» Beijing Diary »
My wife and I went to China as tourists. Though there is a lot to see in that country, the overwhelming impression left on us was the meticulous manner in which China is nursing its tourist industry. It was a package tour, and we were given a detailed itinerary before we left Delhi. We had to reach Hong Kong on our own and from there the tourist agency took complete charge. When we reached Hangzhou, our first halt, after an overnight train journey, an English-speaking guide was waiting with a placard outside our carriage. He took us to a car and then on to our hotel. Both the guide and the car stayed with us till we left for our next destination two days later. In Hangzhou we not only did extensive sight-seeing, we went to a different restaurant for every meal to get a taste of the variety of China’s cuisine.
We stayed for 12 days, visited six cities, and the same routine was repeated at each place. At Beijing, the guide got delayed owing to some last-minute changes in train timings. A senior official of the tourist agency came to our hotel to apologise and left behind a gift to atone for the lapse. Now, compare this with the plight of a tourist who is swarmed by all variety of touts the moment he lands in Delhi and is plagued by this experience throughout his stay. So, now you know why our tourist industry is doing so badly.