When Bill Clinton visited India in May 2000 as US president, he said that the world was divided between those who have seen the Taj and those who have not. Even Infosys chairman N R Narayana Murthy said that the Taj Mahal monument alone had the potential to generate USD 1 billion in tourism revenue each year. India received 1.7 million tourists in the quarter ended March 2011. The country gets around 5 million visitors each year. Indonesia, a relatively smaller country, is expected to receive 7.7 million tourists this year, according to that country’s government.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce in India (FICCI) and investment bank Yes Bank found in a study that the average trip travel spent by a tourist in India is almost 2.8 times the travel time spent in Singapore, 4.5 times that in Malaysia and 6.5 times in China. Yet, the contribution of the tourism industry to the gross domestic product, or GDP, is less than that of China, Malaysia and Singapore. They have now suggested a ten point agenda to make ‘incredible india’ campaign live up to the image.
• Develop India as a 365-day tourism destination by marketing alternative tourism products. Jammu & Kashmir snow festival, agriculture tourism, Uttaranchal ecological tours and school camps, Madhya Pradesh education tourism are some examples
• Use of the internet to put up adequate information in local and international languages and online booking facilities.
• Enhance hotel infrastructure by introducing bed & breakfast concepts across all states besides encouraging increase in the number of hotel rooms
• A very obvious thing to do is to enhance road and rail infrastructure at tourist destinations
• International airports in places like Madhya Pradesh, Assam and improved international air connectivity in states like Kerala
• Currently, most of the public-private tourism projects are concentrated in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka while few are concentrated in Orissa and Kerala and one project each in Punjab and Rajasthan. This needs to spread across all states.
• According to the Indian Hotel Survey (2009-09), Indian Hotels continue to remain inefficient in their manpower utilization. There are 1.6 employees per hotel room, much higher than the global average. Labour productivity needs to enhance through skill development
• Data collection of statistical information is necessary for the states to relook their tourism policy and future steps that need to be taken to promote tourism. Maharashtra and Chattisgarh do not collect statistics on monthly tourist inflow, and is a great hindrance for any tourism centric analysis. Apart from these primary problems, quality of data also needs to be assured.