I recently had the good fortune of taking a trip to North India for a well deserved vacation. We went to the Golden triangle of Indian tourism (New Delhi - Agra - Jaipur) and were thrilled to have visited them for the sheer grandeur and artistry of monuments from the Mughal era.
However, we were not very impressed with the "tourism culture" that prevails in our country. Every tourist spot in India is filled with teeming numbers of vendors, "I can be a guide" characters and millions of other paraphernalia-toting salesmen and these places were no different. Alas, this behavior ruins the tourist's enthusiasm in the place of interest as he/she is hounded by people of all types to buy products & services at exorbitant rates even when they seem unwanted.
A thought that came into my mind during my trip was the need for "tourism training" and the provision of a no-holds barred choice to the traveler to avail of products/services that he/she desired, rather than being pushed to the wall. However, not all was that bad.
The Golden Temple at Amritsar was a pleasant experience where the visitor was very well treated and provided choices without any compulsion or force. That was so memorable, I really liked the way they treated every guest on their premises.
Given the immense place of pride that India occupies on the global tourism radar, it is high time, we people realize the need to treat tourists with respect for their time and money and for having come to our country without forcing them to purchase our products and services at all times.
Another examples that comes to mind is the USA that has a very professional approach towards tourism. When I was in Phoenix, AZ, I wanted to plan a trip to the Grand Canyon. I was unable to do so due to my work commitments but what impressed me was the standard fare offered by all hotels and tour operators (it was $120 then) and no price wars on this front. That is the level of solidarity that helps promote tourism.
I am sure, we will have that in our country someday.....here's keeping my fingers crossed.