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India has ample scope to develop the tourism industry. The article briefs about the growth of the tourism industry in India, the various segments within the industry and the future for the industry.


Tourism is the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.

Tourism is not the same as travel. Tourism can be measured by three different criteria’s
  • It requires a displacement outside the known environment.
  • The purpose for travel: The reason for travel must be any reason other than remuneration from the place visited.
  • Duration: The duration of stay can be a minimum of one day with or without an overnight stay, but there is a cap on the maximum time period, usually it should not be more than a year.
Tourism in India
Tourism in India has seen exponential growth in the recent years. India is one of the most preferred destinations for both overseas and domestic travelers. Tourism enables the international traveler to understand and experience India's cultural diversity first hand. According to official estimates the Indian tourism industry has out performed the global tourism industry in terms of growth in the volume of foreign tourists as well as in terms of revenue.

The main reason for the growth in tourism in India is the tremendous progress made by the Indian economy. Though it must be said that infrastructure is still a constraint. To sustain the current growth the government should invest in infrastructure like transport, accommodation, better roads, health and hygiene etc. To propel growth the industry has invested in new technology like CRM tools and state of the art security systems.

The various segments within tourism are:

Medical Tourism
It is one of the fastest growing segments in India. India has been able to leverage on certain advantages it has over other countries like highly skilled doctors, cost effective treatment, improved quality of private healthcare etc. Some of the common treatments for which overseas patients to come to India are heart surgery, knee transplant, cosmetic surgery and dental care. India's traditional rejuvenation therapy like yoga and ayurvedic therapy are also becoming popular.

Eco Tourism
It is relatively new segment in India. It involves visiting natural areas without disturbing the fragile ecosystem. Eco tourism generates wealth for the local people, who in turn take measures to conserve and protect the environment and natural resources. India with its natural diversity is one of the pristine places in the world for eco tourism. The Himalayan region, Kerala, Northeast, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep islands the Western and Eastern Ghats are some of the hot spots for eco tourism in India. India has some of the best wildlife reserves in the world, rich in flora and fauna.

Heritage Tourism
Heritage tourism is a very lucrative segment in India. It is widely believed it would emerge as the most important segment within tourism in terms of revenue generation by 2010.India has a rich cultural history and reflection of its glorious past is still visible in its numerous forts, monuments, palaces, places of worship etc. Heritage tourism itself can be further classified as colonial heritage, urban renewal, religious tourism, industrial heritage and ethnicity. The Indian government must show keen interest in preserving the heritage sites from a tourism perspective.

Adventure Tourism
India's varied geographical and climatic conditions offer excellent opportunity for adventure sports. In recent times the popularity of adventure tourism has increased. Adventure sports like river rafting, rock climbing, mountaineering, trekking, skiing, snow climbing, scuba diving and angling can be undertaken in the country and the country offers multiple locations to choose from. The trans Himalayan region, the Garhwal and Kumaon mountains, the Western Ghats, deserts of Rajasthan, Andaman and Lakshadweep islands are some of the most popular destination for adventure tourism.

Future trends
  • The real GDP growth for travel and tourism economy is expected to be 0.2 per cent in 2009 and is expected to grow at an average of 7.7 per cent per annum in the coming decade.
  • Earning through exports from international visitors and tourism goods are expected to generate 6.0 per cent of total exports (nearly $16.9 billion) in 2009 and expected to increase to US$ 51.4 billion in 2019.
  • According to the Ministry of Tourism, Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) for the period from January to March in 2009 was 1.461 million. For the month of March 2009 the FTAs was 472000.The reason for the decline is attributed to the ongoing economic crisis.
  • In spite of the short term and medium term impediment due to the global meltdown the revenues from tourism is expected to increase by 42 per cent from 2007 to 2017.

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