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The Indian tourism sector must focus on sustainable sanitation
The country’s attempts to address the sanitation challenge go back to pre-independence days when Mahatma Gandhi called upon fellow Indians to view sanitation through the lens of national pride. The Swachh Bharat Mission translated that clarion call into a nationwide campaign for cleanliness.

  The hygiene standards of a hotel in Egypt came under fire when a British couple travelling in the country died in August this year. According to Wesgro, the Western Cape’s tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, the number of reservations at hotels in Cape Town for the period between April and September 2018 were 50% lower than last year, as its water woes trended on the web, creating a frightening scenario of there being no water to flush toilets, wash hands and clean public spaces. “Virtual travel studios” are springing up across the world with simulated experiences that allow armchair travellers to see the world virtually, without navigating crowds, suffering stinking toilets, ingesting bacteria-infested food and breathing polluted air.

While these might not be immediate threats to the booming tourism industry, they point towards the link between a country’s sanitation standards and its tourist inflows. Most global lists now cite sanitation as the top criterion to assess a country’s tourist-friendliness. While countries in the overpopulated developing world have more to worry about, even the West sees deteriorating levels of sanitation as a cause for concern. With India chasing an ambitious target of 20 million Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) by 2020, the need to build a Swachh Bharat is more than ever.
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