Twin blasts fail to dent city’s image globally

Suresh Krishnamoorthy
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The City of Pearls is on the radar for over a dozen international conventions and is high on the list as a preferred destination, given its infrastructure and relatively low costs of hosting events that attract thousands of delegates.

This is the impression gaining ground, significant as it is, with apprehensions that the twin bomb blasts that took place in Dilsukhnagar on February 26 had made event organisers do a re-think and backtrack on decisions to hold conventions here.

“The twin blasts have made people more wary, more so with the city being portrayed in the media as a ‘hub of terror’, but it is not something that people will consider a permanent phenomenon,” said Jalil (Gary) Khan, CEO, Hyderabad Convention Visitors Bureau-India (HCVB), who had conducted the World Allergy Conference last year with 1,200 delegates.

He is also involved with the Women’s World Congress with an expected 3,000 delegates and the World Metropolis Conference with 2,000 delegates, sometime in 2014. “Now they will not happen here if the hosts are apprehensive about terrorist incidents,” he said, pointing out that Hyderabad was rated the Best MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) in 2012.

Back after 22 years

A Hyderabadi with dual citizenship (India, USA) who has spent most of his life in the United States of America, Mr. Khan came back to the city after 22 years with the United Airlines, USA.

“Having travelled widely and lived in a dozen countries because my father worked for the United Nations, I know how much India is valued and my stint in management has given me experience in the hospitality sector.”

Two days after the Dilsukhnagar blasts, Mr. Khan flew to Australia and over meetings, received expressions of interest from at least a dozen organisers, mostly from the health sector, to hold conventions here in the next two to three years.

Among the unique selling propositions of Hyderabad are its infrastructure in terms of convention centres and large number of luxury hotel rooms, apart from low costs and adequate tourism potential, he said, adding that the over 400 year-old city was unmatched in the country, when it came to these points.

Hyderabad still high on the list as a preferred destination for international conventions



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