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London and Delhi strengthen tourism ties

A partnership agreement was signed by Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone and Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi to further enhance ongoing cooperation between the two cities. The agreement was signed at the Chief Minister’s office. This builds on the friendship agreement that London and Delhi signed in 2002….

A partnership agreement was signed by Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone and Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi to further enhance ongoing cooperation between the two cities. The agreement was signed at the Chief Minister’s office. This builds on the friendship agreement that London and Delhi signed in 2002.

At Rajiv Gandhi Chowk, one of Delhi’s foremost public spaces, the two cities also broadened their relationship through the signing of a tourism Memorandum of Understanding, in front of a 14 metre high replica of London’s Big Ben.

The Memorandum of Understanding which will bring closer working relationships and boost tourism between both cities, was signed by James Bidwell, Chief Executive of Visit London, and Dr Kaul, Chairman and Managing Director of Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation Ltd.

Recent figures show Indian visitors, to London are the biggest spenders from any Asian country. In 2006, for the first time, Indian visitors spent more than those from Japan – £152million by Indian visitors compared to £134 million by those from Japan.

The Mayor Ken Livingstone said: “This celebration of Delhi and London’s partnership through the signing of this new agreement and the tourism Memorandum of Understanding demonstrates our commitment to work together. I welcome the economic, social and cultural opportunities that these new ties will bring to both capital cities. The cities have a growing amount to learn from each other in the fields of transport, environment, planning and the features of city development. Tourism is a vital part of London’s economy. Last year 230, 000 Indians visited the capital and in the future this number will grow rapidly. We want more Indians to come to visit London and see the huge number of attractions that the capital offers. Likewise, I hope that many Londoners will choose to visit India to see the many cultural offerings that we recently showcased during our recent India Now celebrations in London.”

Shelia Dikshit said: “I am very pleased to welcome Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London to Delhi. Both cities have worked closely together since the signing of the friendship agreement in 2002 which is why I am delighted that we are building on that relationship through the signing of the city to city partnership agreement and the tourism Memorandum of Understanding. London and Delhi are linked together in many ways from business to culture to history. In the future both cities face common opportunities and challenges from hosting great sporting events to combating climate change. I am sure working together our shared experience will only benefit our two great cities.”

Visit London’s Chief Executive James Bidwell said: “As two great world cities, London and Delhi attract visitors from all over the globe. We also share the unique excitement of staging major sporting events that have the power to transform our tourism industries – the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. There has never been a better time to join forces as there will be much opportunity for collaboration and shared learning between us over the next few years.”

Dr Kaul said: “I am delighted to be involved in this important agreement that will bring our cities even closer together. With our growing tourism opportunities in Delhi with three UNESCO approved World Heritage Sites, Delhi is becoming a fast growing tourism destination for India. We can share as well as learn a great deal from a long-established visitor destination like London. I look forward to developing ever closer ties between us.”

The Memorandum of Understanding between the cities will be reviewed on a yearly basis.

Attendant at the signing were:

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London
Shri Arvinder Singh Lovely, Minister of Tourism, Government of NCT Delhi
Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of LOCOG
James Bidwell, CEO Visit London
Dr Kaul, Chairman and Managing Director of Delhi Tourism and Transportation development Corporation ltd

The signing of the Partnership Agreement was attended by

Mr Narayan Swami, Chief Secretary, Government of NCT Delhi
Mr Rakesh Mehta, Principal Secretary (Power), Government of NCT Delhi

The partnership celebration took place as part of the Mayor’s official week-long visit to India entitled “London and India: Partners in Globalisation”, to promote London as a destination for business, tourism, studying and creative industries and to strengthen relationships between London and India.

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