Concrete Steps Towards a Dream
“Transforming a brand into a socially responsible leader doesn’t happen overnight by simply writing new marketing and advertising strategies. It takes effort to identify a vision that your customers will nd credible and aligned with their values.”- Simon Mainwaring
Shamim A. Aarzoo
And the UP Tourism department has been more than successful in proving so in such a small span of time. The dream of making Uttar Pradesh the most enticing of all tourism spots n hub have come true to such a extent that it seems to be in the same frame since eternity.
One of the latest ventures to turn this dream into a reality has been the project of ‘The Heritage Arc’, a multi destination mega project that connects Agra with Varanasi via Lucknow. ‘The Heritage Arc’ in Uttar Pradesh provides an opportunity to explore the state in all its glory. The ‘Heritage Arc’ not only covers the three distinct regions but also put in a nutshell all their essence of culture, heritage and art forms. The Arc takes travellers through a kaleidoscopic journey of monuments, architectural wonders, pilgrimage centres, spiritual experiences and wildlife. ‘The Heritage Arc’ will soon be completing its one-year and on the same The Lucknow Observer takes up the opportunity to interview, Mr. Amrit Abhijat, the Director General – UP Tourism and asks about the status of the project as it completes a year of its announcement. In an exclusive conversation Mr. Abhijat talks about, the endeavour and challenges they have gone through in the entire journey to make this dream come true.
What is the current scenario of the project and the accolades it has achieved, now that its formal declaration completes a year?
The past one-year has been one awesome ride. Even the thought of connecting Agra, Lucknow and Varanasi under one-project gives you chill. These three cities on the banks of three different rivers- Yamuna, Gomti and Ganga respectively- are the most heritage-rich cities in the state. The three cities, owing to their historical inheritance, can give a glimpse of the ancient world and thus, can prove to be great attractions for the tourists. The UP Government has worked night and day to extrude this idea of a 540-kilometer long arc, out from the papers and onto the ground reality. The vision of the arc is vast and extensive, keeping in mind every aspect of the project so that it becomes a sure-shot hit. From lavish intrastate flights to a more fundamental need of world-class roads, everything is being taken care of and would be available for access with the initiation of Lucknow-Agra Expressway and new air connectivity modules. Apart from the above mentioned cities, the entire region and particularly the cities on the banks of these three rivers, like Mathura, Brindawan, Etawah, Bithoor, Kanpur and Allahabad etc., would experience a boost in tourism and gain benets. The Tourism Department is presently keeping a keen eye on the minutest of details within the project. The use of signs, materials with literary and informative content, maintenance of monuments, security arrangements etc. are an integral part of the arc. In the near future, ‘The Heritage Arc’ aims at gaining a status of an essential activity of a must-do kind, and ultimately revealing the true treasure of Uttar Pradesh to the world.
While Agra and Varanasi have been essential tourist spots for years, would Lucknow gain from ‘The Heritage Arc’ turn into a rivaling tourist destination, upon its inclusion with the two cities?
Without a doubt, yes! In fact, each of these three cities has a unique identity. Agra’s name has always been associated with the Taj Mahal and its contemporary architectural brilliance. Varanasi has been famous for its spirituality. So, if the unique factor of Lucknow is to be considered, a single factor can’t be pointed out, which in turn, makes it unique. It is a potpourri of cultural fabrics, mannerism, music, art, dance, cuisine and architecture. It has tremendous re to attract the tourists, and as it is at the centre of ‘The Heritage Arc’, it will definitely be benefitted greatly.
What facilities are planned for a tourist at micro level?
We have provisions for tourist facilities at the arrival points, i.e., airports, railway stations, bus stations etc. Apart from the major services like signs, improved roads, security arrangements, and sanitation and hygiene, the department is also working on the establishment of information centers, currency exchange depots etc. As mentioned before, UP Tourism, GoUP will always strive to provide facilities at every level, and is ambitious bring about a catalytic metamorphosis of the tourism in Uttar Pradesh.
Will ‘The Heritage Arc’ become a global brand in tourism industry, similar to the ‘Golden Triangle’ encompassing Delhi, Agra and Jaipur?
It is already a global brand. With the kind of appreciative reviews from all over the world and positive responses due to our magnified visibility through social media, we are convinced that we’re on the right track. And what the Arc holds for the visitors is a world worth the view. It highlights the variety of the civilizations, each one situated at the banks of an iconic river, scattered across the stretch of 540 kilometers- the cultural aspects, the spiritual essence, the wondrous architectures, the signature mouth-watering delicacy, textiles, industrial areas, fabulous countryside etc.
In your opinion, has the global appeal and visibility of the initiative enhanced manifold due to the vehement and active use of social media?
It has, indeed. The massive reach of the social media has allowed the tourists to access us more easily, and at the same time, convey the various ventures under the Tourism Department to them. It is also easier now, through social media, to receive responses, feedbacks and complaints of the tourist fraternity. We are no longer the obstinate and difficult to approach organization, instead, the communication through social media has been done freely and interactively. Through this improved communication, the needs and wants of the people have been catered to more efficiently and in an organized way. The updates of the events are made public in real time while updating; modication and customization of the products have become smoother. From the unveiling of Lucknow Darshan to proposed roadway facilities, social media has become one of the nest tools to broadcast things at a large scale. It has also come in handy during our product launches. We owe the popularity of ‘Taj Car Rally’, ‘International Balloon Festival’ and other events, to a synchronized pitching of conventional publicity and social media platforms.
Are there chances of incoming crowd of Indian tourists in a few years during Durga Puja and etc.?
Positively! We aim at bringing in people in large numbers and turning this project into a massive success. We are proceeding in phases and are resolved to fulfill our commitments. We have always been greatly concerned about the behavior, aptitude and responsiveness, and the department will also see to it that the people are made aware about the appropriate treatment of the visitors. We sincerely hope that we fulfill all the expectations made from us and transform ‘The Heritage Arc’ into a glorious chapter in tourism industry and revive the glory of the entire region too.
Writer is the Editor In Chief of The Lucknow Observer & Founder of LUCKNOW Society
(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 2 Issue 16, Dated 05 July 2015)