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Should Summit County be marketed in India?

Kimberly Nicoletti
High Country Business Review
middle: Purnima Voria
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Purnima Voria showed up to Summit County’s July Summit County Chamber of Commerce mixer wearing a sari as her business suit.

Voria founded the National U.S. India Chamber of Commerce, which promotes economic reform and fosters discussion among the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. companies and the Indian government. Now she’s bringing her message to Summit County.

While at first glance it may not be apparent how India relates to Summit County, a few minutes with Voria sparked people’s interest at the mixer at MWA Designs in Silverthorne.



Voria encourages developers and contractors to buy marble, granite, limestone and other materials from India because of their lower cost. And she wants ski areas to market the industry to young Indians.

Inda has 350 million people younger than 25, and many make six-figure incomes, she said.



“It’s an opportunity to look for vacationers,” she said. “It’s a big fashion for businessmen (and others) to say, ‘We are going to the United States’ (for a vacation).”

As incomes continue to rise, the growing youth market can help support economic growth, she said. She also believes Indians will begin to buy second homes or timeshares in the mountain resorts.

“Certainly I see a big tourist market over there, and I think that would be good to tap into,” said Dillon Mayor Barbara Davis, who met Voria in January and toured Summit Medical Center with her Thursday. “I do think we need to be open to new ideas and tap into our creative souls and see what we can do with India because they’re a prominent country.”



India has lowered its tariffs for industrial goods by approximately 2.5 percent ” to 12.5 percent ” this year, said Voira, whose godfather is the vice president of the country. Meanwhile, India’s $796 billion gross domestic product has increased at a 9.4 percent annual rate, and an open-skies agreement has upped the number of flights between the U.S. and India by more than 60 percent in about a year.

“India is a sleeping tiger that has just awakened economically,” Voria said, adding that exports have risen to 24 percent in Colorado ” a number unheard of before.

“I feel it is an opportunity worthy of our examination based upon today’s economy, which is dependent on world markets and will only grow with time,” said Constance Jones, executive director of the Summit Chamber. “We are fortunate to have someone like Purnima who cares about Colorado and is particularly interested in helping us diversify our mountain economy. She emphasizes that wealth among young Indian people is exploding and attracting them here to ski, buy real estate, sell art and clothing will only enrich our diversity here.”

“If we don’t wake up to needs of India and sell to India, competition will beat us,” Voria said.

Other opportunities

After touring both the Summit Medical Center and Summit County, Voria sees two other major opportunities: movies and medicine.

In terms of medicine, she sees the possibility of nursing positions, which resort towns sometimes have trouble filling, Davis said, being filled by Indians.

In terms of movies, Voria says that India is the world’s largest producer of films, making 900 a year. She thinks Colorado is a perfect filming place, with its scenic views, and with incentives, Indian producers may come to the state.

She even talked to the National Repertory Orchestra about hosting an international music concert, featuring sitars.

“When you educate people to the opportunities available, then they use them,” she said.

After touring both the Summit Medical Center and Summit County, Voria sees two other major opportunities: movies and medicine.

In terms of medicine, she sees the possibility of nursing positions, which resort towns sometimes have trouble filling, Davis said, being filled by Indians.

In terms of movies, Voria says that India is the world’s largest producer of films, making 900 a year. She thinks Colorado is a perfect filming place, with its scenic views, and with incentives, Indian producers may come to the state.

She even talked to the National Repertory Orchestra about hosting an international music concert, featuring sitars.

“When you educate people to the opportunities available, then they use them,” she said.


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