Saturday, January 05, 2008

Audio-guides and tourist-spots in India

Indian historical sites or museums are not tourist friendly. A historical site or museum generally has a lot of exhibits spread over large area. Without a map/plan it is difficult to cover each exhibit. Sometimes the number of exhibits is overwhelming. In such cases a tourist likes to prioritize some and skip others. In India, at many places the exhibits are not properly described at location. In absence of the background information, the exhibit fails to excite. At some places (belur, halibidu) there are fantastic local guides but you wish there pace would have been slower.
There is an easy solution for the above problems. I believe it is a good business proposition too. The solution is audio-guide. It is not a novel solution. You can find audio-guides in many international tourist spots. A printed tourist guide or map may also serve the purpose but maps are costly and inflexible-towards-changes. Moreover a book can not compete with the superior experience provided by a nicely conducted audio guide. Here is what I feel audio guides can/should do:

  1. Audio-guide helps tourist to navigate the whole place at her own pace.
  2. It does not matter whether the exhibit-explaining-boards are missing.
  3. Audio guide machines are costly. So leasing out the audio guide should be done against a high-amount-of-cash or essential documents like passport/driving license.
  4. If audio-guide machines are not feasible, one may maintain mp3 of audio-guide content. This can be uploaded to personal mp3 players at a cost.
  5. May be an arrangement can be made with telecom service providers to deliver content through mobile phone.
  6. Let hundred audio-guide companies bloom with their own version of contents and interpretations. People will choose the one which agrees with their own bias.
  7. The museums/historical-places frequently undergoes renovation and modification. This is helpful for the business idea as piracy of content runs the risk of getting outdated. Continuous update is necessary.
  8. A good audio-guide session sounds like a quality programme shown in discovery/national-geographic. To prepare a good audio-guide content you need good history students, good media content creators. This means more job opportunities with scope of differentiation through quality.
  9. The audio-guide industry at historical locations can come up with private enterprise. It need not be stalled due to lack of government help.

Unimportant bit:

Why this post find its way to 'oshanto mon'? This is because this audio-guide idea looks like a low-hanging-fruit to me which no one is picking. It can lead to good busines, good opportunities for students, good appreciation of history. Then why the hell nobody is latching on to it? If you like the idea, please spread it to your enterprising friends. If you see a major chink in the concept, do talk back to this post.

1 comment:

Niloy Debnath said...

hi Somboron, do you know any body who can develop audio guides for me? my name is Niloy and i am based in Mumbai. I am interested in developing and promoting the same. You could mail me at