Inbound Travel

India must introspect on low tourist arrivals: Alphons

KOCHI: “We must give serious thought to why only 8.8 million foreign tourists visit India each year, whereas a famed French art museum alone attracts this many people annually,” Union Minister of State for Tourism K.J. Alphons has said.

It could be because the “proof of the pudding is in the eating”, he said, referring to the dirty and stinking public places which abound in India, reports The Hindu.

“The biggest issue is lack of cleanliness…we are stinking. People must also learn to behave responsibly, be courteous and kind, smile a little more, since visitors always look for happiness,” Mr. Alphons observed. He was inaugurating ICON 2017, a four-day national convention of IATA Agents’ Association of India, at Cherai near here on Thursday.

He lamented that clean toilets were absent at most places in the country, including along highways and roads in Kerala.

“Clean toilets must be built at least every 10 km. Attention must be given to quality of food served to guests,” the Minister said.

Care must also be given to construction of good roads, since shabby roads link many tourism destinations, including those in Kerala. The technology to build good roads is already available in the country…only that it is not being used. Tourists will not come unless a locale has basic infrastructure,” Mr. Alphons observed.

“On our part, we must spread word about India’s heritage, philosophy, and its incredibly-diverse culture which is worth experiencing. Focusing on the plus points is important since countries like the US attract a huge number of tourists despite having a high crime rate,” he added.

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