Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Marketplaces for Tourism

Sketch plan of existing Russell market precinct

It may be a good time for us to revitalise our traditional bazaars by developing a few bazaar zones as tourist destinations. In order for us to do this, we need to ask ourselves : How does one deploy cultural heritage as a marketing strategy for tourism and retail sectors just so that it heightens the sense of pride in traditional values? What will be the guidelines and incentives for land-owners to refurbish their shops in a bazaar? How can we conceptualise and implement a revitalisation plan of a bazaar that benefits all the stakeholders? What are the views of the tourists, residents, local visitors and the merchants who belong to the bazaar?

In Amsterdam, tourism is so much a part of the market. There are dutch souvenirs everywhere. There are Tulip bulbs packed in delft blue and wooden tulips on sale for tourists. Flower markets in India are primarily for the domestic market. International tourists visiting India do often visit our flower markets, but the markets are not designed to serve them as tourists.

In the Indian flower market, most of the flowers are loose flowers sold in kilos for temple offerings or garlands for wedding ceremonies, garlands for funerals and garlands for political events!

In Amsterdam, the architecture, the canals, the dutch bicycles and the tulips make an interesting tour for anyone who loves the bazaar.

This blogpost is part of an article I wrote that was recently published in Architecture+Design - an Indian journal of architecture. To READ MORE refer to the A+D Vol XXVII no. 12 December 2010 issue

Related Posts :
What is Russell Market
How Green is my Bazaar


radha said...

A lady Deepa Krishnan already arranges for walks through few bazaars in Mumbai. Her blog http://www.mumbai-magic.blogspot.com/ . We need to train some of our shopkeepers to attend to tourists. And generally ensure some amount of smooth flow is assured in these areas. It should be a pleasant experience.

Meena Venkataraman said...

Very well written article. ..And such a great idea!
Its not just in Amsterdam, even here in London where i love the flower markets are so designed that they can cater to tourists as well as the everyday buyer....
Think its also because the distinction between the two types of buyers is not culturally distinct.
Whereas in India, Flowers are used primarily for religious ceremonies,weddings etc.. The nature of the flowers used (JAsmine etc) does not cater to a tourists taste...
What we should do is probably make this a more attractive tourist proposition (like you have suggested). Some flower markets , for example the ones in kerala before onam are sooo beautiful. Any tourist would be eager to get cultural insights into traditions that these flowers are used as part of

Indian Bazaars said...

Radha : Thanks for the link. The training of shopkeepers would be quite good. Maybe, knowing more about how exchanges happen in the retail environment in other countries? Often, tourists do not bargain as the locals would. Can they still be given a fair price? What are the other lessons to learn?

Meena : Cultural insights into traditions would be a nice idea as part of the tourist information at marketplaces. It is so fascinating to watch the stringing of jasmines. This is a link to a YouTube film - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeYSrMqdB2I