Saturday, July 13, 2013

How can Incredible India's image refurbished?

A trip to Europe is a learning experience, provided you are totally open minded and free to move as a commoner.  A visit to any of the cities is a pleasure as the technology and well-oiled system makes your visit a sheer pleasure, and suddenly you realise, what a great amount of efforts that our country needs to put such systems in place.
Whether it is traffic, visits to the monuments, or simply travelling on European roads, makes one wonder the extent of systematic communication that has been put in place for hassle-free movements.
I often wonder what our delegations from various departments, be it sports, tourism, or even municipal councillors do when they visit abroad. I'm sure with all their baggage of VIP mindset, chaperoned visits to various places, and pampering meted out to them being the official guests, no learning can happen for them.  And it has not, of course.
Our monuments are not only least preserved but infrastructural support is missing.  Information for the visitors is scanty.  Signage and direction signs are scare.   And top it all, the people manning the information desks are either missing or simply not interested in helping out.
Private public partnership for manning tourist destinations, sight-seeing tourist buses, information counters, is perhaps the best answer that Europeans have found it the most successful model, especially when we as a country intend to present to the world, 'Incredible India', and when even many state governments are vying to have a pie of tourist inflow and foreign investment.
The key to success of any such campaign lies in integrating a completely sustainable system of communication, which involves :
a. What you see: How well maintained our tourist destinations, roads and other public places are.  How do they look in the day and at night. Have we taken care of lighting them up?  And what about the public behaviour of waiters in the restaurants whose personal hygiene is at its worst.
b. What you hear: People's experience matter the most. There are numerous travel advisor websites that carry people's impressions.  Are we doing something to follow and respond to negative imaging? When a visitor reaches India, what does he/she hears?  Are the people at every contact point ready to interact intelligently, empathetically, ethically and professionally?
c. What you smell: Many of our public places have those most-neglected corners in the buildings which are extensively used yet sparingly cared for...the toilets.  The smelly toilets right at many airports (thankfully Delhi is good), to various tourist places is a bane for the visitors.  And the same holds true for many of the hotels and restaurants.
d. What you taste:  Tasting has many connotations. Some experiences would leave an irreperable taste.  But most eating joints, the service in the offices and other public places, especially street food, requires strict hygiene norms.
e. What you touch:  Right from the railway compartments to bus shelters, transport buses, taxis, and railings make a traveller smirk at the years of sweaty soot that one hates to touch.

These may be small pointers yet the true Incredible India image is a distant dream, because of the lack of training, information, and the systems.  The PR practitioners in each of the cities need to look into those small little things that need to be transformed, and provide professional support to the government as well as private sector, to refurbish this image which can conform to the values 'Incredible India' intends to create in the world.

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