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Creating a Travel and Tourist Friendly Society

Kshitiz Thakur | New Delhi

Travel and tourism has always been a key industry for any country as it not only brings foreigners but also brings foreign currency. International travel and travelers have continued to be an important contributor towards a country's industries and economy. And rightly so, many countries have taken huge steps to create a tourist friendly environment, yet many more have yet to do something concrete about it.

Tourists travel to countries visiting various places in larger or lesser numbers, for their own personal reasons or for a country's tourist attractions. Every country has its own tourist destinations and tourist attractions; cultures and traditions, and at the same time has their own people, societies, and law & order. Now, how mutually respecting are any country's people and law & order are says much about its environment and how friendly can the society be towards tourists.

Yes, inbound travel and tourism are not the primary, and certainly not the only, yardstick for any country, still it is something through which the world and its people can look at you and evaluate you. And this is an industry which contributes towards a country's GDP and creates revenues and millions of jobs. So, there are circumstances which are being created or which can be and should be avoided with our efforts, and there are areas where, with proper efforts, we can make favorable environment for visitors. These are actions and efforts that can make a country more tourists friendly. Proper law and order and society cultural top the list of such efforts.

Every country has law and order, but how effective and how friendly and helpful any country's law and order is, becomes the important parameter. Law and order not only for the tourists but also in general for all has to be considered. This is because if a country's laws are not people friendly then it could be quite difficult to imagine these would be favorable for the tourists. By friendly we mean how relevant they are in today's time, how are these executed and how well they represent the current society behavior and culture.

Also, every country is but a large and diverse society. So, as a society we need to be reflective, respective and responsible. It is not that in the current age of information and internet any of us is unaware and un-connected with the rest of the world. Still, as a society we need to understand the fact that we are a part of a larger society which is the world, having so diverse cultures and people. We all touch and influence each other's thoughts, behavior, lifestyle, as people and certainly as societies. We need to respect each other and each other's cultures, value, behaviors, likes and dislikes, again, as a person and as societies. This will create a very positive environment for our own citizens as well as for the visitors we have from different countries or societies.

We need to inculcate the law abiding and respecting behavior in our societies. This would be the first thing a tourist would be looking for. Even if a tourist does not knowingly prefers a place with law abiding people, the image of such disciplined behavior surely creates a positive impact. People need to be aware of tourists as a whole and learn to take them as part of the society, even as they come and go. They could be made to feel responsible towards them as they should be made to feel responsible towards the other citizens. And, yes we have to accept that there would be always be some lawlessness around. For this we need to have proper laws and right kind of people or force which would implement it. As for the tourists, we need to show them that we welcome them, we have laws and we have people dedicated towards ensuring the safety, security and comfort of tourists.

Making laws is not enough, is never enough and never could do the job until they are executed well enough and effectively. This is the more humane part of the law and order situation of a country and in fact represents the society more rather than the law and order. The police and people responsible to maintain order in the society should be proactive and at the same time understanding and polite, and as they need to look at the people they are dealing with. They need to be sensitive to those people. Certainly they should not be feared, except by the law breakers, but instead they should be looked up as friendly help. They should be approachable, available and clearly seen.

And, when it comes to tourists, it becomes all the more important that the presence of the police is clear and visible. This is because of the fact that apart from maintaining law and order, their other critical responsibility is to constantly make the tourists or the visitors feel at home, make them feel secure and safe.

Having highlighted the importance of law and society, the need for information and its availability is another critical aspect. If as a society you respect other citizens and visitors, and you have lot of respect for the law and order, but if tourists in general are not aware of these aspects of yours, it would not help. In the same way, that the country is so diverse in culture and rich in natural beauty but the world is unaware of it, you cannot expect tourists flocking to that country. So, dissemination of information is critical. This involves marketing the positive aspects and attractiveness of your destinations. This also involves making available a whole lot of information for the ease of the tourists. It is about making the right kind of information available at the right place and which is also easily accessible.

Tourists are, after all, like very important and sensitive group of customers. A country needs to show and deliver their commitment towards tourists' needs, issues and their safety & security. It needs to understand that it is every country's responsibility to make the tourists feel comfortable, safe and at ease during their visits and every country needs to make constant effort towards providing a friendly environment to the tourists, as this is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process of evaluating and delivering.

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