Challenges Faced by Tourism Industry in Providing a Mutually Beneficial Scenario for Both Tourists and Local Businesses
(i) Problems in the private sector
(ii) Problems in the public sector
Private sector plays an important role in providing facilities to the tourists. It has hotels/guest-houses in all major tourist centers and it is natural that all these wish to earn maximum profit.
Obviously, in such a service-based sector only profit-orientation cannot work and thus leads to numerous problems quite similar in nature as faced by the public sector units. Hereunder an effort is made to highlight on some of the problems that the private sector faces:
Quality of Accommodation:
1. It is commonly observed that barring in the five-star hotels, the regularity of air-conditioning and air-cooling facility in the hotels is by and large not up-to-mark.
It was observed that even in a two-star hotel air-conditioning facility is irregular. This is, in fact, a common complaint against a majority of hotels.
The question that arises here is that if this is the situation with the star class hotels in the state what better can be expected of the other class of hotels.
2. Most of these hotels do not provide for hot and cold water beyond a certain time. This always gives a bad taste to tourists and keeps them away from such hotels.
3. It is also commonly observed that the moment a tourist reaches at the Bus Station, Railway Station or Air Port, middlemen for Hotels etc. mob tourists like a honey bee and try to influence his decision.
These people sometimes tell a lie to the tourist that the hotel where he wants to stay has no vacancy or is taking higher charges whereas the hotel that he proposes is cheap and the best.
These trends make a tourist scared of the place itself and he does not dare visit the spot again. These trends are observed everywhere but they are particularly serious at pilgrim centers.
4. Sometimes even travel agents do not give full and correct information to tourists. They fail to satisfy tourists about reservation of tickets, train and plane timings and other travel facilities.
5. Hawkers are another source of embarrassment for foreign tourists. These hawkers mob tourists and try to sell junk to them. As the tourist realises this fraud he is permanently unhappy with the place and the people.
Guides and Guiding:
1. It is commonly observed that none of the hotels, barring a few five-star ones, provide any facility of guides. Even if they do provide in some cases, these guides suffer from language problem.
This leads to cropping up of unauthorized guides who work as hawkers. These then mislead the tourists with little knowledge or wrong facts regarding the monuments.
2. Another aspect emerges from this problem is of inadequate facility of guides. It is the absence of proper maps and guiding material.
The Department of Tourism, which is responsible for bringing in authoritative maps, does not do so regularly. Most of such material is old and outdated. This compounds the problems of the tourist.
Transport and Package Tour:
1. The private operators provide for daily tours and package tours at various places. Most of these tours are conducted primarily for pilgrims.
The pilgrims and tourists, however, complain of many problems that they face during such package tours like inadequacy of lodging, impolite behaviour of the tour managers, lack of time-discipline, insufficient time for sight-seeing, heavy charges, non availability of good guides, etc. These are enough to cause serious problems to any tourist.
2. Transport is the backbone of successful tourism. In fact, tourism development is based on the development of transport facility.
Therefore, more buses and package tours are needed to boost tourism; however private tour operators are not able to do so due to lack of funds, license or registration problem etc. This casts its shadows on effective development and management of tourism.
Besides, there are certain problems which the people managing the infrastructure encounter affecting the discharge of their duties. Some such problems are illustrated below:
1. Most of the hotel employees suffer from lack of motivation; they feel that they are not adequately paid. This affects the quality of their services.
2. The problem is further compounded when some management obtain their signatures on more amount than actually paid to them. Demotivation is the only logical result and ultimate victim, of course, is tourist.
3. Most of the employees of majority of hotels are inexperienced and raw hands. Managements prefer them because they ask for less salary. But, ultimately these people neither benefit the organisation nor do they serve tourists in a professional manner. Here too, both management and tourists remain unsatisfied.
4. It has been observed that in some of the non-starred hotels anti-social elements occupy a lot of time and space. Their presence and behaviour together with hotel employees’ helplessness creates a lot of problems to tourists who either do not wish to go to such hotels or leave them immediately.
5. Even the cooks and waiters in these hotels are ill-trained. They are neither able to prepare choice food nor serve it properly.
Tourism is now an industry, yet, it has not been given its due nor has it been properly classified as to what facilitation will be given to this industry. Most of the aforementioned problems are faced by middle-class hotels who are neither able to charge exuberantly nor are able to sacrifice quality.
The five-star hotels on the other hand, do not face any such problems and they are working satisfactorily. However, a deeper probe reveals that some facilities are not available even in these hotels. For example some such hotels do not have package tour facility nor do they provide for sight-seeing. At some places air and rail reservation facilities are not up-to-the mark.
Thus, it is clear from the above account that although private sector has enough potential to develop tourism to newer heights, it has certainly not received matching support from government.
The schemes that exist are not applied or only partially applied. The entire system is under the grip of red tapism and suffers from severe bureaucratisation and hypocrisy.
So long as middle level structures are not developed, mass-tourism cannot take place and all attempts to boost tourism will become superficial.
The role of tourism in economic development, in removal of unemployment will remain a distant dream if private sector does not get enough promotion.
The basic responsibility of providing accommodation to tourists in public sector but at most of the places the facilities provided do not match with the facilities required. Moreover, they suffer from a number of problems and handicaps, some of them are listed below:
1. Most of the tourist bungalows do not reflect their regional specialty and their upkeep is far from satisfactory. This makes the stay of tourists uncomfortable.
2. The public sector has failed to recognise the importance of dual-rate policy, i.e., one for peak season and the other for off-season. Already charging higher rates, the tourist bungalows become highly unpopular during off-season.
3. At all tourist stations, as against one Government Tourist bungalow, there are a good number of private hotels offering equally good facilities at lower rates.
4. The Government accommodations do not have any extra facility to attract tourists nor are they given any encouragement in this regard. This is why they are at an unequal position vis-a-vis private hotels which try their best to attract tourists.
5. At most of the places, as the tourist comes out of the airports, railway station or bus station, there is no one to tell him as to where the government facility exists. The counters opened for the purpose on some tourists stations do not function satisfactorily.
To conclude, one feels that accommodation units in the public sector are not functioning properly. There is also a problem of too much job security which has made their personnel defiant and unprofessional.
In most of the cases it was observed that their personnel do not bother about tourist needs and do not behave in courteous manner. Since the higher officials are also non-professionals, the removal of their problems also faces bureaucratic solution. These units are not mentally prepared to take on the market.
Food and Breakfast:
Tourism is a dynamic phenomenon. Therefore, it attracts tourists from all places. These tourists when out of their homes aspire for only two things: comfortable stay and good food at reasonable prices. This is unfortunately not happening Government owned hotels and tourist bungalows. An observation of some hotels revealed that firstly, the rates of food items are higher in Government owned hotels; secondly, the quality of food is not good and thirdly, the regional specialties are not given in many cases.
Transport System And Sight-Seeing:
Although package tours, conducted tours, sight-seeing and daily tours are important part of tourists services, public sector units are seemingly not aware of it. In most of the units such facilities either do not exist or exist in an unorganised manner.
However in most cases they too suffer from lack of time-schedule, discourteous behaviour of our operators, and non-availability of deluxe buses. The other problems are as follows:
(i) In most of the cases, rail and air reservation facilities are non-existent giving a lot of problems to the tourists.
(ii) The facilities of entertainment are also inadequate at most of the places. It was found that in some cases where people tried to present local tradition-based cultural programmes, the officers did not support such ideas.
(iii) Most of the tourist hotels/bungalows are situated at inconvenient places which face tremendous problems including that of security.
(iv) It is commonly observed that the room tariffs that these hotels/bungalows charge are too high for a middle class tourist. Keeping in mind that domestic tourists outnumber foreign tourists, these hotels/bungalows fail to attract them.
(v) Like room tariffs, the rates of eatables in Government hotels/tourists bungalows are comparatively higher. It goes even higher because public sector imposes sales tax/ service charges/surcharge also. Naturally, tourists do not want to make use of these facilities and prefer to eat elsewhere.