Monday, February 1, 2016

India is a large country with a rich history. The presence of this history is seen in the innumerable heritage sites available throughout the country. India also has a rich religious diversity and history. Almost every town and Village is dotted with incredible architectures of ancient past. There are innumerable hills, mountains, rivers, lakes that offer tremendous tourism possibilities. Add to this the need for modern amusement parks, water parks and theme parks. And combine the wide variety of handicrafts and other crafts.
Some ideas for boosting TOURISM in India !!

Allow corporate sponsorship for heritage buildings
  • One of the biggest charms of Indian tourism is its architecture and wealth of historic monuments. And there’s a long list of heritage monuments that are still sitting in squalid environments.
  • Various places in India have ancient buildings and monuments. Due to various reasons these buildings are not exactly like they used to be in the past. 
  • The walls are broken, structures are collapsed. If these buildings are maintained and beautified, then those can remarkably add value to the tourism. 
  • For example, there are many palaces and old buildings in Pune, and those are in a very bad shape. ‘Shaniwar wada’ which was once the epitome of power of Peshwas, is now almost in ruins. There is just an outer wall which exists. The entire internal structure is said to be burned in fire. It is said that the old maps of this palace are still available. Various old documents have references of the interiors of this place. If re-built, this will be the biggest tourist attraction of the town. 
  • The famous Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London was burned in fire, but was rebuilt and is one of the famous attractions of London. Then why can’t we renovate and restructure our ancient monuments and palaces?
  • An effective solution for this would be to outsource the maintenance and exterior lighting of the heritage monument to corporate giants in return for some branding opportunity at the monument.
  • Many think this is outright commercialisation. But this is a much better option than leaving it an abandoned state and let it decay.

Create experiences, not sightseeing spots
  • If you closely notice, many tourist destinations around the world are merely made up of created experiences. Be it botanical gardens, architectural monuments, backwaters, the Himalayas, the tourism ministry should see the potential of a place to attract tourists rather than merely banking on the natural beauty of a place.
  • The tourism industry which includes the government and private players, need to manipulate destinations as experiences and not sightseeing point alone.
  • For instance, steps can be taken to make the tour replete with tour guides, activities for the children, culinary tours, interactivity for the tourist with the culture of the place etc.
Build great roads and access points
  • It would completely wrong on anyone’s part to simply say ‘Create better infrastructure’. This is a very generic statement. But it is critical to build good roads and approach points to a certain tourist destination.
  • For foreign and domestic tourists alike, a bumpy ride with potholes and a punctured tire only to reach an exotic Indian destination is no good.
  • Packaged train travel, easy bus connections and safe car hire services with knowledgeable personnel combines with great freeways and highways may sound utopian but are critical features for an unmatched tourist experience.
Aggressive tourism marketing strategies
  • Many people seem to be having a problem with exoticizing India to the West but at some point if that strategy allows for the raking in of moolah, then why not? 
  • We’re not promoting India as the land of snakes and charmers anymore, but the tourism ministry should surely pursue aggressive online and other marketing strategies to promote India as a must-visit location. 
  • Whether it is broadcasting ‘Incredible India’ campaigns abroad, holding tourism seminars or offering Indian locations with facilities to promote foreign film productions in the country. Aggressive marketing is absolutely critical to be seen and heard well. Rajasthan k latest advertise mast hai and such innovative ideas could be replicated for other states too !!
Sell niche tourism areas separately
  • India is currently in a position where it can make a cash cow out of selling customized experiences, luxury spa sessions, rare animal sanctuaries, religious pilgrimage tours and extreme Himalaya tours.
  • With too many points of differentiation available, Indian tourism should focus on how it has something on offer for everyone in every category with all budgets. India on shoestring, India in luxury, the royal India, urban India, the common man’s India, historical India and much more.
  • India should take advantage of the West's intrigue with Indian culture, including yoga, ayurvedic medicine, Hinduism and meditation, and market itself accordingly.
  • Developing standard Yoga and spiritual centers who actually have courses on yoga and meditation can be a way forward. This needs to be made sure that these centers are certified and an authorized certification from government is provided to them. This activity is to be given to famous groups in India who have maintained their standard through many year
 Secret Surveys and feedbacks
  • Everybody in the system must understand that they are watched and their jobs depend on their performance. 
  • If they don’t perform, there will be an end to their career. This will ensure the discipline and system will be followed accordingly. Surveys and feedbacks will help maintaining this. 
Temple Festivals
  • Khajuraho Dance Festival, Lokrang Festival, Lohri celebration etc are not the only known festival which attracts tourism, but small festival, local cultural event and annual celebration in Rural places is a Big opportunity to attracts tourism. 
  • For this the State wise tourist booklet should be available for free to Tourist online and in Tourist information centers. 
  • Book should contain festival name, description, history, and number of attendee in last few years, pictures and etc. This need to be heavily published, televised, advertised so that essence of diverse colours of INDIA pull tourists towards it !!

As far as RURAL TOURISM in specific is concerned !!

Rural tourism also called farm tourism offers a “ back to nature” exposure 

1. Identify USP’s/strengths of villages in each state – Handicrafts, Folk music, Dance, Puppet shows, Theatre/Street dramas, Madhubani painting, villages which are completely into organic farming, herbal, yoga and meditation centres 

2. Highlight education wonders like “Anand’s IIT mission” in Bihar. Identify such Indian achievements across states 

3. Document histry of such chosen places for visitors/tourists to go through them 

4. Develop infrastructure in all such villages 

5. Ask MP’s , leading personalities , corporates to adopt such villages under Aadarsh Gram yojna 

6. Get basics right – from hygiene, water, road and good shelter. 

7. Villagers and Paying guest landlords should be trained on ways to address foreign tourists 

8. Create clusters of the following 
a. Such villages in each state that give a complete picture of the state, rural way of living, culture 
b. Of northern india, eastern india, southern india, Central India and western india 
c. Encourage tourist operators to organize state and national packages which are rural only packages, mix of rural and urban packages 

9. Encourage NGO’s, Private players to play a major role in development and management of such clusters of villages 

10. Ensure paying guest accommodations as business model is encouraged so that landlords and farmers can develop necessary infrastructure to provide right lodging for tourists 

11. Encourage farmers and landlords to have separate zone within their farmland to educate the following kinds of people 
a. Budding agricultural students 
b. Tourists – Domestic and foreign 
c. Urban kids and families never exposed to hardships but willing to understand 

12. Expose visiting tourists/ families to basic work in the village – from milking cows, cleaning of barns, entertain the rural population, pump water etc. 

13. Encourage and involve visiting families and tourists to work in the farm and earn based on effort and time put in to understand what a farmer goes through to earn whetever he does. This will send a clear message about hard work 

14. Involve village bodies like Sarpanch and others in planning for rural tourism

15. It will provide business opportunities for rural community

Moral of the STORY !!

The Tourism industry in India is a very promising Industry and has potential to become one of the leading employers of Indians. Professional management and additional infrastructure and maintaining high standards are needed so that TOURISTs can enjoy his visit to the fullest extent and we create EMPLOYMENT and spur GROWTH !!

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