TOURISM IN INDIA

  The tourism industry of India is economically important. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism contributed to 6.6% of the India’s GDP. About 39.5 million jobs i.e. 7.7% of its total employment has been generated by tourism. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 ranks India 65th out of 144 countries. The report ranks the price competitiveness of India’s tourism sector 20th out of 144 countries. It also mentions that India has quite good air transport (ranked 39th) & reasonable ground transport infrastructure (ranked 42nd). New National Tourism Policy for 2012-2016 launched “Atithi Devo Bhavah” (Guest is like God) to attract more number of tourists & aiming at capacity building for tourism sector. The framework of policy is based on Government-led, Private Sector-driven & Community welfare-oriented.

Key facts to consider are facility, security & advertisement.

 Security
o Shortcomings:  Despite the expectations of growth in tourism owing to the depreciating rupee, there has been fall in tourist influx due to security concerns posed by growing rate of crime against foreigners especially women tourists in the country. Tackling shortcomings:  The social awareness campaign by the government of India called “Atithi Devo Bhavah” with theme “Incredible India” aims at providing the inbound tourist a greater sense of being welcomed to the country. The campaign provides training & orientation to taxi drivers, guides, immigration officers, police & other personnel who interact directly with the tourists.

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 Facility
o Shortcomings:  “Incredible India” campaign targets rich tourists from USA & UK, but the campaign certainly fails to attract tourists from developing countries. The validity of point is marked because of the fact of shortage of hotels in budget sector i.e. one, two & three star hotels.  Lack of road side amenities not only a worrying thing for international tourists but also for local & national tourists. Tackling shortcomings:  The government is working on tourism, under 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017) set up by the Planning Commission stated that additional 0.1 million hotel rooms will be constructed by 2016 to meet projected 12% growth in tourism.  The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has tied with oil companies such as Reliance Industries, Hindustan Petroleum & Essar to develop way-side outlets at every 100 kilometres of National Highways. These outlets would not only provide fuel but also food, recreational facilities, washroom, vehicle accessories & workshops. Such an example of amenities in Reliance Industry Limited’s one stop facilities called A1 on Baroda-Ahmedabad (Gujrat) express highway & plans to express it across the country.

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 Advertisement
o Shortcomings:  Source of advertisement for Indian tourism for foreigners is web based. But quality of information on government & state government websites is not of standard. Only Gujrat, Kerala & Goa tourism web sites provide information in multi-languages. Also the fact there is no link to the Incredible India programme on most of the state owned tourism websites. Tackling shortcomings:  Setting up of Indian broadcasting channels in abroad has led to aggressive advertisement & also the fact that about 45% of the tourists gather information provided by government websites. Funding to embassies abroad is also helping the theme Incredible India. Indian billboards these days are mainly targeting spiritual tourists. The advancement of India in medical treatment is helping India in terms of medical tourism. India can become the destination for those who wants savings on implants & other cosmetic surgeries, along with world class facilities at cheaper rate than USA, UK & other countries through medical tourism advertisement.

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