Wednesday, June 3, 2009

As a Niagara Falls tour guide I've often wondered why so many there are so many Indian visitors to the Falls. Many days I see that visitors from India out number any other ethnic group at Niagara. I'm not complaining, as we welcome any rupees that may come to the region.
Why so many people from India? I think this entry in a blog by an Indian author may help explain:

"When you visit Niagara Falls in USA, you will be left to wonder if you have traveled to India. The only tourists I saw there, were Indians. It was like the entire country was there, except may be Rajinikanth and Bal Thackeray. If there were no Indians visiting Niagara Falls in USA, the place wouldn’t have any funds to support itself. It looks like all the native tourists just drive down to Canada to watch Niagara from there. It is said that Niagara is much more beautiful from Canada.

Perhaps it is a mark that a touring Indian wants to make, He wants to say that he has spent his time in America, by visiting a very popular place in the country. He cannot go back home and claim he has seen Yosemite or Colorado springs without being given empty stares, not many people know about those places. But if you say you saw Niagara, then they can definitely relate it to something back home. Your purpose of the trip will be complete, You saw the most popular place (popular to Indians) in USA."

It appears that Niagara is an icon in eyes of many Indians, a place that they must visit when they come to America. Which is no different than what everybody does when on vacation. When I went to DC, I saw the Washington Monument. San Francisco, I went to Alcatraz. These sites 'brand recognition' to us and we flock to them based on an impression.

Back to the Falls, I've had the opportunity to take several groups of Indian origin on tours. I find that their English is very good and their knowledge of American history is better than most yanks. They tend to travel in extended family groups and make decisions based upon consensus. Once the decision is made, there are no questions asked. I sense there is a reverence for parents and grandparents in this culture.

If you're visiting the Falls from India, consider taking a guided tour. I know you'll have some great stories to tell about the Falls when you return home. And definitely stop by the Punjabi Hut for an excellent meal.


Post a Comment