This will be the first time India has hosted the Common Wealth Games and only the second time the event has been held in Asia (Kuala Lumpur in 1998 was the first).
It doesn’t seem long ago that India’s reputation as a destination and a growing and vibrant culture was planting itself in people’s minds. The famous film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and the ‘Bollywood’ industry brought the country ideas of glorious India full of colour and culture, alongside its raw earthy heritage, which most likely enlightened people’s mind about the country. The Indian Tourist Board created the ‘Incredible India’ campaign with an accompanying website IncredibleIndia, and used celebrities from Bollywood to help promote the area, for example; King Akshay Kumar.
This little appreciation that the country seemed to gain has vanished in an instance. The criticism they are receiving for the disasters leading up to the Games will damage their reputation for holding world-class events in the future.
Headlines are over bound by negative comments and images of the site where the Games are due to be held.
Recent reports to the BBC show representatives blaming cultural differences for the criticism received by countries pulling out of the event. From a BBC report (22 Sep) Lalit Bhanot, secretary general of the Delhi organising committee said: “Everyone has different standards about cleanliness. The Westerners have different standards, we have different standards,”
This difference in cultural ideology has brought problems for the Games, alongside the structural building work deadlines which have also impacted the world’s perceptions on the event. India will have to make sure they come out strong from this experience, otherwise this event will impact their future as an international destination, a business destination, a tourist resort and a future attendee and especially a host for further world events.
I will be watching closely to how the Games commence.
Common Wealth Games Delhi http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org/