The Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Culture (Independent Charge) and Tourism (Independent Charge), Dr Mahesh Sharma jointly inaugurated the 8th International Conference on ‘Indian Civil Aviation & Tourism’ in New Delhi. The event was organised by Ministry of Civil Aviation and ASSOCHAM. The conference aimed at holding deliberations on various issues affecting the aviation sector and invite suggestions from the stakeholders to meet these challenges.During the event, a Knowledge Report titled ‘Indian Civil Aviation: At the Cusp of Taking off’ was released by Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Dr Mahesh Sharma. The Knowledge Report outlines the future roadmap for transforming the Indian civil aviation sector through a comprehensive development policy and provides important insights into the civil aviation sector. The awards were also given in various categories such as Best Airlines (International), Best Airlines (Indian) and Best Business Hotel etc.On the occasion, Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that the Government policy acts like catalyst, but everyone has to work together to make it a success. He said that the Prime Minister himself takes keen interest and has held discussions on the draft aviation policy. Speaking on the tourism growth in India, he said that India has a rich heritage and aviation sector can be helpful in promoting the growth of tourism in India. He called upon the industry leaders to work in the direction of taking India to new heights and come up with new ideas. The dialogue and idea-exchange should not stop, he added.Addressing the audience during the event, the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Culture (Independent Charge) and Tourism (Independent Charge), Dr Mahesh Sharma said that revolutionary changes are being incorporated in the new Draft Aviation policy that will be fruitful to the nation. He also said that holistic process should be adopted integrating the culture, tourism and aviation. He said that medical tourism can get a boost if the connectivity in provided via new means such as air ambulance.During the inaugural session, H. E. Gustavo de Aristegui, Ambassador, Embassy of Spain also delivered his keynote address and shared various factors that contributed to the growth of tourism in Spain.Dr B P Sharma, Chairman & Managing Director, Pawan Hans Limited also addressed the gathering. He emphasised upon the inter-state and intra city connectivity through helicopters. He also said that the first heliport of the country is expected to come up in Rohini (Delhi) next year.The inaugural session was followed by various sessions in which crucial issues related to aviation sector like Infrastructure challenges, Cargo and freight Industry, Regulatory Issues, Fiscal framework and potential of Tourism.Machendranathan, Chairperson, Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India, Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India, Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet Ltd and other representatives of the aviation sector were also present on the occasion.