On the cards: crash course in hospitality to take tourism to new heights

A more tourist-friendly city is on the cards. All those who come in direct contact with tourists will get a refresher course on the age-old Indian tradition,Atithi Devo Bhava.

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | Pune | Published: February 11, 2009 3:24:00 am

A more tourist-friendly city is on the cards. All those who come in direct contact with tourists will get a refresher course on the age-old Indian tradition,Atithi Devo Bhava. People like rickshawallas,taxi drivers,hotel industry professionals and the staff at railway employees and airports will be soon trained to pamper guests.

The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has decided to impart the training and the aim is to make them all speak a common language,that of hospitality. The plan will cover the whole state.

The tourism ministry already runs a similar programme,called Atithi Devo Bhava,across the country.

“To boost tourism in the state,we are planning to start the programme at all prominent tourism destinations across Maharashtra. Customer is the centre of the tourism industry. However,this is usually not reflected among the personnel who actually deal with them on a day-to-day basis. As a part of the programme,we are planning to train professionals on the etiquette of customer service,” MTDC general manager Vijay Chavan said.

The final structure of the training will be given a concrete shape soon. Chavan gave an idea what it will be like. “Trained professionals from the industry will give people like those who run the taxi services,employees of small hotels and railway employees,hospitality tips at a common venue where they will be invited. We are planning to start the two-day programme by April.”

Welcoming the initiative,Deepak Pardeshi,public relations officer of the transport body,Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) said,“Such training is essential for image-building. The advantage with local transport vehicles is that the professionals involved are well-acquainted with the city. The programme can make them better guides for the tourists. We have two Pune Darshan buses that take tourists to 21 destinations across Pune. Our guides are trained in three languages. A customer-centric training will make them more efficient.” He further said,“This will also increase the customers opting to travel by PMPML buses for visiting tourist spots and thus draw more revenue. It will be better if the MTDC designs a system to monitor effective implementation of the programme.”

“While local transporters would gain hospitality related knowledge from the programme,hotel industry professionals,who are well-versed with hospitality would add a tourism-centric approach to the skills,” said Kishor Ramchandani,assistant manager,Silver Inn Hotel. “Hotel industry professionals can be divided into skilled,semi-skilled and highly skilled. Such a training programme will bring them on the same platform in terms of knowledge on tourism.”

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