Saturday, September 15, 2007

What Tourism Means To Me?

Tourism is Aishwariya Rai who through thick and thin, whether in or out of the country is always promoting herself on the world map. Tourism is a Sania Mirza cut-out standing outside the stadium in France asking soccer fans ‘How about visiting Hyderabad to see me play after this exciting game of soccer?’ Tourism is a Shahrukh Khan poster at Heathrow Airport asking a couple ‘Heading to Spain? Next time try the exotic Taj Mahal in Agra?’ Tourism is Manmohan Singh in the United States declaring ‘Salaam Namaste. India invites you.’ Yes, ultimately we must accept a fact that we visit places when people invite us. We hardly venture into uninviting terrains. If India needs people to visit it then people of India must invite them to India. It is to come out and let the world know that a rocking civilization and a world class genre of people exist here in India. So it all begins with people and ends with people.

Tourism is not simply travel from one place to another. It is an experience that mesmerizes the first time and creates a longing for a second return. Tourism begins at home and should be realized at various hierarchal levels. It is high time that locks between various states are broken. It is when Harbhajan Singh calls out ‘Try Punjab – India’s Asli Tadka’ or Mohan Lal exclaims ‘Kool Bole To Kerala!’ States cutting ice to actually promote themselves within the country, with the inherent idea of people inviting people to their state, boosts domestic tourism. This generates new ideas and events that may become perennial attractions, not only at local, but also at national and international levels. Kerala aptly serves as the best example of this as it ceaselessly promotes itself as ‘God’s Own Country’, eventually becoming a noted tourist spot beyond the realm of the country.

At local level, within states, there should be awareness and maintenance of worth-visiting places. Encouraging local tour operators to organize schemes with tempting offers to travel to people is a need. Enhanced tourism requires impeccable service and indiscrimination. Tourist spot maintainers, thus, should be well-equipped with information, first-aid, etc. knowledgeable guides. Only then people recommend places to friends and relatives that in turn boost popularity of places.

I would visit a place if I have information and recommendation. Government at various levels must send our famous lot across the globe inviting people to our country via available mediums. Tourism, not just as another business, is beyond words extending to actions interconnected with preserving our culture, promoting it earnestly and simply keeping our standards high.

If Malaysia is ‘truly Asia’ and Singapore ‘roars’ and when Dubai offers an opportunity to ‘shop till you drop’, they actually mean it. When India calls herself ‘incredible’, she has to mean it. For tourism is not just another –ism; it’s creating curiosity in things as common as tandoor and surely, tourists will be no longer door (far).

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