As the beleaguered Commonwealth Games 2010 finally get under way, new figures show the public is far from convinced that Delhi is ready to host the international spectacle.
Just 14 per cent of the 3,000 respondents to PRWeek/OnePoll's latest survey felt the organisers of the Games had prepared adequately. And 68 per cent did not think Delhi would be ready to host the games by the time they began on 3 October.
Media coverage of the build-up to the Games, focusing on problems at the athletes' village, construction woes including the collapse of a bridge at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and high-profile athletes pulling out of the Games, has taken its toll. Concerns over the safety of buildings and construction work was chosen by 35 per cent of respondents as the biggest problem facing Delhi, followed by concerns over the state of the athletes' village, chosen by 23 per cent.
English world champion triple jumper Phillips Idowu's decision to pull out of the games over safety concerns was supported by 50 per cent of respondents, whereas just 22 per cent said he should have gone.
If India was expecting a tourism boost as a result of the Games, our survey suggests it will be disappointed. In total 68 per cent of respondents did not think hosting the Games would help India market itself as a desirable tourist destination, and 53 per cent felt India was not a safe tourist destination. The main issue facing India as a tourist destination was health and hygiene, according to 58 per cent of respondents. And 28 per cent said personal safety was the main factor.
Survey of 3,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll
HOW I SEE IT - Steve Martin, CEO, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment
Well at least we now know there is a Commonwealth Games being staged in India. Without the recent issues/nightmares the Indian Organising Committee has faced, I think the general public, and even many hardened sports fans, would not have even known the event was about to happen.
Unfortunately the Games will always be seen as a second-tier event and only the BBC coverage in this country gives it any real scale or credibility. I don't believe the recent crises around infrastructure falling apart will acutely put people off travelling to India in the mid to long term.
The survey results highlight some obvious deep-rooted perceptions of India, which are just reinforced by the recent problems the country has faced in getting the Games up and running. However, once the Games start, they will have their own unique spirit. India is a special place and good luck to the athletes who made the effort to go and compete.
- How safe a tourist destination do you consider India to be?
Very safe 5%
Quite safe 42%
Not safe 53%
- What do you think is the main issue facing India as a tourist destination?
Health and hygiene 58%
Personal safety 28%
- Is the idea of a Commonwealth still relevant?
No opinion 28%
No, it is outdated 39%
Preparation - 86% of respondents did not think the organisers of the Delhi Commonwealth Games had prepared adequately
Tourism - 68% did not think hosting the Games would help India market itself as a desirable tourist destination
Meeting Deadlines - 68% did not think Delhi would be ready to host the Games by the time they began
Phillips Idowu - 50% believed Phillips Idowu made the right decision in pulling out of the Games due to concerns about safety
Success - 6% believed the Games would be 'very successful'