Friday, March 19, 2010

Games Tourist to have new maps for easy navigation

Come October, your search for a toilet in the middle of a crowded street of Delhi may be over.

Expecting hordes of tourists in the city during the Commonwealth Games, Delhi government’s tourism department is planning to come up with various maps of the city, including one that mentions the locations of public toilets. The government will also issue maps of heritage monuments, shopping destinations, tourist spots, nightclubs and other important destinations in the city.

Rina Ray, managing director of DTTDC, said: ‘‘The maps based on the Metro map have been issued as one stop point of information for tourists. Transport and public facilities are the two most important factors for a tourist, which we are hoping to address through these maps.’’

It’s not the only plan up the DTTDC’s sleeve however. According to Ray, the tourism department will be launching its website soon, even as it continues its training programmes for local guides and tour operators. Ray said: ‘‘We are also looking at providing information on a tourist destination like a heritage monument on cell phones.’’

Basically, information about the monument would be available on the helpline set up by the tourism department, which can be accessed with the monument code. Ray said the helpline number would be prominently displayed at all tourist and public areas.

Ideas like these and others came up at the first tourism conclave organized by Delhi tourism for the upcoming Games. The two-day seminar, co-organized by the CII, elaborated on plans by the Northern Railways to renovate the three railway stations in the city and make them ready by August even as other stakeholders like DIAL, tour operators and hotel owners spoke about Delhi’s potential to attract a large number of tourists during the Games.

Chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who inaugurated the conclave, was candid about the role that could be played by the private sector in the preparations for the Games. ‘‘When we go to France, US or Australia, we remember the mannerism of people there... (Similarly) Delhi should be a truly civilized city,’’ she said. According to Dikshit, who handles the tourism portfolio, the government is also planning to set up theatres for cultural events to attract more tourists to the city.

Ideas were in fact freely available as the conclave took off. Danseuse Sharon Lowen spoke about making the experience more hands-on for tourists by getting them involved in the activities.