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The Blame Game!

Friday, October 19, 2018, 16:11 Hrs  [IST]

Media is a favourite whipping boy for many in the tourism establishment for India not being able to attract a great number of inbound travellers. They don’t spare any chance to squarely place the blame on media for the image deficit that the country suffers internationally. Try to grill them on any issue or question their outlandish growth stories, these wise men will quickly turn around and try to save their skin by shifting all the blame on the media for all the “negative publicity.” Yes, in a competitive media environment, there is bound to be over zealousness while reporting incidents. But when such things happen, the establishment has the responsibility to engage the media and put across things in the right perspective. Unfortunately, the so-called ‘commanders’ of the private trade and industry who adorn positions are seldom seen doing that leaving the ground for government and politicians to make or mar situations. Sadly, the Commander-in-Chief of the industry, who pointed fingers at the media at a recent briefing by the Tourism Ministry, always believed it is below his dignity to speak or even respond to queries!

And, by the way, it is not the media which compared India’s most sought-after and ‘iconic’ destination, Agra, to a ‘big slum’, it’s not the media which said travelling by road in certain North Eastern states is an adventure in itself, and it is not the media which said Indians do not have hospitality in their DNA like their Asian counterparts, and it is also not the media which commented food offered in Indian hotels are not standardised and requires perfection. Again, it is not the media which spelt out only 2.5 million out of the over 10 million foreign visitors we receive are actual tourists seeking leisure in India; and it’s not the media which pointed out the biggest loss has been keeping tourism away from its long coastline in the name of regulations.

In fact, tourism is one sector in India which is yet to impress the mainstream media for good. Apart from civil aviation, mainstream media usually kept itself away unless some serious developments or lapses occurred in other verticals of tourism. The trade media by and large toes the pro-establishment line and hardly shows the grit to question or even write even a line which is critical of the power centres or leadership of the industry bodies. In the bargain, many lapses go unaccounted or unnoticed in the tourism sector. So be it, excellencies, so that you can continue ‘managing’ tourism the way you want in the future as well!

P Krishna Kumar
Assistant Editor

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