1 lakh tourists for Games. Really?

27 July 2010

NEW DELHI: The official estimates of tourist arrivals and requirement for hotel rooms during the Commonwealth Games are grossly exaggerated, a new research has said. Bangalore based NGO Equtable Tourism has alleged that the bumped up numbers and the projected requirement for tourism infrastructure was just to benefit the real estate and hospitality sectors, which enjoyed tax holidays, discounted land rates and other incentives, in the name of the Games.
The research called ‘Implicating Tourism in the Commonwealth Games 2010’ said, “The official estimates have not dwelled on the crucial issue of the profile of international visitors and why they visit India.”
It said Bangladeshis were the largest number of foreign tourists after those from the US and the UK and that the reason was mostly medical treatment.
“It is likely that business and medical treatment are high on their list of reasons to visit Delhi and sports linked tourism is low,” it said.
The government study estimated there would be 1,39,754 tourists during the 12-day event in Delhi. Around 69,000 are expected to be foreign, while the rest domestic. This estimate is just based on the fact that in 2008, around 63,000 foreign tourists stayed in Delhi in October.
“But the government also did not consider the aversion effect,” said Rosemary Viswanath, chief functionary of the organisation.
‘Aversion effect’ implies the number of tourists that would stay away from Delhi to avoid the Games related hoopla.
“The government seems to expect aversion effect on domestic tourists only and not on foreigners.”
“It is assumed that all tourists will stay in starred accommodation. A major flaw again is not to take into account the differentiated nature of type of accommodation,” the research said.
Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja refused to comment but the Federation of Hotels and Restaurant Associations of India called the research “flawed”.