Saturday, January 02, 2010

Tourist Discrimination

On my break, in late last December, I went to a museum and the palace of the Mahratta kings in the rice-bowl of Tamil Nadu. I saw a notice board at the entrance that touted two different rates for entrance, one for a local tourist (Indian) and another for a foreign tourist. I am appalled and shamed at this dichotomy. I don't think why one would want to do this and this is nothing but stealing. I have seen this at other places as well. The foreigners don't get anything more than what I get for the additional money they pay.

I did see a fair crowd of French tourists who had their own tour guide explaining the architecture and sculptures around. I did feel happy on seeing an Indian lady guide/interpreter who was explaining things patiently in French to another group.

The other racket I generally see is for usage of a still camera/video-camera at tourist sites. Ridiculous charges for something that should be allowed as a part of the entrance fee itself!!! How do I get charged for my camera phone, which is technically a phone, but with a decent still camera and can function as a video camera as well? Also there is the temple apartheid, which would make for a high-rant post.

अतिथि दॆवॊ भवः (Athithi Devô Bhavaha). So much so for our guests, God and equality! We can definitely do better than this. Mmm...

Note: I have changed the title from "Tourist Apartheid" to "Tourist Discrimination" since the term apartheid seems to rile folks.


Srivats said...

Tourism in India is like a beautiful child locked inside a iron cage and malnourished, so much to offer to the outside world and all they do is find ways to gatehr few more bucks.

But the foreigner and indian ticket difference is there in many countries not just India. The camera thing is rediculous though.

chennai girl said...

Its only the foreigners who visit those forts and museum in large numbers. Namba aalunga verum pairs mattum thaan paarkalaam.
Btw, read somewhere that India's tourism promotion got an award last yr :)

RamMmm said...

@Srivats - True, and we better start with cleanliness and awareness. Everywhere on a tourist spot, we scribble with rocks, pens etc with names and quotes and there is the plastic mess.

I have not been exposed to the dual charges at least in USA, Canada, but wherever it is, that is a form of discrimination.

@chennai girl - We have monumentally wonderful places to get to and appreciate, and not just pairs :-). We have been marketing our tourism pretty well outside India. The brochures are eye-catching, esp. the Incredible India series. A lot of times, it is cocooning the exposure to only certain areas and to a certain level.

gils said...

as long the money goes for the maintanence and stuff like tht..i dnt mind this dual charge...let it be even more for the foreigners..never mind..make it more attractive to the natives..thts more impt..we are fast forgetting our own history...and as for the dual rates..i think our tourism rates are THE cheapest compared to outside world..but yeah..there it mite be same for everyone..but cmon..we are "developing" world rite..if u care to spend somuch to come and visit my country..better shell out some more to see the beauties :)

RamMmm said...

I do agree to the fact that the tourism rates (read entrance charges) are amongst the cheapest in the world. Well our per-capita output is also low. (Also note that some of our hotels almost out-rate the charges for staying in some posh hotel in downtown New York :-))

If you want to dual charge, do so, but with an explicit explanation on the same. That would be tourism with some degree of grace. Otherwise I still consider that a form of apartheid, whatever color we want to paint it.

We better clean up our mess internally before we talk about others. We thrive on layers and layers everywhere.

zeno said...

To call it apartheid is lil far fetched!
Consider in terms of PPP, they pay less than what we pay :)
Reg Camera Mobiles, they are watchful that we dont snap using mobiles!

RamMmm said...

@zeno - I used the term apartheid to define discrimination. (No racial connotation) I have updated the title of this entry to reflect that.

It can always be argued both ways. For $1 you get something useful in US. Here for Re.1, you won't even get peanuts. :-) Well, the economic imbalance is always a hot topic.

zeno said...

enna neenga one rupee pathi ipdi sollitinga :) neenga sivaji padam paklaya :)

RamMmm said...

நான் சிவாஜி மாதிரி இருந்திருந்தா இங்க எதுக்கு Blog எழுதிக்கிட்டு இருக்க போறேன்? :-)

Swaram said...

Sigh! The other nations r dng so much to attract tourists and here we r, hv sooo much in abundance, but nt providing it for the public :(

N I agree with u .. we cn def. do a lot better!

RamMmm said...

We do things to attract tourists, but the common man doesn't stand a chance. :-(

Hope we do better! All we do is hope. :)