Monday, September 27, 2010

Negative CWG publicity has hurt tourism: Selja

The negative publicity about the Commonwealth Games has affected the prospects of tourism, Tourism Minister Kumari Selja said Monday.

"We are fully prepared to host the Games and our people are monitoring the Games venues round-the-clock to address any inconvenience," she said on World Tourism Day after signing a pledge at Hotel Ashok here.

The "negative publicity" of the Games Village has hurt tourism prospects, Selja said. Travel and tour operators feared that this would hit tourist inflow.

The minister urged the media to stop negative publicity and asked the people not to have any misgivings about the Oct 3-14 Games.

We should present a positive face to the tourists together and forget the negative publicity," she pleaded.

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), a premier travel and tourism
grouping, has warned that only 10,000 tourists would visit India during the Games.

"We have lost a lot of potential business owing to delays by the authorities in completing the venues and meeting other deadlines. We are very disappointed," Rajji Rai, president of TAAI, told IANS

Until June this year, 2.63 million foreigners had visited the country. In 2008, 5.28 million tourists came to India, compared to 5.11 million in 2009.

Selja said her ministry has ordered an inquiry into complaints about furniture imported from China at the Games venues. The ITDC was in charge of the furnishings at the venues.

We have owned responsibility for the flaws, she said. The irregularities have been sorted out."

The mood at The Hotel Ashok, where the minister addressed the media, was festive.

The premises overflowed with visitors, Commonwealth delegates, contingents from the member countries, piles of baggage and more than 100 young Games volunteers -- mostly students attired in Commonwealth T-shirts and caps -- manning the flow of visitors.

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