INDIA. Bengaluru International Airport has unveiled an unprecedented month-long shopping festival, which began on Friday 15 May.

“This is the first time that an Indian airport has hosted a festival of this magnitude,” said airport operating company Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL).

The event was inaugurated by Minister for Tourism and Infrastructure Development, Government of Karnataka, Shri G Janardhana Reddy, at a ceremony featuring traditional folk performances.

Also present were BIAL CEO Marcel Hungerbuehler; Tourism Secretary K Jothiramalingam, Indian Administrative Service (IAS); Managing Director Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation Vinay Luthra; Managing Director Jungle Lodges and Resorts, ND Tiwary, Indian Forest Service.

Minister for Tourism and Infrastructure Development, Government of Karnataka Shri G Janardhana Reddy declares the festival open as Bangalore International Airport CEO Marcel Hungerbuehler (second from left) looks on with delight

The two main sponsors of the event are Karnataka Tourism and Jet Airways. The month-long extravaganza will include regular regional dances and performances.

In terms of decoration, the festival highlight is the placement of a carriage replica of the Golden Chariot [a new luxury train in the South Indian state of Karnataka -Ed] outside the terminal building. BIAL said this is representative of a typical Golden Chariot coach where one side depicts the restaurant area of the luxury train and the other side a typical bedroom with accessories.

Additionally, a stone chariot has been created to represent the Stone Chariot at Hampi [a famous monument at the Vithala Temple Complex in Hampi, a World Heritage Centre -Ed]. This is placed within the terminal and provides dedicated information on the Golden Chariot as well as offering instant booking services for a trip on South India’s first and only luxury tourist train.

This collage captures the vibrancy, colour and culture of the opening celebrations

The common plaza area outside the terminal building has been transformed to provide a glimpse of Hoysala architecture depicting Karnataka’s royal heritage.

A typical village scene has been created to house five Karnataka Government exhibition companies, including Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation; Coffee Board; Lidkar (Leather Industry of Karnataka); Mysore Silks; Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited; and Karnataka Tourism.

Shri G Janardhana Reddy with Marcel Hungerbuehler after unveiling a replica of the magnificent Golden Chariot

These spaces will come alive with performances by hundreds of local folk artists each weekend and are designed as a treat for city dwellers who frequent the airport at weekends during family outings.

Passengers are being offered a host of discounts and promotions involving airport shopping and food & beverage.

Through this shopping festival and the associated partnerships, we will propagate Karnataka’s cultural vibrancy and the various tourist destinations within it
Marcel Hungerbuehler
Bangalore International Airpot

The most attractive offers include shopping for a minimum of IR300 (US$6.25) and receiving a chance every week to either win a free international return ticket sponsored by Jet Airways or a series of trips on the Golden Chariot around Karnataka. Additionally, Karnataka Tourism Industry is sponsoring daily and weekly prizes.

Speaking at the event, K Viswanatha Reddy, IAS, Director, Department of Tourism said: “The Bengaluru International Airport Shopping Festival, being the first ever shopping festival hosted by an airport in India, is a very important development.

“That this is being held in a traditional shoppers’ paradise like Bangalore adds more attraction to it. Even in these times of recession, the number of people who travel is not too low and this will ensure that there is sustained interest among our target groups. The Tourism Industry in Karnataka collectively stands to benefit by targeting travellers passing through one of the country’s iconic airports.”

Girish Nair, Area General Manager – Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh of Jet Airways said: “Airports in India are evolving and going through major changes. This also opens up opportunities for airlines to add value to the consumers by giving them a unique experience while travelling.

“We are very excited to associate with this first mega-airport event organized by BIAL and this international shopping festival was an excellent opportunity for brand Jet Airways to create value for the consumers, thereby adding an interesting dimension to the airport and airline partnerships.”

BIAL CEO Marcel Hungerbuehler added: “Airports worldwide have evolved and are now seen in a different light – they are much more than just travel facilitators. Bengaluru International Airport is in line with this change and is all set to hold its first mega airport event.

“Our intention is to play a significant role in the economic development of the city and the state by becoming a gateway to the South of India. Through this shopping festival and the associated partnerships, we will propagate Karnataka’s cultural vibrancy and the various tourist destinations within it.”

On 24 May the airport will celebrate its first year of operations. Look out for our special report on this landmark coming soon.


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