With its new terminal, Delhi quietly continues preparations to welcome the world
Wednesday 30 June 2010
With all attention focused on South Africa as the World Cup edges towards a nail-biting finish, India is quietly preparing to host its own global event.
This weekend on July 3, the country will unveil its largest-ever airport terminal, ahead of the Commonwealth Games which take place in the country October 3 - 14 and are expected to attract over 100,000 visitors to India.
Authorities have been working feverishly to ready the infrastructure for the event after the Commonwealth Games Federation reported in 2009 that delays posed a "serious risk" to the games.
Last year, Indian Tourism Minister Kumari Selja told a tourism conference that her department was working to ensure that adequate accommodation is in place and existing infrastructure and services were spruced up ahead of the expected influx.
The new INR 127 billion (€2.24 billion) terminal at Delhi Indira Gandhi is set to be the eighth largest terminal in the world, offering a capacity of 34 million passengers per year and 78 aerobridges, the most of any terminal worlwide.
The structure is built on eight levels and features over 6 kilometers of conveyor belts, 89 travelators (or moving walkways) and 48 immigration counters to get people from touch-down to exit within the stated target of 45 minutes.
The most critical question for Indian tourism may be what to do with all those visitors once they've arrived - although India boasts the second-fastest growing hospitality market in the world, it still suffers from an undersupply of rooms and therefore, high prices.
International chains are doing their best to rectify the situation by building hundreds of new business and leisure hotels across the country, with Hilton, Marriott and Carlson all recently unveiling ambitious plans to significantly boost their presence in the country.
The Commonwealth Games (http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org/) will take place in Delhi, October 3 - 14.
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