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Change for the Better!

Monday, October 9, 2017, 16:26 Hrs  [IST]

Hospitality Biz once again proved right. In this same piece last month, we predicted a change in the helm of Tourism Ministry. Prime Minister picked a relatively political novice, a bureaucrat-turned-politician from Kerala, to drive one of his key ‘Ts’ for the remaining part of his tenure. The selection surprised many including incumbent himself as he expressed it publicly in so many words. However, the change was really warranted and augured well for the Indian tourism. Whatever success Indian tourism achieved so far is because of some maverick ideas of few bureaucrats. No political head at the Tourism Ministry ever made his or her personal mark in the last 10 years, other than reading from the same script given by bureaucrats every time. Therefore, an ex-bureaucrat with proven administrative acumen as a Tourism Minister is an ideal choice for the job.

Even in his early discourses as a Minister, he sounded different than his predecessors, and shown his temperament to call a spade a spade. That attitude might have ruffled few feathers, but that is Ok! His statement in Kochi that tourists are people with spare money and should be ready to shell out some extra taxes which the country require to build infrastructure had provoked many, but he stood by it, unlike political class who make statements and then retract meekly afterwards. He also took potshots at the way tourism and tourism destinations are managed in destinations of international acclaim like Kumarakom, Munnar, with scant regard for basic facilities like good roads, toilet facilities, etc. It was not a political speech to score a point or two, but a hard fact, which I myself learnt the hard way when I travelled from Cherthala to Kumarakom by road the very second day. There was hardly any road to call by that name for kilometers together, which people and vehicles trudge to reach that destination which is trumpeted as a role model for Responsible Tourism.

Changes are always good if it is for the better. But there are people and groups which do not like changes to happen at any cost. Self-interest and vested interest guide them and they want to cling to the positions at one pretext or the other. The recent happenings in the apex body of hoteliers, FHRAI, points to such a parochial mentality. A group within the Federation wanted to delete a clause in the constitution which prescribed certain tenure for an EC member in the Federation. But for an alert group of right thinking people who moved NCLT and gotten a stay, their designs would have succeeded at the AGM. Whether it is the nation or an association, fresh blood should be allowed to get into the leadership of the system to make it move with the times. Unfortunately, in many associations, people like to rot in the leadership than give way to next generation!

P Krishna Kumar
Assistant Editor

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