NEW DELHI: The upcoming Commonwealth Games will not boost the country's tourism industry but will instead have an adverse impact on the sector, claims a report released in the Capital on Tuesday.
Bangalore-based research organisation Equations (Equitable Tourism Options) in its report “Humanity-Equality-Destiny? Implicating Tourism in the Commonwealth Games-2010” says the Government's assertions that the Games will promote tourism are not correct.
Equations' chief functionary Rosemary Viswanath said the Government's claims were not backed by any conclusive study.
“There is no evidence that mega sporting events increase tourism. Mega events have little to do with bolstering tourism, and in fact can have a negative impact. The Ministry of Tourism in asserting the need for 40,000 rooms in Delhi for the Commonwealth Games has been singularly lax in ensuring the quality of its research or data.” The report says that while 39 prime properties have been auctioned by the Delhi Development Authority for the construction of hotels to meet the demand for CWG, only four have been completed so far and 13 have not even been started.
“People who come for regular tourism are not interested in the Games and vice versa. There is no real data to support the claims. Even after the 1982 Asian Games there was no major boost to tourism,” she said addressing the media.
The report says the Government has neglected to consider the “aversion factor” that most cities that host such mega events have to face. “While the Government is spending Rs.250 crore on the promotion of the Games abroad, it has to realise that most tourists to the city do not stay in starred hotels but in low-cost ones,” said Ms. Vishwanath.
She also expressed concern that the Games would make the women and children more vulnerable to trafficking and abuse.
“Since the country has no rule against child sex abuse, our worry is that there will be more instances of trafficking,” she said.
The report also blames the Government for not involving debate at any level of governance of the implications and consequences of the decision to host the Games. “The talk of sports for all seems far-fetched, while the National Games have not been held since 2007. The sports policy in India has not been able to move towards the vision of sports for all, and prioritise the development of sporting culture and facilities at the grassroots,” she said.
Echoing her views, Miloon Kothari, executive director of Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) and former UN Special Rapporteur, said promises that the Games will boost jobs, infrastructure, tourism and make the city world class are all proving to be exaggerated.