“Elections tourism” being offered in world’s largest democracy
Elections in India, always a spectacle. Al Jazeera English / Flickr.com
Elections in India are always a spectacle: loud, garish, in-your-face and never without action. Brilliant idea, this.
Gujaratis looking for opportunities to rake in the moolah are now planning to cash in on the assembly elections in December when foreign tourists flock to India.
Tour operators have decided to turn the once-in-five-years ballot-box battle into an attraction for holidayers by offering them visits to polling booths, interviews with candidates, meetings with politicians and tours to the majestic hall of the legislative assembly and venues of public rallies.
Manish Sharma, chairman of the Gujarat Association of Tour Operators (Gato), told that his counterparts in the Middle East and China have already evinced interest in promoting ‘election tourism’ for which bookings will start after Diwali.
GATO , which has sent a note on the novel concept to chief electoral officer of Gujarat, Anita Karwal, will present the idea at the four-day World Travel Market (WTM) beginning in London on November 5.
According to Sharma, about 110 countries are expected to participate in the London show but the operators plan to woo tourists mainly from the UK, Ukraine, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Canada, New Zealandand Australia.
He said that the colour, noise, controversies, and drama during the polls would take foreigners by storm.
Citing Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s recent tweet that elections were the biggest festival of democracy, the tour operators want to sell the battle of ballots as a festival ‘without interfering with the election process’. ___
(c)2012 the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Distributed by MCT Information Services.