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Wednesday, 25 October, 2017, 11 : 15 AM [IST]

Same Old Story!

disha As the debate whether the country is growing or stagnating is raging in the public domain, a similar argument is relevant for the travel, tourism and hospitality industry as well. Is this so-called dynamic industry growing or stagnating in India? One who tracks the National Tourism Awards and the list of recipients year after year would genuinely have this question. Except few changes here and there, majority of the recipients of these awards in the respective conventional categories are the same and repeat. The likes of Kerala, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have been ruling the award list for their initiatives every year without fail. Does this imply that no other state has been able to take the lead on the tourism front? Even in the trade category, the same old story repeats annually. The Abercrombies, TUIs, Oberois, ITCs, Taj, etc., rule the roost at these awards without change.

Another area where the list is skewed is the inappropriate representation and recognition of the North East region. Despite DoNER’s focus on the development of the region and its aggressive approach, it seems no other state except Sikkim has been able to come out of the slumber. Even in terms of the hospitality sector, despite a few private convention centres offering world-class facility, no one has been able to replace The Ashok New Delhi for its meetings infrastructure. The clearly proves that the very will to recognise new talent and innovation is missing from the ministerial level itself.

Considering that the Incredible India campaign has been a successful one, and now on the eve of the launch of Incredible India 2.0, the Ministry of Tourism should look at the very approach of the National Tourism Awards. With a diverse country like India, and the global focus that this market has attracted in the past decade, it only makes sense to ensure these Awards are more competitive and dynamic. Another area that needs attention is the awareness level of these Awards and their relevance. Even today, many players in the business are not aware of the government’s initiative in instituting the National Tourism Awards, and this explains the absence of new entries for nominations. If India has improved its ranking on the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Index, I see no reason in leaving behind the stakeholders in the business who are coming up with new ideas and innovative products. The need of the hour is to create an aura about these Awards so as to create competition among the states. The award should automatically reflect the situation of tourism of that state. A dynamic industry is one which attracts new people, new ideas and concepts. A static industry cannot claim to have reached newer heights, leaving behind competition among its players, especially on a national level.

Disha Shah Ghosh
Chief Sub-Editor
disha.shah@saffronsynergies.in
 
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