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Getting Priorities Right

Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 11:03 Hrs  [IST]

It seems our leaders have lost faith and confidence in the legacy of tourism icons in the country. They are in a mad rush to replace them with new ones. The experiment that started on the banks of Narmada is all set to be replicated on the rivers of Sarayu and Kaveri soon, and the fervour has just begun. How many would follow suit is just a matter of time and imagination. The disenchantment with the old icons among the new political masters was evident in their actions of ridiculing them, putting themselves into spots of controversy. The Tourism Minister himself had dumped the city that houses the India's much celebrated icon, the Taj, as world's biggest slum. His UP counterpart didn't find it worth mentioning a word about Agra and the Taj in her speech at a tourism industry conference held recently in Lucknow, but spoke extempore about creating new icons around Sarayu and Mathura.

The Incredible India marketing campaign that runs across electronic and other channels over the Statue of Unity while trying hard to educate Indian millennials about the forgotten leader and his contributions in the making of a unified India, also do remind the skeptics the tourism bounty the project will bring to Indian tourism landscape sooner than later. It seems the Indian leadership is putting all eggs in one basket for the target of 20 million foreign visitors by 2020 as of now which for sure as past experiences have shown is going to miss the target.

This demonstrates where our priorities are when it comes to nation building and actual tourism development is concerned. The day the announcement about the next statue project made headlines, there was news in the inside pages of all leading newspapers in the country, which was from our next door neighbour, China. They have announced another mega infrastructure project which will be one-of-its-kind, an underwater tunnel for connecting two cities in the Eastern province of Zhejiang with a bullet train, which once completed will reduce the travel time by half.

It's anybody's guess which among these projects will make sense for international tourists to visit a destination.

P Krishna Kumar
Assistant Editor

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