Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Singapore snapshot - 1

Whether on Orchard Road, at the Singapore Zoo or Jurong Bird Park - look left, look right and chances are you willl bump into an Indian tourist. It's kind of strange and ironic then, to see a taxi painted with signage of 'Incredible India' zoom past.

Almost as if to tell us hey, whatcha doin' here?

Trouble is, it's cheaper and easier to fly out of India on a holiday than within the country. Take Kerala - hotels are astronomically priced. Or the North east - costs the same or even more than travelling to south east Asia. And figuring out the logistics is far tougher.

Of course, the "Incredible India" taxi is not aimed at us, but at Singaporeans and other visiting foreigners. "Discover Hong Kong" and "Visit Malaysia" have also taken over taxis, so chalo hum logon ne bhi aath das paint karwa li. Good to see our Tourist Promotion Board making some efforts.

Now if only we could learn a thing or two from all these countries on how to improve the actual India experience. The proof of the pudding for the tourist is in the taxi he hails in India - not the one painted like a peacock in Singapore.

Will there be a day when a first time visitor can expect to land at Mumbai airport and hail a clean, air conditioned cab which does not charge three times the actual fare?

41 comments:

  1. Hi there,

    Given your recent posts about lounge bars ... would suggest you definitely visit New Asia Bar. This is a very nice lounge / club on the 72nd floor of Swissotel with glass walls and a great view. Gets very busy (more fun) after 11.

    Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. i guess i just read somewhile back there as going to be no entries in the blog for 2 weeks ;)
    just kidding ,keep blogging and enjoying yur vacation

    ReplyDelete
  3. it is probably true that we are rudimentary tourism industry, largely promoted by the government and mega-corporates with vested interests in hotel chains.

    The real class, as opposed to conventional wisdom, is brought in when mid-scale enterprises start considering tourism as a serious industry and negotiate with the government for tax benefits, privileges, better transportation and infrastructure in general.

    Not to mention, ofcourse, the taxi wala outside the mumbai airport is definitely acting his own volition not because he is not afraid of the law, but because he can by pass it with a few bucks of rishwat. Now THAT is a choice of the people - a sentiment deeply reflective of how things get done there.

    To be honest, I donot see a problem with alternate systems & working models come up and drive the economy as parallel but smaller undercurrents, when the system at large fails. It is either going to be an air-conditioned cab at fair price regulated by a traffic control board, or a 10-yr old private cab for 5 times the board price as decided by the open market and service providers. we cant have it both ways...after all ! we are a democracy and there is and will be room for as much as yin as there is yen.

    Question is whether we as people of this loved motherland, tend to be disruptive and promote/create/appreciate smaller negotiation systems that work for a few of us or put in even more effort to create one that works for a majority of us - which includes the occasional tourist that shows up to pump in currency into our economy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I suppose one might improve the overall India experience if it was a bit smaller. The subcontinent is inconveniently large for visitors. The geography needs to be abridged.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous2:21 AM

    Got to your page, while searching for a paper...have def heard about you though!
    cabs: hopefully one day we shall have the same, but they would kill the "Indian Experience".
    Do visit shisha bar and zouk while still in Singapore.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous7:19 PM

    Hey Rashmi,

    Just happened to come across this while doing some research. Am currently doing an MA in Media, Communication and Culture in Denmark and London. Have just started a blog today, do drop in when you can...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well, big private players operating call taxi services should take care of that fair pricing model.

    ReplyDelete
  8. //Will there be a day when a first time visitor can expect to land at Mumbai airport and hail a clean, air conditioned cab which does not charge three times the actual fare?//

    In fifteen years !!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. hey Rashmi you are missing a lot of action here in India with the Bidappa and Kumarswamy putras going haywire!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous11:05 AM

    Yeah, I agree that our guys are doing a good job in promoting tourism..but, the way we find vacationing in India quite expensive, I am sure the other East Asian country guys have the same opinion about India. It is quite easy to get a star accomodation there in the range of 40 and 50 $..but in India, I don't think so.. The Taj's and the Hyatt's and et al is in the range of 100..and security.. I don't think we've painted a very bright picture on that front too.

    ReplyDelete
  11. When pigs fly...

    ReplyDelete
  12. hi,
    Rashmi Bansal
    i like ur blog,it to good
    anyway enjoy ur vacation.
    plz visit my new blog
    www.prasadpc.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. wow!!
    but there are some very intersting concepst that the city has used to make things easier..
    lets see and hope mumbai also becomes somewhat towards s'pore'lah soon

    ReplyDelete
  14. I had posted a link for my recent singapore photo blog as a comment to the last post. The link address is now changed to http://1kilowords.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I was in Singapore a few weeks back and spotted the exact same thing...picture here....

    It's really sad how these puny countries with no natural resources and very little heritage manage to woo so many more tourists than a huge country like India.....

    All because of a lack of govt will....

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Rashmi,
    The BW November issue has a survey on 'A peek into the mind of India's youth'. While I was reading that, I noticed the mention of this blog among oft read blogs by youth and I decided to take a peek.
    Enjoyed browsing through it.
    Cheers :)
    www.whileontravel.blogspot.com
    www.paperandrolls.blogspot.com
    www.researchbug.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey rashmi. Guess we can learn a lot from Singapore. A country which was fighting famine at one stage is today a model for quality life. Why don't you tell us more about your experiences in that great country? i had many.. from traffic management, public transport system, attitude of people behind weels, etc etc.

    ReplyDelete
  18. read your article in BusinessWorld.
    Sahi hai... lage raho rashmi ji !

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous3:03 PM

    glad to c u back..more snaps pls..

    sabu
    www.adformula.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hey Rashmi,
    Tis so well said:
    "Incredible India"
    The reality check is worse than Incredible and beyond words :(


    http://contagiousattitudes.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous10:19 PM

    incredible india,

    its an INCREDIBLE thing itself, atleast our sleeping government is trying to do some thing creative.

    Rashmi mam , more snaps please

    ReplyDelete
  22. Well, its like 'Ghar ki murgi daal baraabar'!
    Ask a singaporean and they would want to visit Incredible India, but may not enjoy their own country...

    Ashish.
    iDea Labs

    ReplyDelete
  23. no wonder indians r found everywhere.. It is jus so obvious 2 b having separate community halls in the tiniest of the cities...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi i like ur blog
    visit my blog www.kiran-patil.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks, a very interesting blog
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  26. Dear Friend,
    You are right,
    Indian experience can be improved,
    less corruption and more courtesy and empathy on part of Indians towards Foreigners will generate the good effect.
    www.tekno-world.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. I like ur blog
    http://natures-spirit.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  28. I read all articles written by you in the recent Business World, they are great, i have been hooked to this blog after i read about it in Business World last year. It has been a year and i never missed a post,........ even though some of the articles in BW mentioned your name after the article, i could understand after reading the first few lines, that these observations have been made by you.

    THIS BLOG IS GREAT!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous4:45 PM

    "Will there be a day when a first time visitor can expect to land at Mumbai airport and hail a clean, air conditioned cab which does not charge three times the actual fare?"
    there probably wil, when a cabbie is respected, and gets to live a decent life. as long as development caters only to select sections of the society, there wil always continue to be extortion.

    "Trouble is, it's cheaper and easier to fly out of India on a holiday than within the country. "
    i've never travelled outside the country, but i am still tempted to disagree. it might be easier, but cheaper? i'm not the 5-star kinds, but have managed some decent travelling, and, have managed to have very enjoyable experiences across india at very economical prices.

    about the tourism industry - am not sure, but we wil have to look at other issues like the environment, which always tends to take a backseat. otherwise, it'll only turn out to be more harmful than profitable, looking at it in the long run.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Hi Rashmi,

    I am a regular reader of your blog, though a first time commentor.
    I couldnt agree more with you about the need for Indian Tourism to pull up its socks.

    With due regards to Singapore, they do not even compete in the same league in terms of touristic potential as India. All they have is a 100x100 Km of land, most of which is an urban city. The so called attractions are a bird park and night safari which look soo much mechanised that there is pretty much nothing wild about them.

    Coming onto India, I dont need to start counting about what all we possess that the world would love to see. We have the ice peaks, the deserts, the beaches and god only know what else.

    Its only that we do not know how to market it at all.

    Gosh, let me stop cribbing ...

    Hope you had a lovely vacation.
    Looking forward to more of your Marketing/ analytical kind of posts. :)

    Cheers,

    ReplyDelete
  31. I like your blog
    .Visit my blog
    http://learn-free-jewellery-design.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  32. I agree with 'Genius in the Making aka Pallavi'. She said in her earlier comment (way up, no 5 or 6 out of 32)that the backwardness of the indian cabs is itself unique. But again, that's true only to some extent - it can be a pain in the assto get a tripled,slow, non-air-conditioned ride for a regular citizen.

    But great picture there - did you take it yourself?

    Anyway great blog - and your fan-base is evergrowingly large! Respect!

    Blog on!

    ReplyDelete
  33. hi njoy ur holidays
    http://www.imran-syed.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  34. good question...but we wont have any answers for quite some time...

    www.ouchmytoe.com

    ReplyDelete
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  36. I also have the same concerns about the state of tourism in Orissa(I hope u have visited orissa).It has got the potential to be a major tourist hub in the east coast thanks to exocitic locations n breathtaking natural beauty but the problem lies in promotion n tourism management.Thankfully things r changing for the better but there is still a lot to be done.

    I regularly read ur blogs n I find them informative n interesting.

    Keep up the good work n do visit Orissa.

    Akash MOhanty

    ReplyDelete
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