Upswing in India’s arrivals
INDIA is among the countries that have been leading a recovery in tourism, according to a report from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which also shows that the upturn includes both inbound and outbound tourism in the country, according to the India Tourism Office, based in Dubai, UAE.
Foreign tourist arrivals into India touched 5.58 million in 2010, a 9.3 per cent increase over 5.1 million tourist arrivals in 2009, the office reported.
This dramatic turnaround was due to several reasons including the Government of India’s Incredible India campaign, high visibility afforded to India by its economic success, the tourism industry’s constant search for new destinations, and to some extent improvement in infrastructure in specific areas, such as better air connectivity of smaller and remote destinations.
The key strengths of India are linked mainly to cultural wealth. For instance, India ranks seventh in terms of number of World Heritage sites.
The country also benefits from excellent price competitiveness, and ranks sixth overall in this category. Low ticket taxes and airport charges as well as low prices – mostly for manufactured goods and not so much for the service industry in the premium range –in the economy as a whole contribute to India’s price competitiveness.
India has the advantage of a strong domestic tourism base which is estimated in excess of 350 million tourists in 2009. This base is likely to grow on the back of a rapidly rising middle class with increased incomes and awareness levels and is not greatly affected by the competitiveness ranking which is primarily a comparison with other countries.
In the Gulf and Middle East, India is well known as a health and wellness tourism destination, with its world-class doctors and hospitals, ancient healing systems such as ayurveda and other rejuvenating programmes coupled with modern medical amenities. India continues to attract a growing number of tourists because of its medical care and facilities.
Apart from India’s attractiveness as a tourist paradise, it also offers dynamic business proposition as a splendid venue for international conferences and conventions of no less than global standards.
The country today boasts of world-class Mice facilities, with the modern convention centres, airports that compete with the best in the world and the ability to tailor legendary Indian hospitality to a visitor’s requirement.
Rapid improvements in accessibility and infrastructure, well trained human resources, falling prices and an aggressive marketing campaign under the banner ‘Incredible India’ have given a huge boost to the tourism sector and helped make India one of the most sought-after destinations in the world.
Working under the Ministry of Tourism, the India Tourism Office based in Dubai promotes tourism to India from West Asia and Africa.
As part of the ongoing activities, the office has been actively involved in conducting tourism presentations, seminars, participating in travel exhibitions/fairs, and conducting familiarisation tours all over the region.
It recently held tourism presentations for the media and travel industry across Iran in the cities of Tehran, Mashhad and Isfahan. Similar road shows are now being planned for the Saudi Arabian cities of Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah during January, 2012.