Being Assam Tourism’s Brand Ambassador, Priyanka’s passive involvement in the state affairs surely raised several eyebrows when various users over social media platforms called out her silence on the Assam floods which according to an official of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority has affected a total of 4,175 villages, with 46.28 lakh people, while close to 90,000 hectares of agricultural lands are inundated.
Dear Priyanka Chopra
In case you have forgotten, you are also the Brand Ambassador of Assam Tourism. A state submerged in flood right now. Where is your concern, your tweet creating awareness and asking people to extend help for them?
Shame on you. https://t.co/C1BH9dpTy7
— Aditi AGARWAL (@aditiagarwal811) July 16, 2019
Many people also called for the removal of Priyanka Chopra from the post and called for other personalities involved in the state to be given the responsibility. The name of 19-year-old star athlete Hima Das was also pitched by many who recently donated half of her salary towards the flood relief operations.
— Hima MON JAI (@HimaDas8) July 16, 2019
These events have further churned a larger debate of various Bollywood star personalities being hired as brand ambassadors by tourism departments of various states. While these Bollywood actors charge heavy fees for their services which is ultimately born by the taxpayers in the state, surely calls for close scrutiny of their effectiveness in improving the tourism prospects in the states.
Shah Rukh Khan who was hired as the brand ambassador for West Bengal, by West Bengal Chief Minister has been pitching for the known for its rich culture, festivals, placid scenery. Another Bollywood star Preity Zinta is the brand ambassador for Himachal Pradesh which is also her home state. Another Bollywood personality Prachi Desai has been the Brand Ambassador for the coastal state of Goa and similarly many other states have been hiring personalities from Bollywood to attract tourists to their states.
Contrary to the trend several states like Andhra Pradesh, for example, had hired Badminton Star Saina Nehwal as the brand ambassador since 2010. Similarly, mountaineer Anshu Jamsenpa who conquered the Mt. Everest in 2011 became the brand ambassador of North East India Tourism campaign.
Though there is no concrete evidence that these stars had helped increase the tourist footfalls in respective states, questions of bringing in people from other fields like sports are surely genuine and timely. One striking example of a state which shunned the major trend and went ahead with innovative way to promote their tourism can be seen in the ‘human by nature’ campaign by Kerala Tourism. The unique campaign which avoids film stars as brand ambassadors hails the fishermen who turned saviors during the floods as ambassadors; the department introduced them as brand ambassadors of Kerala tourism.
The numbers also proved the effectiveness of the campaign which did not include any Bollywood personality. The state, in 2018, had an income of Rs 36,528 crore from tourism sector further examination showed that compared to 2017, the income saw a spike of Rs 2,874 crore in 2018. A total of 1.67 crore tourists had visited the southern state last year. Now as the users fume over Priyanka’s neglect over Assam floods, other Bollywood stars and their effectiveness is also sure to come under the scanner.