Delegate attendance at conferences in India could be doubled if bureaucratic hurdles were removed, according to one of the country’s leading academic conference organisers. Professor Ran Pal Tandon of the University of Delhi heavily criticised both the Indian government and local consulates during a question and answer session at the 7th Conventions India Conclave in Noida, just outside Delhi.
Professor Tandon called for a ‘single window’ system to handle delegate visa applications rather than what faces him now - up to three ministries to get clearances for foreign delegates. “And the local consulates are also doing a lousy job,” said Prof. Tandon.
“I organise on average one conference a year and it is a nightmare. I am made to feel I am doing something wrong by organising a conference. Very often I invite leading scientists to take part and they cannot attend because of the problems caused. We could double attendance if we could remove this obstacle.”
Sarab Jit Singh, managing director of of Travelite (India) added: "A small step at a time is not enough to remove the bottlenecks that are holding back our target of 20 per cent annual growth in meetings business to India. The visa issue has been raised with government on many occasions but nothing has changed. One of our hosted buyers could not attend this event, despite visiting the embassy seven times! We cannot expect our delegates to be running from pillar to post any more."
The 7th Conventions India Conclave is staged during the same week as ITCM by the Indian Convention Promotion Bureau.