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Atlanta hotelier part of forum on hospitality and tourism in India

April 2003
Atlanta hotelier part of forum on hospitality and tourism in India

Mukesh 'Mike' Patel, president of the Atlanta-based Diplomat Companies and a recognized leader in America's hotel industry, recently returned from chairing a special forum to encourage hospitality and tourism in India. The event was held in Delhi as part of major three-day Pravasi Diwas sponsored by the Government of India and hosted by Jagdeesh Chandra Sharma, Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs.

'This first-of-its kind conference brought together more than 1,500 distinguished Indians from 54 countries to share ideas and develop recommendations for a stronger India,' explained Patel, who is a founding member of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) and serves on the White House Commission for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 'Our focus was on excellence - taking a look at what has worked for others and how it can be adapted in India.'

Patel, whose company operates 17 hotels in the southeast United States, led a session that examined how branding strategies can enhance India's tourism.

'Given India's rich culture and heritage, there is a large untapped opportunity to market of India as a tourist destination,' said Patel. 'To make this happen, an important first step is attracting greater investment in India by international hospitality companies so travelers can be assured of consistent quality, service, and value.'

According to Patel, other important steps for growing tourism in India include enhancing the country's infrastructure, especially the road system, and streamlining the bureaucracy.

'Since the events of September 11, India has come to play an even more pivotal role in global politics and economics,' added Patel. 'That's why conferences such as this one held in Delhi are so vital in advancing India's ambitious agenda of entrepreneurship and democracy.'

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