Sunday, March 30, 2008
Indecision at Karnataka tourism booking office
I was at the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation booking office at Corporation Circle, Bangalore, yesterday morning checking out some tourism packages. Since my wife and I are free on Tuesday and Wednesday and our son's exams are over, we thought we'd go somewhere. One of the packages that looked attractive was was Belur, Halebid, Shravanabelagola. It's a one-day trip, starting from Bangalore at 7 am and reaching back at 10 pm. One of our friends recommended it's a good one, and told us to book in advance since there could be a rush.
The person at the counter, though not very savvy and smart, was helpful. After laboriously looking up in the computer he said, "Sir, no one has so far booked for Tuesday. You can book. But we need at least 15 people for the trip. So, your booking will be subject to confirmation. If you book now, and there aren't 15 people, the ticket will be cancelled and the money refunded. Or else, you can call up on Monday and see if the tour is on and then book."
That was a disappointment, more because it left me thoroughly confused. Even though I came prepared to book the seats, I didn't know if should reserve for a trip that didn't seem to materialise. Who would book for a trip which in all likelihood would be cancelled. In this manner, if everyone goes away thinking the trip won't materialise, how would the KSTDC manage to make up the minimum number of 15 tourists that's required for the trip?
A typical case of how something shouldn't be done. Such a response will not help a tourist in anyway to plan his itinerary. If a minimum number of tourists is required for the trip, and KSTDC isn't sure of having it daily, then it shouldn't announce plans for a daily trip in the first place. No tourist will be comfortable with so much of doubt hanging over a plan. They would come forward to book only if they know the tour will happen for sure. If KSTDC isn't sure of getting tourists, restrict the number days of the tour to once or twice a week and publicise accordingly.