Wanted: Improved infra-bility

The second edition of InfraConclave witnessed the presence of distinguished panellists deliberating over the loopholes in tourism infrastructure. TRAVTALK sought opinions from industry stakeholders…

Anupriya Bishnoi

Raj Rana, Chief Executive Officer—South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group

In India, we have almost everything including mountains, beaches, heritage, spiritual tourism, etc, but you cannot enjoy all this sitting at home. You must move from point A to point B and that’s when the word ‘infrastructure’ comes into play. Convenience and cost are the two chief aspects of infrastructure. If you cannot travel quickly from one point to another at a reasonable cost, the entire purpose of the word is defeated.

Rattan Keswani, Deputy Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels

Everything in the ecosystem is about doing business and getting the result. If in the right location, the land cost is going to be 60 per cent of what you want to do, it’s never going to happen. There is a huge market in Tier-I and Tier-II cities. We have been searching for an opportunity in Varanasi for a decade, but we haven’t found it yet. Unless we shed certain idiosyncrasies related to travel, the progress rate will be slow.

Mandeep Lamba, Managing Director—Hotels Hospitality , JLL India

Despite the status of tourism and hospitality in the country, the government still enjoys the revenue it gets out of these two sectors. Yet, in every budget, I sit with a magnifying glass to find the word ‘tourism’. There was just one time where the Prime Minister mentioned about tourism as one of the pillars of economy and everyone in the industry was jumping with joy, but I don’t see much happening post that. Also, we must get safety and security in place. The last six-seven years have been a disaster in that front.

Bhupesh Kumar, Managing Consultant, Tourism and Hospitality

I have been hearing, “India is a country with huge tourism potential” for a very long time, but the potential still hasn’t been realised. India is a huge country with its own set of challenges and dealing with all of them in one go is challenging. So, I feel, if we take one city and involve the entire spectrum of safety, environment, etc, there is a possibility of immense growth; that model of the city can inspire others too.

Ashish Gupta, Founder, Strategy Pluto & Consulting CEO, FAITH

Around five years ago, India ranked 58th in the world in tourism; today it’s ranked 40 according to the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 by World Economic Forum. This is despite India having one of the best natural assets in the world. We have not been able to monetise our natural assets like a lot of other countries. As the third largest domestic tourism market in the world, their lies an immense potential.

Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality

A tourism infrastructure strategy without the critical human capital requirements is never going to succeed. The experiences of such infrastructure seen at new airports or toll expressways or rehabilitated monuments are still very ordinary. Perceived as a light weight ministry politically, the tourism industry has never had the budgets or the aggression in its leadership to push through the benefits of the enormous contribution it makes to employment and GDP.

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