Small countries like Thailand who heavily depend on tourism get more tourists than India which in terms of beauty is no less than it. Therefore India has to find a way out to stand different and ahead of other countries in tourism…writes Anilesh Kumar
It was time to say good bye as World Travel Market wrapped the three-day event where India participated with its full might attracting business, forging ties and leaving behind the memories of amazing cultural performances by artists from various states.
From medical tourism to sacred tourism, from wild life tourism to adventure tourism to business tourism, from pilgrimage to sports tourism, name it and India appeared ready to serve and surprise the inquisitive tourists. The last three days have been a packed schedule for everyone attending the event in London.
The variety of tourism that India offers also tells us about the potential of tourism in India. With the launch of Incredible India- which is a government campaign to promote Indian tourism- the sector has seen an upsurge in the number of people visiting the country. Also the e-visa facility for 161 countries and a 24×7 helpline in 12 international languages has facilitated the growth of the sector. However many believe that the industry is yet to capitalize its full potential.
“Over the years the number of people coming to India has not been as much as it should have been considering what we have to offer them,” said Vijay Wanchoo, Sr. Executive Vice President of The Imperial New Delhi. “Decisions like GST also have an impact on big hotels like us where the tax could raise the total bill of a customer by a significant amount and therefore discouraging him or her to come back,” he added.
The contribution of the tourism sector in employing people is substantial especially in those areas which are not the centre of politics and therefore not always in the news or the mainstream media.
According to tourism satellite account every 5 the person engaged in non-agricultural activity is associated with tourism directly or indirectly. It implies that the betterment of the industry could have a direct positive impact in alleviating poverty in the rural areas.
“Small places need promotion because not much is available for the people there to engage. Tourists bring cash income to the families which propels the livelihood for the locals in our state (Odisha),” said Jitendra Mohanty, chairman of the Swosti Group.
The Government of India however seems taking the business seriously. In the last three years India has advanced 25 positions in the world tourist destination ranking from 65 to 40. But the question is about considering tourism as job creating industry. On that front it lags behind. Statistics say that tourism’s contribution to the GDP is nearly as big as IT or mining. So what is the government’s plan to bring the small businesses and local people to the heart of tourism? This is where the central government along with the states needs to focus. Adding locals will not only improve the security of the tourists but will bring opportunity to earn without having to migrate, also eventually lowering down the pressure on metro cities.
“One of the reasons that we are glad being at WTM is we know that the promotion of tourism is directly proportional to the employment of the people in our state which has a huge potential to be a perfect tourist attraction,” said Kausar Jamil Hilaly, Manging Director of Assam Tourism Development Corporation.
Small countries like Thailand who heavily depend on tourism get more tourists than India which in terms of beauty is no less than it. Therefore India has to find a way out to stand different and ahead of other countries in tourism. With its ambition and right on the track to be the superpower India also has the potential to be a super destination. In the last three days it displayed amazing beauty at the World Tavel Market, now it’s the time to apply brain.