Is it so that the ‘India’ Indians travel in happens to be different from the country that foreigners visit? It must be so. The differential pricing for foreigners and Indians in popular tourist places like Monuments (Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar etc.), Museums, Temples, World Heritage sites of importance (named by ASI) and other places of national interest for foreign tourist seem to miss the whole point by charging foreigners differently.
For a country that believes in the age-old adage of ‘Guest is God’, the idea of paying a higher ticket fare compared to locals can make one feel like an unwelcome guest. Tourism has been an important sector for Indian economy. It is equally important to attract tourist from different parts of the world. I often find that some of my foreigner friends visiting India dislike paying highly (and differently) as they feel that they are being treated unfairly when it comes to paying for ticket fares at popular tourist sites in the country.
In the US, no matter which nationality you belong to, there is no difference in entry fees to places of national interest for a tourist. I feel that a discrimination of this sort (in India) not only affects the number of foreigners visiting India, but it also reflects badly upon the country’s image as a warm and welcoming nation that believes in the basics of equality propagated by its leaders. India has been a popular destination for world tourist as the travel costs, food and hotels are economical in comparison to tourist visiting countries like France, UK and the US.
India needs to work out a uniform fee structure at tourists’ places of interest that are at par with ticket fare for Indians (locals). Some Indians will argue that the government is not overcharging tourist as the visiting tourists’ currency (especially coming from the West) happens to be strong in India, but then will you change the fare when the Indian Rupee grows stronger? The fact remains that a difference in the ticket fare ends up reflecting upon the country badly and as being unfair in its treatment to foreigners.
What do you think? Share your thoughts with me.