We always keep common man in mind. We have non-AC buses and dormitories for the people who want to see the places with a small budget.
Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) has been coming closer to the hearts of tourists with wide range of initiatives. It is playing a crucial role in developing and maintaining the tourism infrastructure of the government. Sandeep Kumar Sultania, former vice-chairman and managing director, shared his views before he left for USA to do Masters in International Development Policy in Duke University, a one-year sponsored programme by the Indian government on policy-making.
On talking about the achievements of APTDC during his stint, Sandeep said, “We want to become closer to tourists and brought online booking facility. Earlier, People had to come to CRO office for booking tickets and we realised the culture of booking tickets is changing. Customers were not ready to take the pain of being in the queue and the way forward is to take booking at their doorsteps through online.”
The other successful achievement was the 24*7 SMS call centre. “There had to be interactive mechanism between the customer and organisation. The customer should be able to inform the small complaints to the APTDC. In hospitality industry, the customer complaints may look small but they are very much vital and timely in nature. For instance, a customer doesn’t get hot water from the geyser. It may look small complaint from outsider point to view but it is a big complaint from a tourist point of view. Generally, the complaints were informed to the person who is nearest to the tourist. The organisation was not aware to what extent those problems were solved. All the immediate customer service employees (servers to bus conductors) always give a good picture to higher officials rather than explaining in what is happening in reality.
“The issue was solved by starting 24*7 SMS call centre, where in the customer able to send his complaints by an SMS for unresolved problems. The SMS which tourist sends will go to all the higher officials like ED, DGM and GM and to the respective manager who has to solve the problem. This has brought accountability and created psychological pressure on manager to quickly respond and solve the problem immediately. It is obvious that any time he may get call from the higher officials for which he is answerable. This kind of monitoring helped the organisation to get a step closer to the customer.”
Talking about developing new tourist spots, he said, “The basic duty of the government is to first identify the spot and slowly develop it and expect a return in a long run. The private sector will join and take it forward once the spot gains momentum. The government has a social role and had to run even at losses for developing the property or a new tourist place. For instance, we give stipulated time for a rural property to make profits. If we close the property thinking that it is not generating enough revenues, which will close the tourist spot forever. Once the place is developed, profits will automatically follow.”
“We always keep common man in mind in designing the tariffs. We have non-AC buses and dormitories for the people who want to see the places with a small budget. The margins are always kept low to make it affordable,” he added.