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Why pay a penny for your thoughts when I should get it for free?

Why pay a penny for your thoughts when I should get it for free?

Providing tourists with the very basic instructions is an absolute must; charging for it, is a travesty.

September 19, 2011 3:41 by



The current book I am reading “Shantaram” is an auto-biography of a run-away Australian convict who finds his way to the black markets of Mumbai. Though the novel is a delightful mix of a thriller, a conman novel and a love story, thanks to one character Khader Bhai, it is also a tad philosophical. Khader Bhai, one of the major dons in the underworld of Mumbai in the 1980′s. He loves to spend hour upon hour smoking hashish and discussing philosophy and morals. In one such conversation, he rationalises his less than legal actions with the concept of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.

I couldn’t help but think of the exact opposite—doing the right thing for the wrong reasons—when I heard of the RTA’s latest tourist scheme.

The RTA is in the process of launching a Dubai Travel Pass which will contain two Nol cards each worth Dh14, information about the integrated public transport systems, maps, tourist information, things to be observed by tourists, places to visit and other key information such as telephone numbers of emergency, police, embassy and ambulance services among other important entities as well as purchase vouchers and discounted offers from both the RTA and its partners. Apparently the travel pass will have within it vouchers worth up to Dh1000.

Helping tourists-yes, that is the right thing, so where do the wrong reasons come in? Well the help comes at a price, Dh65 to be exact (about $17.80). Now the RTA may dismiss any kind of argument against the price by saying: “The current price of the Dubai Travel Pass is Dh65; which is less than what the tourist normally pays to obtain such information and value adds separately” but I’d have to disagree.

One of the first things I do when I am in a new country is make a quick trip to the closest Tourist Information Office. No matter in which part of the world I am, I have always found the free service and information provided by those tourist information offices exceptionally useful in understanding how to use public transport or in booking a ticket to the best opera.

Providing tourists with the very basic instructions is an absolute must; charging for it, is a travesty.



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