Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What is Ailing Our Tourism?

We have taj, we have tiger, we are not once ancient and modern, we taught the world religion, maths and peace.
We are the world’s largest democracy and the second most populous country. Yet in tourism we rank only fifth in the world. Countries like Australia, New Zealand and Brazil are more preferred destination. Why? What is ailing our tourism? Why do we have peaks and valleys in tourist influx and income, one tourism season after the other?
Well, we don’t have to go far to seek them. Look at the stink our country is. We are perhaps the stechiest nation. More than stench, the tourists are put off by red-tapism, corruption and insecurity. If foreign tourists are to be raped or assaulted, fleeced or looted or even murdered, who would risk coming to India? Beggars, transport troubles, drugs, under-developed tourist facilities knock the life out of tourism paradise our country is, according to the tourist pundits. Who would like to travel to India to taste its crime and grime along with its curry and spices, who would like to return home with mementos of shame and disappointment?
If India is to regain its place in world tourism, we will have to make a reality check and immediately purge the industry of all its ills. It is true we need to foreign exchange, but we need international tourist smiles and satisfaction too to sustain ourselves as a world’s tourist destination. We haveto improve tourist infrastructure and facilities too. Monuments must be saved from denigration through graffiti, garbage and inscriptions. Our holy places need o be spruced up. And most importantly we must tap the vast potential of domestic tourism, too.

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