People from all parts of the globe today recognise India as a strong and upcoming nation. However our country will always first be known for its topographical and cultural diversity. An fact the tourism industry is just beginning to capitalize on.
INDIA IS the land of cultural mélange and religious diversity. These very factors that have lead to numerous communal riots, wars, bombings, and other terrorist activities, are finally being put to better use. This is the first time that the tourism industry is trying its hands at celebrating our rich cultural heritage and traditions and asking people to exercise these innate strengths to do well economically.
‘Atiti devo bhava’ is one such initiative which asks the people of this nation to understand their origin and to express and exert their differences, both religiously and culturally, in an attractive and inviting manner so that people from the outside get smitten by the beauty of our land and its people. ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ involves a seven point programme in hospitality and training.
It is an attempt by the government of India to train individuals in a manner that helps them serve as catalysts to the tourism industry. It is in one manner influential in making tourists comfortable in ‘once upon a time, the land of snake charmers’, India. It’s a process that aims at attitudinal change of Indians towards tourists. We have heard of tales when tourists have been exploited, young foreigners being raped and killed, and many cases of fraud and robbery. This programme aims to eradicate such issues and instill a sense of responsibility that we all must have toward those visiting us and those trying to understand and appreciate our culture.
Taxi and auto drivers in the capital have been given special training sessions so as to teach them how to behave themselves once we have visitors in the country especially due to commonwealth games. Though it sounds as a superb initiative, how many people it will affect on the whole, is what needs to be seen. These sessions of training have limited seats which are categorized on first come first serve basis. Hence only a fraction of the population would be able to benefit from it, but the government promises that incase it’s a success, the programme would continue nevertheless.
To add the so called ‘star’ value to their campaign, the government roped in idol Aamir Khan for the promotion of their initiative. Known to stand up for the right causes, Aamir agreed and tried his bit to help the cause further. These ads that we see on the television all have a simple message that is put across as lucidly as ever so that the common Indian can understand the worth of foreigners who visit our land. Not many would know that a visit/entry to the Taj Mahal in Agra costs an Indian a mere R.s 30 , but costs foreigners many times that amount. They are charged roughly about Rs. 700/800. Similarly, Humayun’s tomb ‘s ticket costs Rs 10 for an Indian but Rs. 350 to a foreigner. Many would agree with me when I say that there are some markets that run and sell stuff keeping in mind only foreign customers. People who work there should actually worship tourists but sometimes end up fighting or arguing with them. We must all realise that one unpleasant trip to India can actually become a great disadvantage for our folk men. Hence for a better India and a better tomorrow, we need to start behaving ourselves from today. Government’s initiative is highly appreciated. It is hoped that this action would be put to use in its true spirit and that it shall grow and spread to each and every nook of our country. Jai Hind!