The first half of 2009 has been sordid thanks to the invasion of the recession, terrorism and new health concerns that have left many key industries across India as well as the rest of the world in a lurch. The ghosts of 2008 just refuse to die down and continue to haunt the world economies! While the global tourism industry and the Indian tourism industry in particular is no exception to this, specialists see this as an opportunity within crisis. The key lies in identifying the issues, fixing them and this is just the right time to do it! However , it will take a concerted effort by India, the particular winner of three awards of the United Nations World Tourism Organization which includes Asia’s favourite tourist destination in 2007, to see through this turmoil. All this makes the World Tourism Day on September 27 this year a lot more challenging and exciting like never before!
This is the time to clean up the system
Globally, the tourism ministries in many nations and in India are gearing up to do well out of this world economic calamity. These efforts assume significance since the global travel and tourism sector is one of the world’s largest industries, using nearly 231 million people and generating over 10.
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4 % of world GDP. And according to the Ministry of Tourism in Indian, in 2007, 5 million vacationers visited India and spent almost $11. 5 billion. The World Travel and leisure Organisation 2020 vision estimates that around 5. 08 million visitors will visit India by the year 2010 which is likely to touch 8. nine million by 2020. India and China have so far been resistant during recession and the recent Planet Bank report has not only recommended this but predicts a decent growth for your two Asian giants. Thus, as far as the tourism industry is concerned, Indian is well poised to profit from the global recession only if it makes up its mind to roll up the sleeves and work around a sponsor of domestic and international travel and leisure related issues.
The international plus domestic issues that affects tourism within India
A weaker American plus European economies that are already stung by recession has a spiralling effect on the global corporate world which is on the cost-cutting spree. This means lesser business and personal travels to India. The country is also facing newer challenges within health scares like the Swine flu, racism scandals, and poor safety for foreigners in certain tourists’ places, climatic changes, inadequate manpower and the monsoon failures. Estimates have put that India would need at least two hundred, 000 people to cater to the country’s growing tourism needs. Then you will find the proverbial infrastructure problems such as poor road connectivity, non-modernisation of airports, lack of world class food and accommodation facilities in hot tourism areas and the sluggish pace in determining and developing tourist destinations and circuits. All these could have far-reaching impacts on the tourism industry in India.
In house, India’s domestic tourism industry is definitely on a boom. Literally a money spinner, the domestic tourism sector too faces similar issues and these will have to be sorted out simultaneously. Hence, it will take collaborative and focused efforts on the part of the Indian tourism ministry and other related ministries to tackle these issues and set up new specifications.
Tackling the issues
Tourism is multiple sectoral. It has to coordinate plus work with other industries and ministries to remove bottlenecks in infrastructure, traveling, health, food and accommodation and other facilities. The key is to offer a world class experience for tourists visiting India.
1 . Creating a healthy environment, literally
Similarly, the medical tourism industry will be on a roll. The country is seeing a huge influx of tourists from all over the world for medical treatment purposes. This particular calls for steadying up the healthcare services and switching on the ‘always in the ready’ mode in terms of modernisation associated with equipments and qualified manpower. The particular invasion of new health scares like the recent H1N1 scare could make the dent on the tourists’ visiting the country. These health scares will have its impact on the domestic tourism situation as well. The health ministry will have to roll out promising measures and work with the general public in creating a safer, healthier environment for all tourists visiting India.
second . Infrastructure woes
Presently, the thrust remains on the construction, maintenance, and development of roads, rails and air passage that connect the various tourist destinations in the nation. For this the Ministry of Tourism has to coordinate with the ministry of road transport and highways, the particular civil aviation and the railway ministry. The source of funds for these all-important development activities could also come from the various IPOs. However , this could happen only if the present rule of not permitting banks in India to accept build up beyond 10 years is relaxed. The finance for infrastructure is a long term plan and runs for 15 years. Hence only if banks are allowed to have long-term funds, this particular mismatch could be removed.
3. Development of world class hotels
Accommodation continues to be the particular central plank of the development technique of tourism in India. It is really an area where the Government will have to beautify its coordination with not only the states and union territories but also with private players. Tourists from foreign countries not only will expect safety and world class facilities in the hotels they stay but also shut proximity to the tourists’ hotspots. Therefore, there is an increasing need to identify, setup and maintain world class accommodation facilities close to the heritage sites, and other tourists’ destinations in the country.
On the food front, even though it is a fact that tourists’ visiting Indian loves the spicy Indian foods, the lack of stringent food laws plus restrictions, however , remains an issue. Besides the variety, there has to be quality and safety too in the food offered.
Research, plan, and perform!
Tourism is not only about visiting a country. A tourist may visit a country for various reasons. For example , many vacationers from different parts of the world see India as a hub of medical tourism. So is the adventure tourism sector that provides mountaineering, skiing, ice skating, paragliding, and rock climbing opportunities in some of the nation’s finest landscapes, seas and snow capped mountains. Further cruise tourism which is very popular in the Caribbean, Latin America and some South-east Asian countries can be gaining foothold in India’s vast coastlines and unexplored jungles and destinations. Rural tourism, eco-tourism are good potentials for India’s travel and leisure sector. It is high time the Ministry of Tourism focuses more on eco-tourism as it will serve as an educative tool for domestic and international tourists in observing wildlife, studying the environment and understanding and preservation of the environment. Hence, understanding and solving these issues becomes all the more essential. For this, the country needs well chalked out plans, funds from various sources, adequate manpower, and updated technology, round the clock concerted coordination between various ministries and private gamers and above all the urge to make Indian the most favoured tourist destination in the country.