is a compelling need to improve India’s perception as
a tourist destination, believes V N Dhoot, chairman
- Videocon Group. In an exclusive for Express Business
Traveller, he dwells on the current tourism scenario
has grown into one of the worlds largest industries
with a growth rate in excess of five per cent per annum over
the past 20 years. International tourism flow across frontiers
in year 2000 reached 698 million while receipts from these
flows reached US$ 595 billion (including receipts from international
transport fares). Estimates prepared by the World Tourism
Organisation indicate that global domestic tourism flows are
at least 10 times greater than international tourism flows.
Globally, tourism accounts for 11 per cent of the global GDP
and eight per cent of the world trade employment.
share of global international tourism at 2.64 million foreign
arrivals through its borders in year 2000 is relatively small
in volume (about 0.38 per cent), but almost twice as high
in terms of US$ receipts (about 0.69 per cent). On the other
hand, Indias share of global domestic tourism is much
higher (around 4.6 per cent of estimated global domestic tourism).
The tourism sectors contribution to the national development
priorities and strategies has so far been relatively limited.
great competitive strength from a tourism point of view is
its ancient and yet living civilisation that gave rise to
four of the worlds greatest religions and philosophies,
and brought travellers and trade together millennia ago. Indias
contacts with other civilisations is reflected in the rich
cultural diversity of its people through its language forms,
cuisine, traditions, music, dance, religious practices and
festivals, its holistic healing traditions, art and craft.
The main competitive constraints facing the tourism sector
are the low priority that the sector has been given by government.
Undue focus was laid on the international market at the expense
of domestic tourism, the poor quality of the environments
surrounding many of Indias main tourist sites, the security
scenario in the region that affects the perception of India
as a safe and secure destination, the quality of transportation
service and related infrastructure, facilitation of entry
to India by international tourists, and the complex and high
level of taxation.
competitive opportunities are:
its strength as one of the worlds ancient civilisations
in the context of its rich and diverse natural heritage.
Indias strength as one of the worlds largest
economies for business, trade, and MICE-based tourism.
Improving Indias perception as a tourist destination:
Visa on arrival
of the system of visa issue by embassies /high commissions.
Indias skies for enhancing tourism through increased
the standard of facilities and services at the nations
international and major domestic airports by speeding up
the privatisation/ leasing of airports.
a special tourism police force for deployment at major tourism
Mountain-based adventure activities in the Himalayas, creating
the Himalayas as the brand and icon of Indian
adventure tourism should be promoted.
Develop and position the Kochi and Andaman & Nicobar
Islands as international cruise destinations.
India has 22 world heritage sites (16 are monuments). The
conservation, preservation and integrated development of
the area around these monuments provides a rare opportunity
for growth of cultural tourism.
is already the fourth largest economy in the world on the
Purchasing Power Parity basis. Both India and China with projected
growth rate in excess of six per cent annually, are heading
towards super economy status.
As indicated earlier, volume of domestic tourism generally
is 10 times the volume of international tourism. But if tourism
infrastructure continues to be woefully inadequate, both in
quantity and quality, the pent up desires of Indians who have
been deprived of foreign travel for so long, may make the
tourism industry in India a net foreign exchange spender,
rather than a net foreign exchange earner, thus bucking the
global trend. Since tourism is nobodys baby, it suffers
The Honble Prime Minister had in the Chief Ministers
conference held in October 2001 emphasised the great capacity
of tourism to create large scale employment of diverse kinds.
Time has come to translate this into action. Perhaps the first
movement in this direction could be to entrust the tourism
and civil aviation portfolios directly with a minister of
state, holding independent charge in the PMO.
rich cultural diversity is reflected through its people,
cuisine, traditions, music, dance, festivals and its art