Thursday, September 23, 2010

Survey in UK, Canada shows few headed for CWG

It's not exactly the international endorsement that Delhi was looking for when it decided to host the Delhi Games 2010. In a recent survey by the travel portal TripAdvisor, 93% of the respondents surveyed said the Commonwealth Games 2010 were of no interest to them. More damagingly, a whopping 56.7% felt that Delhi was not the right choice to host the sporting event.

The survey results come in the backdrop of increasing negative public opinion over the way the Games are being conducted. As controversies surround the event, interest over the mega sports event has been steadily going down. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not confined to India, as evinced by the survey.

Said Sharat Dhall, managing director, TripAdvisor India, "There has been a lot of interest in the Games in India. So, we wanted to find out what the international travelling community thought of the Delhi Games 2010, and commissioned the survey."

Conducted over a 15-day period, the survey — which was completed on September 14 and included 635 responses — questioned travellers from the UK and Canada. Both countries are part of the Commonwealth and traditionally have a large number of tourists coming to India for holiday every year.

The survey results are, however, a mix of expected and some outright surprises, admits Dhall. The fact that 93.5% are not interested in coming to Delhi is not the surprising bit, says Dhall, but the fact that a large number don't believe that Delhi is the right choice is a surprise. "The image of the city has taken a beating, especially in the backdrop of the government's inability to project the works it has done to make the city better," adds Dhall.

That's not all. 30% were not interested in the Games while 25% planned to travel to other destinations. Predictably, 14% were concerned about the security during the Games. Bad news for Delhi is that 7% thought Delhi will not offer a great experience. Interestingly, 1.6% — a small percentage admittedly — felt that the pullout by top athletes and sportspersons made the Delhi Games uninteresting. Good news: 10% were planning to come to Delhi, which should cheer up the hospitality sector somewhat.

The silver lining is that a majority of travellers surveyed — over 68% — were aware of the Commonwealth Games being held in Delhi. Also, 54.3% of the respondent were not aware/had not heard about the alleged corruption related to the Games. As Dhall said, "At least, people were aware of the CWG being in Delhi." With both Indians as well as the international community getting disenchanted with the Games, that may be small consolation indeed.

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