Gour Kanjilal's Article


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“Incredible India”

Incredible India is visible everywhere and by aggressive overseas campaigns, the impact is much better now.  Conde Nast Travellers Publication from U.K. has mentioned India as one of the six top destinations.  Tourist arrival figures justify the claim with tourist arrival figures reaching nearly 3 million mark by end of 2004.  Many pundits talk of seven million tourist arrival figures of Singapore or China’s 30 million or even Spain’s 52 million arrival figures while great country like India gets a meager figure of 3 million tourists.  For their information, the longer stay of tourists is real gains of India.  In Singapore tourists stay may be for 3 nights, China 10 nights, Spain 15 nights where as stay in India is usually up to 2 months which brings an average of 30 days (say 90 million nights).  In tourism, it is the tourist nights that matter and not just statistical arrival figures.  The stay may be longer in respect of tourists of Indian origin (holding foreign passports) and for those who come to India for trekking etc. minimum period of trekking vary between 25 to 35 days and they do visit other places within India by train to see maximum in India as they don’t come to India at every season, the stay become 3 months.


Even the leading travel guides like Lonely Planet or Le guide Routard/France – all talk of success stories of India’s tourism and how it has become the preferred destination among tourists.  India has attracted niche market focusing Heritage Palace Hotels in Rajasthan rather than usual plastic hotels experience in Europe or USA, stress busting Ayurvedic Spas in Kerala, Goa and Karnataka, Spiritual Tourism with pilgrimage spots (in the Himalaya, and a centre for holding conferences and conventions.  Medical and health care tourism is also getting prime attention due to economic value of the operation with focus on professional and state of art facilities at our hospitals.  Another area where India has proved better than many other destinations is “the affordability” image that is value for money destination.  India offering the variety or to say destination that offers wide range of choice in one package which includes mix of culture, architecture, himalayas, wild life, shopping, festivals, varied cuisine – an experience which very few destinations in the world can offer.  Every body likes to collect a bagful of souvenirs to talk about India and present one to their contacts on return to tell to the world that he/she has just returned from India.  This is not a new thing.  The story of their experience about India visit was enumerated in the travelogue of Huien Tsang, Alberuni, Fahien, Holywood actors, diplomats, State guests, Presidents of developed countries like    Mr. Bill Clinton of USA (telling, the whole world can be divided in two parts – those who had been to India and saw Tajmahal and those have not seen Tajmahal in India or the view expressed by other celebrities like Mr. Edmond Hillary, Mr. Bill Gate and      Ms. Kate Winslet.  Many are coming for search of mental peace and visiting the Ashrams in the secluded himalayan region.  New breed of tourists who are seeking eco-friendly destinations rush towards India to be in perfect natural surroundings in India’s green forests, snow capped mountain resorts, lake resorts, wild life sanctuaries, Island holiday destinations for tourism.  As they spend long time in India, they also look for budget accommodation and one can get budget accommodation all around in the form of Yatri Niwas, Tourist Bungalow, Tourist Hotels, Forest lodges, Panth Nivas, Guest Houses, Railway Relining Rooms, and range varies from Rs. 700/- onward for a clean accommodation and it is worth the value.  Problems are to be seen every where in the world and often our own people talk of bureaucracy, crowded road, Rail journeys, but one must understand the size of the country, volume of population and demand for holidays with in the country and the burning issues within the country like education, electricity, water supply, health and that necessitates a low priority for tourism (as those issues are most important for action for a democratic country to keep the populace happy and those are of more humane value). Also people compare India with UK, USA or Spain, France, which are very old in tourism business where as India which got independence and doing tourism only since last 3 decades in systematic manner.  Such comparison do not hold any merit.  Also in India due to distance between two destinations, lot of internal journeys are made by air that become a bit cost prohibitive.  Price sensitive tourists like to visit places where they can travel easily by surface transport comfortably.  We have yet to bring our road and transport to international standard.  Give us another decade and peaceful time without any war or free from natural calamities, we will be one of the top destinations.  Come and enjoy India.  It is the variety, the unique experience, affordability and connectivity that go in our favour we need some time, some priority to tourism, and increased investments in tourism related activities.  We will do it so that you all enjoy India to your satisfaction.  It is incredible India. 


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