Since it opened two years back, the city tourist office of Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB) has failed to provide basic facilities and services expected from a tourist office.
The office continues to run without city maps and efficient staff to assist tourists and business travellers.
Hindustan Times has reported this issue several times in the past, with the latest reports published on January 31 and March 3 of this year.
Ironically, maps of every other major city and town of Punjab are displayed, except that of Ludhiana.
Most city hotels have now prepared their own maps to assist their guests.
Ravneet Gurm, public relations manager, Hyatt Regency, said, “There is a high demand for city maps from guests who check in at our hotel. However, we have manually prepared maps to assist guests. We have been following up with the tourist office for maps ever since we opened but they have not provided us with any.”
Recently, a group of students from Punjab Agricultural University visited the tourist office and were surprised to see there were no tourist maps.
One of the students, Gurinder Pal, said, “Firstly, the office staff is inefficient and seem to have no knowledge about the city. Secondly, they do not have maps and are reluctant to offer help. When we asked them how they helped tourists, the official said tourists were helped verbally.”
Ludhiana-based tourist officer Hardeep Singh conceded that city maps were not available but tourists were assisted in the best possible manner.
Singh said, “The board has not printed maps for Ludhiana so far, although there were plans to print them after the Lok Sabha elections. However, we have printed information about the city which we hand over to visitors.”
Raji P Shrivastava, chief executive officer, PHTPB, accepted it was eccentric to run a tourist office without maps. She said, “Maps will definitely arrive by mid-July. Currently, they are being designed. Once designing is over, they will be printed immediately.