks with neighboring states to be a part of the Games. We’ve asked them to designate a park or public space in a city and earmark it as a Commonwealth park. On opening day (of the Games), this space would be the ground for cultural events intrinsic to that region.’’

According to Ray, several states have already agreed to come on board though she refused to reveal the names.

That’s not all. Delhi tourism is also planning to hold a mini Commonwealth Games a month before the actual event, which would be targeted at street children as well as those with disabilities. ‘‘The government will tie-up with NGOs to promote these events, which would be held from September 3-14, and will be for children,’’ added Ray. Bal melas, plays, sporting competitions and other events will mark the celebrations.

On day two of Delhi’s first tourism conclave, the department of tourism unveiled a number of plans for the Commonwealth Games. From heritage walks and street markets to public art, night bazaars and cultural evenings, the department plans to make the city come alive, claimed Ray. ‘‘While the budget is yet to be allocated, we have drawn up our plans. We are looking for sponsors for the events too,’’ added the DTTDC MD.

It’s not just ‘Delhi Celebrates’ the Games-focused tourism plan of the Delhi government that will be launched in the next few days however. Come April, Delhi tourism also plans to launch a branding exercise for the city. ‘‘It’s a long term exercise and will promote Delhi as a tourist destination much beyond the Games, which are more of a trigger,’’ added Ray. The campaign, which will have the Indi-pop band Euphoria compose a song as the signature campaign song, will also highlight Delhi’s cultural roots, with the department planning to rope in renowned Sufi singers for the campaign.

‘‘The branding exercise will run simultaneously with Delhi Celebrates,’’ added Ray. The conclave also saw the organizing committee laud the legacy of the Games. V K Verma of the OC claimed that the infrastructure of the city post-Games would help the country win the bid for hosting Olympics Games. DUAC chairperson, K T Ravindran, spoke about tourism’s ability to bridge the distance for the economically backward, making the Games an inclusive exercise.

Said Ravindran, ‘‘The Games can be a revenue as well as job-generating experience for Delhi if the right steps are taken.’’