Festivals and Events







The bustling city of Kolkata played host to a remarkable event as the curtains rose on the 7th edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit, a two-day extravaganza held at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre on November 21st and 22nd, 2023. Against the backdrop of this global summit, the vibrant state of West Bengal unfolded its economic potential, attracting a diverse array of delegates and investors from across the globe.

The inaugural session witnessed the esteemed presence of key figures shaping the business landscape. The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Miss Mamata Banerjee, took center stage, delivering a compelling opening speech that provided a comprehensive overview of the current business scenario within the state. The illustrious gathering also included titans of industry such as Mr. Mukesh Ambani, a stalwart in the corporate world, the eminent healthcare visionary Dr. Devi Shetty, and the iconic former cricketer, Mr. Sourav Ganguly.

Notably, Mr. Sourav Ganguly was bestowed with the honorary title of the ambassador of Bengal, a testament to his influence and commitment to the region. As the day unfolded, Mr. Ambani took the opportunity to share insights into his strategic investments, shedding light on initiatives spanning the digital realm, retail enterprises, agriculture, and healthcare sectors. The evening resonated with a symphony of perspectives as various delegates took the stage, contributing to a rich tapestry of ideas that promised to shape the future of business not only in West Bengal but on a global scale.

The Bengal Business Summit 2023 emerged as a platform where visionaries, industry leaders, and policymakers converged, setting the stage for dialogues that could potentially redefine the economic landscape of the region. This article endeavors to encapsulate the essence of this monumental event, exploring the key announcements, strategic insights, and the palpable energy that permeated the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre during those two transformative days.

The second day of the Bengal Business Summit unfolded with a kaleidoscope of discussions, each panel representing a different facet of the business spectrum. For the flourishing tourism industry, a series of three sessions were meticulously crafted, each delving into the theme of ‘Heritage to Horizons’. The ambiance buzzed with anticipation as industry leaders,  policymakers, and stakeholders gathered to unravel the potential pathways for the tourism sector.

At the forefront of the tourism discussions was the Principal Secretary of Tourism Department  of West Bengal, Smt. Nandini Chakraborty. Her opening statements set a riveting tone for the day, revealing a Ground breaking development—the formal recognition of tourism as an industry in the state. This strategic move was underscored by the acknowledgment of the manifold benefits that tourism injects into West Bengal’s economic veins.

As the morning discussions unfolded, Minister Mukherjee articulated a compelling vision, emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between tourism and economic growth. The industry’s new found status promised not only to elevate the profile of West Bengal as a tourist destination but also to catalyze infrastructural development and attract substantial capital investments.

The panels that followed delved into diverse aspects of the tourism landscape, exploring everything from heritage conservation to futuristic horizons. Industry leaders shared insights, strategies, and success stories, creating a collaborative environment where the past and the future converged. The thematic undercurrent of & ‘Heritage to Horizons’, resonated throughout the discussions, symbolizing a commitment to preserving the rich cultural legacy while embracing the opportunities presented by modernization.

Session 1: Bengal’s Cultural and Heritage Trails:

The inaugural session of the Bengal Business Summit’s second day delved into the cultural heritage of Bengal, featuring esteemed panelists with noteworthy contributions to the sector.

The panel, led by moderator Darshan Dudhoria, Co-founder of Bari Kothi Heritage Hotel, commenced with a captivating mythological narrative, intertwining the cosmic dance of Shiva, Thandav, with Bengal’s role as the crown for tourism.


Sujit Bannerjee:

Former Union Secretary Tourism, Secretary General, World Travel & Tourism Council India Initiative.

Junhi Han:

Chief of the Cultural Sector, UNESCO Regional Office for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Maharaj Kumar Sahib, Dr. Lakshyaraj Singh, Mewar of Udaipur:

Executive Director, Historic Resorts Hotels Pvt. Ltd.

Abha Narain Lambah:Principal Architect, Abha Narain Associates.

Accommodations and Heritage Restoration: Dr. Lakshayraj Singh Ji Mewar’  Perspective

Dr. Mewar shared his journey into hospitality, emphasizing the transformative role of accommodations in shaping guests’ travel experiences. He celebrated the 50-year partnership with the Tatas in forming the Lake Palace Hotel, highlighting the necessity of accommodations as a vital element in the travel narrative.

Community Building in Heritage Hotels: Insights from Junhi Han

Junhi Han emphasized the economic importance of cultural heritage, citing that 40% of global tourism revenue is derived from it. She outlined four protection strategies – Conservation, Capacity Building, Credibility, and Community, shedding light on the economic benefits of events like Durga Puja. Junhi stressed community-led tourism, ensuring locals benefit from tourism, aligning it with the global revenue generated.

Socio-Economic Impact on Cultural Heritage Tourism: Sujit Banerjee’s Perspective Sujit Banerjee addressed the socio-economic impact, considering the post-COVID era’s challenges and the potential dangers of over-tourism. He emphasized that cultural tourism is for the people, by the people, and of the people, initiating a dialogue on achieving a balance between protection and development.

Sustainability and Heritage Preservation: Insights from Junhi Han

Junhi Han defined sustainability as benefitting both individuals and the community with minimal negative impact on the ecosystem. The conversation pivoted around striking a balance with government policies, managing the capacity of heritage sites, and reducing the carbon footprint.

Preserving Heritage Accommodations and Houses: Abha Narain Lambah’s Perspective Abha Narain Lambah highlighted Bengal's rich cultural tapestry with 117 recognized festivals and emphasized the importance of authentic experiences that carry memories and history. She stressed the significance of creative walk-throughs to preserve heritage accommodations.

Importance of Public-Private Partnership: Sujit Banerjee’s View Sujit Banerjee underscored the importance of public-private partnerships for maintaining and developing heritage sites. Recognizing Bengal as a leader in policy-making, he, along with other  panelists, emphasized the crucial role of tourism management, raising awareness, and fostering innovation.

In conclusion, the panelists concurred on the pivotal role of public-private collaboration in sustaining Bengal’s cultural and heritage treasures, calling for a delicate balance between development and preservation.

SESSION 2: From Mountains to Mangroves: Bengal’s Natural Delights

The second session of the Bengal Business Summit, aptly titled ‘From Mountains to

Mangroves: Bengal’s Natural Delights’, featured a panel of industry leaders with diverse expertise.


Raj Singh:

CEO & Founder, Anantra Luxury River Cruises.

Souvagya Mohapatra:

Managing Director (India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka Operations) at Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts.

Rohan Mittal:

Group CFO, Yatra Online Limited.

Gp Capt Jai Kishan Sisondia:

Principal, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.


Aashish Gupta, CEO, FAITH.

Unlocking Bengal’s Natural Tourism Potential: Insights from the Panel Moderator Aashish Gupta commenced the session by highlighting Bengal’s diverse natural gifts—mountains, water bodies, and expansive forests.

Leveraging Water Bodies: Raj Singh’s Perspective

Raj Singh emphasized Bengal's significant advantage in natural assets. He shared insights from the world of cruises, citing economic capitals generated through evening cruise parties and Sunderbans day cruises. The introduction of a tourism jetty was also mentioned as a notable addition.

Mountain Tourism and Conservation: Gp Capt Jai Kishan’s Vision

Group Capt Jai Kishan painted a vivid picture of Bengal’s mountains, highlighting the uniqueness of Kanchenjunga and the region being the breeding ground for red pandas and snow leopards. He stressed the need for waste management, responsible tourism, and the sustainability of local communities, concluding with the tagline ‘exploring the unexplored’.

Heritage Infrastructure: Souvagya Mohapatra’s Insights

Souvagya Mohapatra, offering a hotelier's perspective, emphasized the government’s role in developing tourism destinations through projects. He advocated for marketing initiatives such as roadshows, engagement with bloggers and influencers, and the power of storytelling and human resources.

Digital Transformation for Tourism: Rohan Mittal’s Recommendations

Rohan Mittal underscored the importance of digital marketing, emphasizing content creation andm distribution as crucial elements for West Bengal’s tourism development.

One-Liners for Bengal Tourism Improvement:

Raj Singh: Build basic infrastructure.

Souvagya Mohapatra: Target the international market.

Gp Capt Jai Kishan: Improve connectivity.

Rohan Mittal: Embrace digital media.

The session concluded with a collective vision for the enhancement of Bengal’s tourism, combining infrastructure development, global marketing, improved connectivity, and a digital- first approach. The insights provided a roadmap for unlocking the full potential of Bengal’s natural wonders.

SESSION 3: MICE Tourism – A Strategic Outlook

The MICE Tourism session at the Bengal Business Summit brought together key figures in the industry, shedding light on West Bengal’s endeavors to position itself as a hub for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism.


Debashis Sen:

Managing Director, WBHIDCO & Chairman, NKDA.

  1. Pattabhi:

Airport Director, NSCBI Airport, Kolkata.

Amaresh Tiwari:

Vice Chairman, India Convention Promotion Bureau.

Atul Bhalla:

Vice President Operations North & West, ITC Hotel India.


Rudra Chaterjee, Chairman – OBEETEE, Managing Director – LUXMI TEA.

Insights from the Session:

Moderator Rudra Chaterjee commenced the session by unveiling a new brochure for business tourism in West Bengal, showcasing the significant progress in infrastructure.

Promoting Business Tourism in West Bengal: Debashis Sen’s Perspective

Debashis Sen emphasized the vast infrastructure available in West Bengal for hosting large meetings and conventions. He stressed the importance of attracting international clients and engaging in exchange tourism to boost business tourism in the state.

Demand and Strategy for Conventions: Amaresh Tiwari’s Insights

Amaresh Tiwari highlighted the significance of having a plan and strategy for meeting the demand for conventions. He emphasized the collaborative nature of MICE tourism, being about sharing knowledge and conducting brainstorming sessions.

Hotel Infrastructure and Strategies: Atul Bhalla’s View

Atul Bhalla acknowledged the immense progress in hotel development in West Bengal. He emphasized the need for effective marketing strategies, large-format events, retreats, and the importance of pitches and bids to provide a comprehensive experience.

Kolkata Airport Developments: C. Pattabhi’s Overview

  1. Pattabhi provided insights into Kolkata Airport’s developments and challenges. He reported a gradual return to pre-COVID occupancy levels, with new infrastructure projects underway to increase occupancy by 2033-34. Plans for direct connectivity flights to Europe and the USA were also discussed.

Maintenance of Convention Centers: Key to Sustainability

Debashis Sen stressed the importance of maintaining convention centers, suggesting revenue generation through cultural programs. Amaresh Tiwari concluded with the need for a roadmap strategy and proposed the establishment of a MICE tourism fund at the state level.

Public-Private Partnership and Marketing Recommendations

Atul Bhalla suggested focusing on good quality hotels through public-private partnerships and effective marketing strategies to bolster West Bengal’s position in the MICE tourism sector.

In summary, the session outlined a comprehensive strategy, emphasizing infrastructure development, collaborative planning, marketing initiatives, and the crucial role of cultural programs in sustaining convention centers for the growth of MICE tourism in West Bengal.


The Bengal Business Summit 2023 was not merely an event; it was a symphony of ideas, a convergence of expertise, and a vision for the future of business in the vibrant state of West Bengal. Across three dynamic sessions, the summit explored the multifaceted aspects of Bengal’s economic tapestry, from cultural heritage and natural wonders to the strategic realm of MICE tourism.

In the realm of cultural and heritage trails, luminaries from diverse backgrounds illuminated the significance of preserving Bengal's rich legacy. The panelists brought forth insights into the restoration of heritage accommodations, community engagement, and the delicate balance between protection and development. The session underscored the potential of cultural tourism not just as a historical journey but as a catalyst for economic growth and community empowerment.

Transitioning to the natural wonders Bengal boasts, the summit delved into the untapped potential of its mountains, water bodies, and forests. Visionaries in the field highlighted the economic benefits of ventures like river cruises, the unique offerings of Bengal’s mountains, and the strides made in hotel infrastructure. Their recommendations paved a path towards sustainable development, emphasizing responsible tourism, community engagement, and digital transformation.

The session on MICE tourism unveiled West Bengal’s strategic initiatives to position itself as a global hub for conferences and conventions. The panelists, representing key sectors like airports, hotels, and convention bureaus, outlined the progress made and the roadmap ahead.

Discussions touched upon infrastructure development, marketing strategies, and collaborative efforts to meet the evolving demands of the MICE tourism landscape.

As the summit drew to a close, it left behind a blueprint for Bengal’s economic future—a future that embraces its cultural heritage, harnesses the potential of its natural treasures, and strategically positions itself in the global business arena. The call for public-private partnerships, sustainable practices, and innovative marketing echoed throughout, signifying a commitment to a holistic and inclusive development model.

The Bengal Business Summit 2023 was more than a gathering of influential minds; it was a testament to Bengal’s resilience, adaptability, and its unwavering aspiration to carve a niche on the global economic stage. The ideas shared, strategies proposed, and collaborative spirit displayed during these sessions are the building blocks for a future where Bengal’s business landscape thrives, inviting the world to explore, invest, and partake in the journey of its economic resurgence.



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