"Nowhere in the world is found, such a beauty, different and diversified climate, flora, fauna, religions, languages, dialects, dressing patterns, life style and rituals, like India."
Tourism is one of the world's most booming industries, generating approximately $4 trillion annually world wide. Over 550 million international tourists, visit different parts of the world every year in order to satiate their desire to know the world. It is generally the middle class, with their limited resources has contributed a lot for this increase in tourism turn over. When the world ears a lot through the tourism, the share of lndia is nearly less than 0.5 percent, which gives an alarm for tapping the last potential available in this business. Foreign exchange earnings from this industry for 1997.98 were overly Rs. 11264 crore.
Though, recently the tourist traffic to India has increased by 16%, but there is still a question why so few people opt to come to India, as compared to the either countries of South East Asia. Barely three billion tourists arrive in India annually, while Malaysia and Thailand are able to attract at least three times more than that of India.
India is called a tourist's paradise where not only the natural beauty but also glorious historical places, monuments are existing. The splendor of Taj Mahal, ancient architectural beauty of Ajanta, Ellora caves, the temples of Tamilnadu, the fort places of Rajasthan, the flora and fauna of Kanyakumari, the Puri temple of , the hill stations of Ooty, Darjeeling, Kodaikanal, Shimla, Manali, the show mountains of Himalayas, all are such attraction for the tourists, rarely found in other country or continent to the world.
In spite of lndia, endowed with such beautiful spots, the tourist's are not coming India in such multitude is a point to ponder. Though flow of tourists rose from 1.2 ion in 1981 to 3 million in 2003, yet the number is not as expected.
To promote tourism as a flourishing business the government has to initiate proper measures to facilitate the tourists coming to India. Be it an Indian or a foreigner, must be taken to see that the time spent by the tourists at a place must be enjoying, comfort and they must cherish the sweet memories of the place, of the people. The journey enjoyed by rail, bus, or by air must be comfortable. Tourists also like safe destinations, cheap and comfortable accommodation and hygienic condition is and restaurants. Separate windows be provided to cater the needs of the at all Railway/Bus/ Air platforms. We can see many foreign tourists hear and there to know the lit-bit details and found none to answer their except the tourist guide they are having with them, that too, is from the foreign publishing house about a country renowned for hospitality, when come across to tout! the fleeing Rickshaw pullers, the beggars and vagrants pacing up and down the aisles in the rail coaches. The non-cooperative Railway/Bus clerks, unwholesome food at catering comers at too much higher rate, all their presumptions soon became sour and boon. They feel themselves surrounded by the cheats. The incidents of rape, and sexual torture of the foreigners at the hands of miscreants, also caused a fear among the visitors. Such a cases put a multifold adverse effects on all our efforts to attract the tourists.
We can remove all such obstacles for promoting tourism, if the people, the government, and all those involved in the tourism industry work together honestly and whole heartedly. Everyone should realize that tourism not only helps us earn money and foreign exchange but also generates employment, and thus enhance the living standard of the people. It also promotes national integration, and international understanding and boosts indigenous handicraft industry and local cultural activities.
Some of the agencies at central and state level assigned the task for promoting the tourism in our country. The Department of Tourism, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology and Indian Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, The National Institute of Water Sports are some of the institutes, working in the field of tourism development at central level.
The Department of Tourism, under a separate ministry at Centre, formulates various policies and programmes for the development of domestic as well as international tourism. It is also responsible for implementation of all the policies and for the development of required infrastructure and making necessary publicity.
It is an eye opening fact, that in-spite of various departments and a agencies engaged in the promotion of tourism in India, we are just getting peanuts in terms revenue. Such a small country like Singapore with population of just 35 lacs, attracts more than one crore tourists each year. Cambodia's only attraction for tourists is Angkor Vat attracts as many tourists as India. Several other countries having less attraction for tourists comparing to India are earning much more. The facilities provided to the tourists the welcome extended by the common people, the reasonable charges, and most important the safety and tranquility in the country are some of the factors responsible for the more or less inflow of tourists in that country.
The Government has set up a task force on tourism and taken some important steps for its promotion in India. The peace efforts, improving the relation with neighboring countries may have a positive effect in this direction. The government has allowed investment of foreign equity up to 74% in infrastructure development Govt. is considering to setting up hotels on joint venture basis is also a positive in the right direction. Recently the government has sold some hotels to the private , parties, that will also boost the tourism in India. Under the ninth plan the Central Government has taken up steps to develop selected centres and circuits through effective coordination and cooperation of State Governments and private agencies. The central plan outlay for the development of tourism was Rs 225 crore during 2002-03, which was quite less comparing to other developing countries. Though the advertisement budget has recently hiked by 60% to Rs 65 crores yet it is very less considering the amount of work needed to make the latest slogan 'Incredible India'.
Though Promotion of tourism avenues, can indeed help in the generation of employment and earning foreign exchange, yet a cautious and restorable approach needs to be taken, to avoid adverse effect on eco-balance of the forests and natural resorts of the country: The government and private agencies should pay due attention on preserving the ecological balance while promoting the tourism sector to earn more revenue and let's not kill the very 'Hen' that lay's 'Golden Eggs'. We should also coordinate and supervise the activities of governmental, semi governmental and private agencies like hotels, travel agencies and tour operators. The various sub offices of the department should maintain constant touch with tourist agencies and travel intermediaries within the country and abroad. To attract the tourist the department of tourism along with Air India arid other agencies should make joint promotional efforts in various countries and continents through its various offices located abroad.
Since 1966, the ITDC has been engaged in developing necessary infrastructure for the development of tourism avenue in India. ITDC is looking for constructing new hotels and restaurants, lodges for tourists including marketing of hotels making available transport facilities, distribution of publicity material for necessary advertisement ITDC also provide necessary consultation and managerial services in India and abroad.
The Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management is an autonomous body established to impart education in tourism and travel management to meet the demands of professionally trained personnel for the Industry.
One of the most important segment of tourism industry is the Hotel Sector, which has vast potential for employment generation and earning foreign exchange. The recently announced Industrial Policy, has accorded priority to the Hotel Industry. Several tax benefits are also given. A new classification of Heritage Hotels is introduced which covers the functioning of hotels in historical Havelis, Castles, Forts and Residents, built prior to 1950. These old structures where one finds the splendor yesteryears are extremely popular with the tourists.
Most of the State Governments have their own State Tourism Development Corporations. These corporations initiate several attractive schemes for the tourists, in a bid to promote tourism in the State. Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation offers attractive package for the conference organized by the corporate sector, government department at selected tourist sports. Likewise the government of M.P. Orissa. Karnataka and Chennai offer several schemes to attract and promote the tourism in their respective states.
The terrorist activities in the Kashmir valley have had an adverse affect on the inflow of tourists in India. The peace, tranquility and safety are the foremost requirement for regenerating more inflow of tourism in India.