Puducherry beach hailed as a model in helping pedestrians

The idea of closing the beach to vehicular traffic to ensure that the pedestrians have a place to walk is not seen in too many places in India. The Puducherry model is one that should be emulated by cities across the country, Ralph Wahnschafft from the United Nations Head Quarters said.

The idea is that if something is your main attraction, you should be able to fully experience it without hindrance of traffic. By closing the beach in the evening and opening it only at night, the visitors to the beach are able to walk around and enjoy themselves fully, he told The Hindu on the sidelines of the International conference on Contemporary Research in Tourism and Hospitality at Pondicherry University on Tuesday.

Sustainable tourism is the ability to preserve the social, cultural and ecological identity of a place, while at the same time being able to promote tourism. For this to happen, a number of different stakeholders need to come together and appreciate the importance of various aspects of a destination that go together to make a place what it is. Each of these aspects has to be carefully preserved without affecting the other. It is this delicate balance that is important, he said.

The idea of sustainable tourism has to come through with every decision and policy made. Only then will the tourism begin to improve.

The idea is that tourism brings revenue, and this revenue will encourage investors, providing work opportunities for the locals. At the same time, the cultural and the social identity of the locals needs to be maintained and respected. All this requires planning and control, which will not be possible without cooperation, he said.

Speaking at the function, Manjula Chaudary from the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management said that the IITTM is working together with the students of various colleges across the country to conduct projects. These include one that studies the use of social media for promotion and the perception of India by foreigners, she said.

The conference has been organised by the Department of Tourism studies, Pondicherry University, in collaboration with Bournemouth University, United Kingdom and Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM), Gwalior. Over the course of four days, the participants will discuss various means for the way ahead for tourism research, head of the Department of Tourism Studies Y. Venkata Rao said.

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