A $500-million ski village project in Manali, a Rs 283-crore tourism hub in Mayapur, a beach resort in Orissa, a cultural project in Rajasthan… All in a day’s work at Alfred Brush Ford (ABF) International — on paper, that is.
The company of Henry Ford’s great-grandson was back in town on Wednesday with more grand plans for India’s tourism industry. The word from ABF International’s B-team — vice-president Alister Taylor and director John Robert Sims — was that the ski village in Himachal Pradesh had already been “initiated”, projects in Orissa and Rajasthan were being “researched”, and the Bengal extravaganza was ready to get off the ground next year.
Going by what Taylor and Sims had to say — largely on the lines of what Alfred B. Ford, or Ambarish Das of Iskcon fame has been saying for some time now — the Mayapur project would be three-pronged, with a village industry park, a tourist hospitality complex and a Vedic planetarium. Each would be on around 20 acres of land and funded through foreign direct investment.
The planetarium will “showcase the ancient cosmology of India”. Ecologically sound, fitting in with the local architecture and a feeling of local ownership and community connection are important for the success of the project, felt Taylor and Sims.