Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Airports as cultural ambassadors

Each region of India has a wonderfully distinct culture . The cuisine of each region too is distinct. There are amazing heritage products in each region . You'd never know of it though from the airports of the region / city .

Air travel has gone up tremendously in India . This means millions of travellers who spend ( or are forced to spend due to delays ) time at the airports . Each airport could be a magnificent cultural ambassador for the region offering authentic local cuisine , best of the products from the region . This would make it way more interesting for travellers  and rewarding for the airport and the retailers .

In a recent visit to Chennai I observed the changes in the Mumbai domestic airport .It is  by far the best airport in India . The stores , Cafes , foot reflexology massage offer good options to travellers. Would be terrific to see Mumbai food like Pav bhavji , vada pav (low oil variety !) available at the airport .  

Chennai airport has few food stalls . All of which offer high calorie , average tasting snacks . The kind you could find anywhere - sandwiches , samosas etc . A restaurant that offers average fare with no local flavor (except an odd dosa on on the menu ) . There's a new restaurant that offers fancy fare like Pesto Panini . For region that has mouthwatering , exquisite cuisine there is no representation of it at the airport . Likewise there is no representation of the gorgeous silk products of Tamil Nadu , stone work , wood work or any craft from the region for that matter.
( in a few airports where local products are available they unfortunately often tend to be average e.g Lucknow)

Turning the airports into cultural ambassadors for the region / city would be a win-win situation for all - the travellers , the airport , retailers , the artisans . Introducing the richness of each region of India to it's people and guests has a value that extends beyond business and monetary benefits .


neelakantan said...

Such an obviously simple thing right? Airports are entry points for our tourists, and it can be so easily be reflective of the place, but no, we are "international" too.

As far as I know only Cochins Nedumbassery airport pays a little tribute to Kerala. The Bangalores airports design to showcase India was famously shot down. (

Pity we do not take pride in our own heritage...