'Hello! welcome to Ajanta caves'

Jun 04, 2012, 07:41 IST | Urvashi Seth

MTDC to give taxi drivers, rickshaw drivers, guides and restaurant staff who work at various tourist spots lessons in etiquette to help woo tourists coming to the state

The next time you visit a popular tourist spot and are greeted by a well-mannered hawker, do not be surprised. For that is exactly what the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation wants to achieve by offering training to hawkers, vendors, taxi and rickshaw drivers at popular tourist destinations.

According to feedback from tourists, vendors and hawkers in their zeal to sell their wares often tend to bully and even behave rudely with tourists. This behavioural pattern proves to be a deterrent for tourists, and leads to a bad experience and bad word of mouth publicity.

HELLO SIR! MTDC to give vocational training to hawkers operating at tourist spots like Ajanta and Ellora. 

MTDC wants to change that by providing etiquette training to workers in the organised and unorganised sectors of tourism. From “Good morning, how are you” to “Thank you”, MTDC’s training institute wants these words to be incorporated in the vocabulary of guides, restaurant staff, taxi and rickshaw drivers at various tourist sites.

Wooing tourists
According to sources, the department is studying areas where these key people need to be trained so as to woo tourists.

Dilip Shinde, joint managing director MTDC, said “In the tourism industry many workers are not formally trained and are not given any type of training or any orientation programme. The cabbies, autorickshaw drivers, waiters, guides are our brand ambassadors, who are among the first to meet tourists. Hence, we decided to give them some vocational training, which includes etiquette training too.” 

“Ajanta-Ellora has many hawkers operating there, and they tend to haggle visitors forcing them to buy something, which is an irritant for the domestic and international tourists. Hence to make sure that we do not lose out on tourism, we are identifying groups of hawkers, guides at some prominent tourist sites who need training. MTDC will work on helping them develop and improve their behavioural skills and will also provide a formal technical know-how of their profession. An agency will be hired for the same,” Shinde added.

MiD DAY had earlier reported on how MTDC was already studying the behavioural patterns of visitors to the state’s various hotspots. For this, the corporation has hired students of Mass Communication, who are studying and surveying the manner in which tourists act at tourist spots such as Elephanta Caves and Matheran. “During the study it was realised that many local guides and cabbies are not trained well when it comes to their first interaction with the tourists. Hence, offering them training became a priority,” said a source.

Our tourism sector needs such training. Most involved in the tourism sectors are locals of the area who are uneducated. Training will help them woo tourists better, as the first impression is the best impression.
— Nagesh Patkar, a tour operator from Vile Parle

We need to train guides as they are very rude at times with tourists. If they are given etiquette lessons, it will definitely help, and should be done frequently.
Manisha Gaikwad, a frequent traveller

Good Morning
Here's a part of the syllabus improvised by the training institute:
>> ‘Good morning/ afternoon/ evening’
>> Hello Sir/ Madam! How are you?
>> My name is.... I am your driver...
>> Thank you

The training
The training will be conducted for more than two weeks. The Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM), Goa, has been roped in to take this initiative forward. Besides, trainers from other well-known institutes will be deployed. 

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