the recent slowdown following the world economic crisis, Indian Tourism
is slowly moving upwards. Indeed, the first four months of the current year
have witnessed a growth of over 10% foreign arrivals.
even without looking at statistics, it is obvious that the Indian domestic
market is far, far larger than all our foreign markets put together. As against
5-6 million international tourists, well over 1200 million domestic tourists
travel around the country every year.
domestic tourism market, therefore, has a great potential for both the tourism
and hospitality industries, as well as for the economy as a whole. Unlike many
other countries, we have a huge domestic tourism market of our own and are not
really dependent on foreign source markets. Not only is the size of our
domestic market very large, we have a huge number of potential tourists with
high spending power. One has only to look around at the number of foreign
tourism boards who have set up their offices in India or appointed
representatives to attract Indian tourist, to appreciate the size and
importance of Indian market. These
countries include affluent western nations like Britain, France, Switzerland,
Germany, Italy and several states in the USA.
our tourism industry – whether it is hotels or domestic airlines or agents –
has large enough markets within India not only to sustain itself during
difficult periods in the world but also think of future investment and growth.
Similarly Governments, both central and state, have sufficient incentive and
justification to invest in the tourism product of India.
would be pertinent to remember that countries like the USA and Japan
initially built their domestic tourists, and this infrastructure is now serving
the needs of foreign tourists as well.
estimated that incomes in India would almost triple over the next two decades,
and the country would climb from its position as the twelfth largest consumer
markets to become the world’s fifth- largest consumer market. There will be 9.5
million households having an income over 10 lakhs and some 128 million
households with an income between 2-10 lakhs. India’s rising middle from what we have now class is expected to
583 million – a 12- fold growth – that is, over 40% of the population, and its
discretionary spending will increase from 39% to 70% of all spending.
is no doubt that India has unparalleled natural and historical resources. We
have everything that a country could possibly want in terms of tourist
attractions – from majestic mountains and wonderful beaches to magnificent
deserts, exquisite lakes, attractive rivers, a host of leisure and adventure tourist
activities, and a 5,000 year old heritage with historic monuments dating back
2,500 years in time. Add to this a great variety of cultures and religions with
diverse fairs and festivals- and there is hardly any kind of tourist attraction
that India does not possess.
we lack, however, is a sufficiently well-developed infrastructure to match
these attractions. And, it is this aspect that we need to focus on. If we
develop our infrastructure for our domestic tourists during the next few years,
India would be ready to receive many times the number of foreign tourists it
are many areas in which the infrastructure needs to be augmented. We need more
mid-market clean hygienic hotels; better airport with more welcoming, visitor
–friendly staff; clean toilet facilities for both men and women at monuments,
beaches and other tourist places as well as at airports, railway stations and
inter-city bus stations; we need better roads leading to our tourist places; a dedicated tourist police force to
ensure the safety and well-being of tourists; knowledgeable guides who can
enrich a tourist’s understanding of our
timeless history and culture; and so much more.
If we want to create all these facilities and augment our existing infrastructure, both the Indian tourism industry and the Government should plan for the country's huge domestic market which is both permanent and reliable, in good times as well as in not-so-good times. If we do this, international tourism will take care of itself.