Australian Tourism rides Kolkata’s iconic tram with Raima Sen to promote their country in India

NITN | @notintownlive | 20 Jun 2024, 02:13 am

Australian Tourism rides Kolkata’s iconic tram with Raima Sen to promote their country in India Australian Tourism

Kolkata/NITN: “When we used to go to school, we would take a ride on the trams without telling our parents,” said Indian actor Raima Sen, sharing her memory of the now fast vanishing streetcars of Kolkata.

She was speaking at a promotional event in the city which aimed to showcase Australia’s diverse attractions and foster a deeper cultural connection between Australia and Kolkata, leveraging one of the city’s iconic symbols—the tram.

Over several years in the past, Australia has been taking significant interest in the trams of Kolkata, especially trying to foster a bond between Melbourne (Australia) and Kolkata (India).

As part of the tourism promotion, the Australian Consulate-General in Kolkata, in collaboration with the West Bengal Transport Corporation, decorated a one-bogie tram to highlight the natural beauty and other attractions of Australia.

This special tram was decorated with photographs of Australia’s stunning destinations, including pristine beaches, the majestic outback, and its vibrant wildlife.

A figurine of a kangaroo stood at the bottom end of the coach. 

Even the floor of the coach was covered with images of the marine fauna.

According to Hugh Boylan, Australia’s Consul General in Kolkata, Indian visitors played a major role in helping Australian tourism to recover in the post pandemic phase.

“Indian arrivals to Australia in the past year numbered more than 410,000,” he said, “the highest ever visitor arrivals from India in any year.”

He also said that there are now about one million people of Indian heritage in Australia while Punjabi is the fastest growing language spoken at home.

“This tram showcases just some of what we have to offer – and I hope it will encourage more people to come and say G’day and visit Australia,” said the Consul-General.

Also present at the event was Dr. Saumitra Mohan, IAS, Secretary, Transport Department, Government of West Bengal.

Unfortunately, with the mad rush of photographers around actor Raima Sen (who obliged all with a dazzling smile and pleasant demeanour), there was hardly any opportunity to discuss either about tourism in Australia or about the future of the trams of Kolkata.

The decorated tram then travelled on the Esplanade-Shyambazar route, with Muntajir Alam as the driver and Ram Swarup Singh as the conductor, both employees of the department with over 30 years of experience.

Reporting by Uttara Gangopadhyay, Images by Avishek Mitra/IBNS


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