New Delhi, Oct 11: An annual rally of vintage automobiles, including motorised beauties with royal histories, organised by a private heritage trust may soon be scaled up with government backing to promote India as a preferred motoring tourism destination.
Calling it an "untapped tourism potential", the tourism ministry is currently considering a proposal from the Gurgaon -based trust to support its '21 Gun Salute International Vintage Car Rally' scheduled for February 6-7 next year.
"India had one of the largest numbers of these cars thanks to the maharajas and their love for automobiles. Events like these vintage rallies are a great opportunity to also promote India as a preferred motoring tourism destination, which is yet untapped," Joint Secretary, Tourism Ministry, Suman Billa said.
"So, we are considering lending our logo and 'Incredible India' brand to this event, since through these platforms we seek to bring all like-minded stakeholders under one roof, which would eventually help in promoting tourism and conservation of such vintage automobiles," says Billa.
Madan Mohan, founder of the rally, which began in 2011, says, "125 hand-picked cars" from home and abroad will be the primary attraction of the rally, during which these beauties will be paraded from the Red Fort to the Buddha F1 Racing Circuit.
Mohan who is also the Chairman and Managing Trustee of the 21 Gun Salute Heritage and Cultural Trust that helms the rally says cars both classic and royal -- dating from period 1925 to 1950s besides 50 vintage motorbikes would be the cynosure of all eyes.
"Another attraction would be a controlled speed racing on the Buddha Circuit. Two special Porsche cars, factory prototypes of 1950s vintage, brought from abroad, will race on it with full speed," he says. "And, this year we have truly gone international, with cars coming to participate from countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, the UK, the US, France, Germany, China, besides royal beauties that once adorned the stables of Maharajas in India," adds Mohan.
"Our idea of seeking support of the Tourism Ministry is also to promote India as a motoring tourism destination, which attracts huge number of tourists in some of the other countries," he says.
According to Billa, besides logo support, "the trust has also asked for some fund, we are looking into that as well. Though, we are yet to make it official, but we are also asking other states to come and participate in the rally next year."