ICONIC 2023, the premium event of RedHat Communications, was recently held in collaboration with TV9 on Thursday, March 23, 2023 at the ITC Maurya New Delhi. ICONIC is an initiative that brings together the worlds of Luxury, Travel, and Hospitality and beyond. It is both a forum for discussion as well as a stage to recognize the stalwarts of the huge value chain from the Tourism industries.
ICONIC 2023, which was supported by various Travel & Hospitality bodies, saw a great industry turnout of tourism stalwarts who networked and interacted and also gained recognition. The ICONIC FORUM kickstarted at 10:30 am with 3 Panel Discussions and a keynote address scheduled by an eminent board of business leaders and thinkers, who discussed and delved on trends in lifestyle and luxury that are impacting the travel and tourism industry. The Knowledge Sessions were focussed on Tourism in Mission Mode; Techourism | Feasible or Fashionable and MoT’s Visit India Year & India’s G-20 Presidency. Eminent panellists included Mr. Aashish Gupta, Consulting CEO, FAITH; Mr. Abinash Manghani, CEO, WelcomHeritage; Mr. Praveen Iyer, Co-Founder & CCO, Akasa Air; Mr. Shrikant Wakharkar, Area VP Hyatt Hotels, North India; Mr. Bishnu Prasad Mohanty, COO, Travel Union; Mr. Lokendra Saini, Chief Operating Officer, EaseMyTrip; Mr. Parveen Chander, Executive Vice President – Sales & Marketing, IHCL; Mr. Sunil V.A., Regional VP – ISC & APAC for Oman Air; Mr. Arvind Yadav, Chairman, Haryana Tourism; Ms. Anju Choudhary – Regional tourism officer, Uttar Pradesh Tourism & Ms. Geetika Sharma, General Manager, Delhi Tourism.
In her opening address, Mrs. Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI; Founder Red Hat Communications and the force behind ICONIC 2023 said, “The 5th ICONIC Forum, which is taking place after a hiatus of 3 years, couldn’t have taken place at a better time. The Travel and Tourism has grown by leaps and bounds and Indians today are looking for more immersive experiences. The travel sector has witnessed a major transformation over the past two years, especially during the pandemic which has been a huge learning experience for the industry at large. The pace of this transformation has been rapid more than ever. In the past few years, a few ancillary industries have emerged to contribute to the travel industry’s evolution, skill development and growth. It is also heartening to see the Government taking special interest in the tourism sector and looking for tourism with convergence. I am confident that tourism figures, across all verticals within the industry, will cross the 2019 mark by the end of this year.”
The Guest of Honour and the Keynote Speaker on the occasion was Hon Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism & Lands, Government of Sri Lanka, who had flown in especially to attend the event. “Travel, over the years, has proven to broaden our horizons. It turns us all into explorers. Thus it is an essential aspect of our existence. Sri Lanka in the last few years has braved many storms and come out a winner each time. This time will be no different. India is an extremely important market for us and we will do all in our power to restore the traffic flow between the two countries,” he shared.
Also gracing the occasion, Shri Ajay Bhatt, Minister for Tourism, Government of India highlighted how the pandemic offered a unique opportunity to people to visit and take a trip within their own country. “The short videos made under the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative by the Ministry of Tourism played an instrumental role in encouraging people to explore their own country. India has lots of hidden destinations and in order to boost tourism, there is a need to promote and develop these hidden treasures of our country,” he added.
The interactive and insightful Forum discussions in the first half of the day paved way for the glitzy, glamorous and classy event – the ICONIC AWARDS in the evening. Studded with the who’s who in the travel fraternity, the occasion registered a massive turn out of travel and tourism industry professional and had many highlights to it. With a balanced mix of achievers from tourism as well as other sectors, the ICONIC Awards evening was Luxury personified in every way possible.
Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary, Union Ministry of Tourism, the Guest OF Honour for the evening noted that the travel industry is expected to grow multi-fold in the coming years. “Events like these can bring focus on the strategies and ways to improve the average spends of people coming to India and promote wedding and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism in the country, which augur well for the future growth of the travel industry.”
The panel discussion that took place in the evening focused on ‘Tourists Soaking in Luxeperiences’.The Special Speaker & Panellist for the event included Secretary Tourism, Govt. of India, Arvind Singh; former H.E. Ambassador of India, Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa; Nakul Anand, Executive Director, ITC Ltd; Principal Commissioner, Income Tax Mumbai, Rupinder Brar; Vice President, Emirates, Mohammad Sarhan; Nguyen Thanh Hai H.E. Ambassador, Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; seasoned journalist and acclaimed author, Vir Sanghvi to name a few.
The ICONIC Awards were handed over in the following categories –
ICONIC Private Charter Services – FORESEE AVIATION
ICONIC Airline of the Industry – OMAN AIR
ICONIC Sustainable Tourism State (Domestic) – GUJARAT
ICONIC Excellence of Heritage Traditions in Hospitality – WELCOMHERITAGE HOTELS
ICONIC Excellence in travel to Vietnam – VIETNAM AIRLINES
ICONIC Customer Delight International Airline – EMIRATES AIRLINE
ICONIC Growth in Capacity and Routes – INDIGO
ICONIC Emerging Tourist Destination (International) – SAUDI ARABIA
ICONIC Emerging Wedding Destination (International) – BAHRAIN
ICONIC Travel Technology Partners – ITQ- Travelport
ICONIC Travel Platform B2B – TRIP FACTORY
ICONIC Luxury Apartments (Dubai) – Cheval Collection
ICONIC Travel Protection – Insurance ASEGO
ICONIC Luxury Indian Hotel – TAJ HOTELS
ICONIC Business Hotel India – HYATT REGENCY DELHI
ICONIC Luxury Cruises Representation – Royal Caribbean (TIRUN Marketing)
ICONIC Missions & Visa Facilitation – VFS
ICONIC Effective Tourism Representations – THINK STRAWBERRIES
ICONIC Emerging Sustainable Airline Domestic – AKASA AIR
ICONIC Protection of Indian Wild Life, Natural History & Environment – RANJIT SINGH
ICONIC Author & Playwrite – KISHWAR DESAI
ICONIC Adventure of Challenges – AJEET BAJAJ
ICONIC Dance & Cultural Art – PRATIBHA PRAHLAD
ICONIC Films & Journalism – SANDEEP MARWAH
ICONIC Music Composer & Singer – ANNU MALIK
ICONIC Connoisseur & Food Critic – VIR SANGHVI
ICONIC Reinvention of Handlooms & Weaves – SMRITI MORAKA
ICONIC Luminary Woman – RUPINDER BRAR
ICONIC Life Time Achievement Award – NAKUL ANAND
ICONIC Remembrance – Life for Society – Dr. K.K. AGGARWAL
ICONIC Remembrance Travel Tourism & Hospitality – ICONIC ANKUR BHATIA