Kolkata: The authorities should focus on constructing well-maintained toilets beside highways to boost tourism in India.
This issue was raised by a speaker at a seminar on travel and tourism here.
"Amenities available on highways towards and at various tourist locations and en route need to be improved for better tourist inflow. These include drinking water, well maintained and clean toilets," Bengal Buddhist Association secretary Bhikkhu Bodhipala said.
Besides, there should be lounge, cafeteria, and parking facilities, among others, Bodhipia added.
He was speaking at the Travel India, a seminar and Exhibition on Travel & Tourism organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce yesterday.
"In meetings with the cultural and tourism ministry we have repeatedly asked them to please make toilets on Indian roads," he said.
Citing examples, Bodhipala said there is not a single toilet on the 500-km long stretch of GT Road from Kolkata to Bodh Gaya, or from Kolkata to Allahabad.
Travellers in groups generally avoid taking train routes finding it expensive and road travels are on the rise these days because of improved road conditions, he said.
"You will find toilets at petrol pumps at regular intervals abroad. Presence of well-maintained washrooms in those countries make travelling on roads comfortable. But in entire India toilets are absolutely absent on roads," he said.
In contrast, even if one finds a roadside toilet in India, its taps will be leaking, floors will be filled with filth and water, he said.
Asked how the situation could be addressed, Bodhipala said it should be a public-private-partnership (PPP) model stressing on the hygiene factor.
"It has to be a PPP-model. But we have to concentrate on the hygiene factor as well. If we want our tourism to be competitive, we need to address these issues," he said.