Wednesday, October 5, 2011

COVER STORY Tourism Linking Culture: Internecine Warfare Kills Tourism


Tourism Linking Culture:
Internecine Warfare Kills Tourism

By Zubair Ahmed

Next month onwards tourism is about to kick-off. The industry is gearing up to welcome the new season. The World Tourism Day was celebrated befittingly with an innovative Food Festival and a colourful valedictory function. Moreover, from seaplane to Nicobari cuisine, we are on a discovery mode.
Binay Bhushan,
Director, Tourism
While talking about tourism linking culture, the theme of World Tourism Day this year, it has come to the fore that all is not well within tourism department. A major rift between the secretary and the director has hit the department to rock bottom. The fissures have started to manifest its ugly head. Projects are delayed and there is no proper coordination inside the department. The employees are frustrated and lack motivation.
With just a high flying document, which boasts of many innovative projects, things won't change if there is no attitudinal change at the helm of affairs. It is learnt that Director in close rank with senior bureaucrats has created a North-South divide. It's ironical that while promoting a theme - Tourism Linking Culture, there is a huge disconnect between Secretariat and Directorate.
The Food Festival was supposed to be inaugurated by the Chairperson, PBMC. Suddenly there was a last minute change and the Chief Secretary inaugurated it. And the result was visible. There was a raid by the health and sanitation inspectors from PBMC at the Food Festival venue on the third day.
Although, Abrahum Varickamakal, Secretary, Tourism denied any kind of rift between him and his director, insiders say that the clash is visible in every meeting. In a meeting held prior to the World Tourism Day, all hell broke lose when Binay Bhushan, the Director literally shouted at the Secretary on diversion of some file related with foreign tour at the fag end of his tenure here.
From reliable sources, it is learnt that the Director has been overriding his brief and getting things done as per his whims and fancies with full support from the coterie, he is part of. In such atmosphere, how tourism is going to grow has to be seen. The tourism policy, which benchmarks the Islands with other Island nations, needs to go a long way to reach anywhere close.

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