labels: tourism, advertising/branding
Incredible India bites into Big Applenews
24 September 2007

India is seemingly the flavour of the season at the world''s financial capital, New York.

The four-day celebration, branded as "Incredible India @60", hails the 60th anniversary of Independence of the world''s largest democracy. The event was kicked off in New York over the weekend.

The blitz features billboards, ads on buses, and a mammoth display on the Nasdaq semi-circle facade in Times Square.

"This is an endeavour to create awareness and build a brand of vibrant India," said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of the Bharti Group and president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which is the co-organiser of the event along with the ministry of tourism.

CEOs of world leading corporate houses are expected to participate in the programme. On the co-organisation of the event, Mittal said, "This is another example of public-private partnership helping in building a nation."

"It''s a lot more than that. In the past, India was always trying not to lose. Now, we''re telling the world India is here to win. We''re trying to change the mindset here," he added.

This high-decibel campaign orchestrated by the tourism ministry and CII that began on Sunday 23 September and will go on till Thursday.

New Yorkers and visitors to the Big Apple can choose from a mix of events including a potpourri of culture and business.

Cultural events include a repertoire of Indian music, including performances by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Colonial Cousins and Remo; dance recitals by performers from across India; Bollywood-inspired shows led by Saroj Khan; food festivals, and fashion shows by Indian designers like Ritu Kumar and Wendell Rodrigues.

Amidst the festivities are conferences sprinkled across the day, which attempt to let the world know why India is a great place to invest in.

The first event rings in on Monday with Ratan Tata leading a group of Indian CEOs into meetings with their American counterparts, to explore possible areas of collaboration between Indian and American companies, and would preside over a meeting of the Indo-US CEO Council to be held in New York.

The next few days will see seven ministers and 30 CEOs from India, mingle with the crème-de-la-crème of American business and policy makers, participating in 41 events, 13 conferences, nine cultural performances, three dinners and seven receptions, according to Nilekani.

Indian overseas affairs minister Vayalar Ravi inaugurated the campaign, stepping in for external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee who was held up at the UN meet.

The scale of the campaign is unprecedented, and this message is simple - "experience India", says Nandan Nilekani. He added that India has come of age, and is today the fastest-growing free market economy, with a 9.4 per cent GDP growth, $475 million worth investments in infrastructure, with a young workforce of over 500 million people, and is the fastest growing telecom market in the world.

Members of the government, captains of industry, and cultural icons showcasing India''s best are scheduled to leave New York wanting for more by the time the even concludes on Thursday.

Estimated to cost around $10 million, half the event''s cost will be borne by the Indian government, with the other half shared by corporate houses, Nilekani disclosed.

The event is to heighten awareness about the changing face of India, rather than pull foreign investment in to the country.

The campaign is timed to coincide with a session of the UN General Assembly in New York this week.

Events are spread all over New York, though Bryant Park, Pier Sixty, Lincoln Center, and South Street Seaport would host the lion''s share of them.

Over a 150 artists are travelling to New York to perform a series of cultural shows, folk dance and music, classical dance and music and contemporary dances from India films. Also in attendance are some 2o of India''s best chefs for the food festival at South Street Seaport, flown in by the Tourism Ministry in association with the hospitality industry

The National Geographic Channel will also host a photographic exhibition entitled ''''Incredible India by Steve McCurry.''''

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Incredible India bites into Big Apple