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ISSN-0971-8400

ISSN-0971-8400 MAY 2010 A DEVELOPMENT MONTHLY Rs 10

MAY 2010

ISSN-0971-8400 MAY 2010 A DEVELOPMENT MONTHLY Rs 10
ISSN-0971-8400 MAY 2010 A DEVELOPMENT MONTHLY Rs 10

A DEVELOPMENT MONTHLY

ISSN-0971-8400 MAY 2010 A DEVELOPMENT MONTHLY Rs 10
ISSN-0971-8400 MAY 2010 A DEVELOPMENT MONTHLY Rs 10

Rs 10

     
       
 

May 2010

May 2010 Vol 54

Vol 54

   

Chief Editor : Neeta Prasad

   
Chief Editor : Neeta Prasad     Joint Director (Prod) : J.K. Chandra
Chief Editor : Neeta Prasad     Joint Director (Prod) : J.K. Chandra

Joint Director (Prod) : J.K. Chandra

Cover Design : Sadhna Saxena

Editor : Manogyan R. Pal

Editor : Manogyan R. Pal

E-mail (Editorial): editoryojana@hotmail.com : yojanace@gmail.com (Circulation): pdjucir_ jcm@yahoo.co.in

Website : www.yojana.gov.in

pdjucir_ jcm@yahoo.co.in Website : www.y ojana.gov.in Let noble thoughts come to us from every side Rig
pdjucir_ jcm@yahoo.co.in Website : www.y ojana.gov.in Let noble thoughts come to us from every side Rig

Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

Rig Veda

CONTENTS

TOURISM IN INDIA : ENSURING BUOYANCY AND SUSTAINABILITY Devesh Chaturvedi

TRAINING MEN TO MANAGE TOURISM Manjula Chaudhary

“2010 COMMONWEALTH GAMES : BOON TO TOURISM IN INDIA” Rina Ray

BEST PRACTICES

THE WINDS OF CHANGE :

BEYOND CONVENTIONAL TOURISM Thinlas Chorol

MEDICAL TOURISM WITH SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON TRADITIONAL MEDICINES Reba Paul

TOURISM: FRIEND OR FOE OF HERITAGE AND LOCAL WELL-BEING?

ECO TOURISM : A TOOL FOR COMMUNITY UPLIFTMENT P P Shrivastav

NORTH EAST DIARY

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8

11

16

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22

26

30

RURAL TOURISM IN INDIA Vijay Thakur

OVERSEAS PATIENTS KNOCKING THE DOORS OF INDIAN HOSPITALS Tripti Nath

AN ALTERNATIVE STRATEGY FOR CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF ORISSA Murali Dhar Majhi

J&K WINDOW

ADVENTURE TOURISM IN INDIA S P Chamoli

INDIA AND CHINA ENGAGE SOUTHEAST ASIA BY CULTURAL DIPLOMACY Parama Sinha Palit

GOA : CHALLENGES TO TOURISM Swapnil Naik

DO YOU KNOW? SHODH YATRA
DO YOU KNOW?
SHODH YATRA

GENERATOR ACCESSORY FOR

CLEANER EXHAUST

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34

37

42

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Our Representatives : Ahmedabad: Amita Maru, Bangalore: M. Devendra, Chennai: I. Vijayan, Guwahati: Anupoma Das, Hyderabad: V. Balakrishna, Kolkata: Antara Ghosh, Mumbai: Jyoti Ambekar, Thiruvananthapuram: VM Ahmad.

YOJANA seeks to carry the message of the Plan to all sections of the people and promote a more earnest discussion on problems of social and economic development. Although published by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Yojana is not restricted to expressing the ofcial point of view. Yojana is published in Assamese, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

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Disclaimer :

The views expressed in various articles are those of the authors’ and not necessarily of the government.

The readers are requested to verify the claims made in the advertisements regarding career guidance books/institutions. Yojana does not own responsibility regarding the contents of the advertisements.

YOJANA May 2010

YOJANA May 2010

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YE-5/10/1 2 YOJANA May 2010
YE-5/10/1 2 YOJANA May 2010
YE-5/10/1 2 YOJANA May 2010
About the Issue D estination India has certainly caught the attention of the world in
About the Issue D estination India has certainly caught the attention of the world in

About the Issue

D estination India has certainly caught the attention of the world in a big way. Neither the recent global recession nor the guns and bombs of terrorists have really suppressed the upswing that set in during the early years of

the 2000s. Except for a very brief lull last year, the arrival of foreign tourists has maintained a steady upward trend, and foreign exchange earnings from the sector were an impressive 11.7 billion US dollars in 2008. Add to this the growing aspirations, curiosity, surplus income and new found wanderlust among our own people and you have a sector that is perhaps the fastest growing tourism sector in the world, a sector that accounts for 5.92 % of India’s GDP, provides employment to 49.8 million of her people and has the potential to bring prosperity to rural and backward areas.

New frontiers have opened up within the sector that was traditionally focused on heritage, culture and pilgrimage. Tourists are ocking to Indian hospitals, wellness centres, centres of yoga, ayurveda and other alternate systems of medicine. The demand for eco tourism, rural tourism, adventure tourism, wildlife tourism are also growing rapidly. The government has already brought in concepts like caravan tourism and heliport tourism. Visa on arrival has been introduced for travelers coming from some ve countries. The government is making all out efforts to market "Incredible India", which is indeed today a brand to reckon with.

Its buoyancy notwithstanding, there is still a lot that needs to be set right with regard to the tourism sector in India. While we have the resource base needed for tourism to thrive, the available infrastructure in most places is barely rudimentary. There are problems of access to locations, problems of accommodation with modern amenities, lack of people trained in hospitality to take care of the various needs of the tourists, uncoordinated and unsynchronized growth of locations. There are questions about sustainable growth of tourism in the country – growth that is compatible with the environment and can sustain itself without compromising the health of the latter. There are questions about equitable distribution of the benets arising from the sector among all stakeholders.

The present issue of Yojana discusses the economics of the sector, its present health, prospects for growth of some of the new frontiers that have opened up recently, challenges that the sector faces and possible ways forward. Tourism being the largest service sector in the country and a very important instrument for bringing about development of remote and less developed areas and generating employment, it is necessary that the government adopt a multi pronged approach to address its million problems.

that the government adopt a multi pronged approach to address its million problems. YOJANA May 2010

YOJANA May 2010

YOJANA May 2010

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YE-5/10/8

TOURISM

TOURISM OVERVIEW
TOURISM OVERVIEW
TOURISM OVERVIEW
TOURISM OVERVIEW

OVERVIEW

Tourism in India : Ensuring Buoyancy and Sustainability

Tourism in India : Ensuring Buoyancy and Sustainability Government is leaving no stones unturned to ensure

Government is leaving no stones unturned to ensure that the tourist visiting during the Games period experience the Indian hospitality and its tourism products to its fullest

Indian hospitality and its tourism products to its fullest I NDIA HAS been witnessing buoyancy in

I NDIA HAS been witnessing buoyancy in the tourism sector as Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) increased

from 2.38 millions in 2002 to 5.28 millions in 2008. The Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) also increased from US$ 3.1 billion in 2002 to US$ 11.7 Billion in 2008. Despite global economic slow down affecting tourism sector worldwide, the FTAs in the year 2009 showed only a marginal decrease of 3% over last year while the FEEs in rupee terms increased by 8%. We are now witnessing a turnaround with increase in FTAs by 12.8% and FEEs by 41.3%

(in $ terms) in the rst quarter of

2010.

Domestic tourism is one of the major contributors in the sector with over 500 million visitors. The domestic sector adds to the resilience of this sector and ensures capacity utilization in the otherwise lean tourist season. As

Devesh Chaturvedi

per the estimates, tourism sector accounts for 5.92% of India’s GDP and about 9.24% or (49.8 million) of total employment generation (both indirect and direct). The Planning Commission, in the Eleventh Plan document has also commented that it is the largest service industry in the country, its importance lies in being an instrument for economic development and employment generation, particularly in the remote and backward areas.

The vision of Government as incorporated in the tourism policy is to achieve a superior quality of life for India’s citizens through Tourism which would provide a unique opportunity for physical invigoration, mental rejuvenation, cultural enrichment and spiritual elevation. The Government has accordingly embarked upon developing tourism in a sustainable and inclusive way through a multi- pronged strategy of augmenting

tourism infrastructure, promotion and marketing in domestic and overseas markets, development of accommodation and development of skilled manpower in the sector. The policy and programmes are being oriented to ensure that the development of tourism is environmentally sustainable and there is equitable distribution of benefits of tourism to all the stakeholders.

Ministry of Tourism is working in synergy with other Ministries, State Governments, Union Territory Administrations and the private sector stake holders to bring about this transformation in a big way. While providing financial assistance to State Governments and Union Territory Administration for infrastructure augmentation projects, care is being taken to ensure that the development is in conformity with the local ambience and vernacular architecture and eco friendly practices are followed as far as possible. The endeavor is to have a holistic and integrated development of tourist destinations through convergence of resources available at central, state and local administration level.

The Rural Tourism initiative has been launched at 166 sites across the country to showcase India’s rich tradition of art, culture, cuisines, handicrafts and textiles as a unique tourism experience. The objective is to revive these languishing traditions by providing backward linkages (through capacity building) and forward linkages (by creating

demand through marketing avenues) so that the bene ts of tourism accrue to rural economy. The Government provides

support in terms of hardware component wherein essential infrastructure gaps are lled up and software wherein the capacity of the village community is built up for improving the service delivery and augmentation of incomes. The Rural tourism sites commissioned have witnessed

a quantum increase in foreign

and domestic tourist arrivals and consequent increase in incomes

levels with empowerment of local community including women. India’s Rural Tourism sites such

as Hodka in Gujarat; Raghurajpur

and Pipli in Orissa; Kumbalangi

in Kerala, Pochampalli in Andhra

Pradesh; Lachen in Sikkim are some of the must visited sites.

The growing domestic and foreign tourist arrivals have generated a demand for hotel accommodation. It is estimated that there is an additional requirement of 150000 rooms in the country of which 100000 is in budget category. The Government strategy has been two folds to meet this challenge. Firstly, Government has provided incentives like allowing 100 % FDIs in hotel sector and tax exemption and tax holidays for hotels coming up at World Heritage sites, Delhi and adjoining areas. In addition, Government is also encouraging and promoting the Bed and Breakfast /Home stays across the countries. Recently, the guidelines for approval and classi cation of Bed and Breakfast units have been relaxed, and there

has been an encouraging rise in registered units.

Recognizing the fact that tourism sector is a major e m p l o y m e n t g e n e r a t o r ; Government has taken several initiatives to develop skilled and managerial manpower to bridge the gap between demand and supply. While the infrastructure of Institutes of Hotel Management and Food Crafts Institutes is being expanded, the hospitality education is also being broad based to cover Universities, Colleges, Industrial Training Institutes, Polytechnics and vocational schools. A new scheme “Hunar Se Rozgar Tak” has been launched in the year 2009-10 to provide 6 to 8 weeks skill development training to youths who are below 25 years of age and minimum eighth pass, in Food & Beverage and Food Production trades. The results have been encouraging with most of the trained youths being gainfully employed in the sector. With an objective to make the existing service providers in hospitality sector more employable, their skills are being recognized through a process of skill certi cation.

The promotion and marketing of Indian Tourism under the brand “Incredible India” has contributed in developing immense interest in Indian tourism products and a surge in FTAs. Government, along with the private sector has followed an integrated 360 degree communication strategy in the key overseas markets. The strategy involves promotion and marketing through print, electronic,

internet and outdoor media in a coordinated way to achieve the synergy. The creatives developed by Government of India in collaboration with the private stakeholders have received and overwhelming response in the international market and recognized through series of awards and accolades.

Having established the Incredible India brand, the strategy now is to develop and market niche tourism products in which the country has a unique selling proposition. Apart from the rural tourism initiatives discussed earlier, strides have been made in medical, wellness, adventure, wildlife, eco, MICE and Golf, tourism and these products have found enhanced visibility in our promotional campaigns depending on the market being targeted. More and more State Governments are leveraging their promotional campaigns by using the mother brand “Incredible India” to showcase their tourism products through participation in major international promotional events.

In the year 2009-10, Government launched new initiatives of Caravan and Heliport tourism. Under its Caravan tourism initiative, State Governments and private sector is being encouraged to develop Caravan parks at strategic locations so that family or group tourism through campervans is popularized. On the other hand, the tourist destinations, which are in remote and accessible areas, would be opened up by connecting them through heliports or helipads, for which central nancial assistance is being provided.

A sustainable, clean and hygienic destination is possible only through a support and sensitization of the visitors and the service providers. The Government’s Atithi Devo Bhawah campaign is aimed to generate social awareness and to sensitize the stakeholders on issues of contemporary relevance like protection of tourists, good behavior with tourists, preventing defacement of monuments and solid waste management.

In order to give a boost to domestic tourism, Government has organized domestic road shows in the different regions of the country. These road shows provide an opportunity for the concerned regions to showcase their tourism products to the rest of the country. The event also provides an effective forum for business to business interaction between the buyers coming from various parts of the country and sellers of the region hosting the road show.

Government has been working through the process of inter-

ministerial coordination to facilitate the tourism. The introduction of Visa on Arrival for tourists coming from

ve countries – Singapore, Japan,

New Zealand, Luxembourg and Finland is a milestone achievement. The introduction of Visa on Arrival on pilot basis has sent very positive signals about our intentions of welcoming foreign tourists. The decision to introduce seamless travel in the Golden triangle of Delhi-Agra-Jaipur through the scheme of centralized collection of road and passenger taxes Tourist

facilitation will also contribute in minimizing the irritants and making the visitor experience more pleasurable.

The travel trade sector is a very critical role in providing quality services to the domestic as well as international tourists. Government has recently liberalized the guidelines for approval of tour operators and travel agencies according to the contemporary needs so that more and more agencies are available for providing quality services to the tourists.

The Commonwealth Games 2010 will provide a rare opportunity to showcase the modern infrastructure, variety of tourism products and the culture

of hospitality of the country. Mega sporting events, such as CWG, play

a vital role in generating not only

employment opportunities but also

a vast pool of skilled, semi skilled

and unskilled manpower to cater to the demand. These events attract both international and domestic visitors which, in turn, favourably

impacts the economic and retail sectors. Hotel & Restaurant Sector, Travel & Transport Sector etc. are among some of the recipients of the valuable foreign exchange that sporting events bring in. Hosting

a mega event accords the host

country with instant branding and

a global position along with high

international visibility. Government is leaving no stones unturned to ensure that the tourist visiting during the Games period experience the Indian hospitality and its tourism

products to its fullest.

(E-mail : d.chaturvedi@nic.in)

TOURISM

TOURISM FOCUS
TOURISM FOCUS
TOURISM FOCUS
TOURISM FOCUS

FOCUS

Training Men to Manage Tourism

TOURISM FOCUS Training Men to Manage Tourism Its impact can be dif fi cult to quantify

Its impact can be dif cult to quantify but this is an investment area that can yield returns beyond any rm’s imagination

can yield returns beyond any fi rm’s imagination T OURISM INDUSTRY in India has emerged as

T OURISM INDUSTRY in India has emerged as a major driver of economic development on account of its potential

to contribute to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), foreign exchange earnings and employment generation. It is a labour intensive industry and as per World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC, 2010) worldwide estimates, is expected to contribute 8.1% to total employment, 235 million jobs or 1 in every 12.3 jobs in 2010, that is further projected to rise to 9.2% of total employment, 303 million jobs, or 1 in every 10.9 jobs by 2020. Its contribution to job creation in Indian economy is equally encouraging with one in every 15.6 jobs and a total of 30 million jobs in 2008. A research report on manpower requirements by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India (2004) forecasts employment of 3.5 million people in hotels, 2.73 million in restaurants, 1.3 million in small restaurants and dhabas on highways and 0.24 million in

Manjula Chaudhary

travel trade by 2020. WTTC (2010) projects that India will generate second largest travel and tourism employment (in absolute terms) by 2010 and 2020 at 49 and 58 million jobs respectively, coming at a second place only after China. WTTC (2002) report notes that the jobs generated by travel and tourism span throughout the value chain, beneting both direct players and supplier/partner enterprises. These jobs employ a signicant proportion of women, minorities and young people and are predominantly in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs make up a considerable proportion of the travel and tourism industry and this encourages entrepreneurship while providing diverse job opportunities and enabling entry to slightly lesser skilled workforce.

The employment generation capability of tourism sector can transform the future of India’s large young population that currently stands at 58 % in the age group of 15-59 and is forecasted to be 63 % by

2011 and 64 % by 2016. This seems plausible considering the fact that Indian tourism industry employs 70 to 80 per cent of its workforce below 40 years of age (Ministry of Tourism, 2004). This is a win-win situation for the country that has

a large young population looking

for employment opportunities and

a fast growing industry requiring competent manpower.

But this demand supply game is more than simple arithmetic. There are many bottlenecks such as skill gaps and a consequent struggle for industry to meet its demand for qualified personnel. Successful human resource management, in the shape of training and education, is crucial to bridge this demand supply gap and to achieve the economic prosperity that can be accrued through tourism (Chaudhary,2009). The basic fact not be overlooked is that the working age population is being eyed by all the high growth sectors of the economy and skilled people keep moving in search of greener pastures. The task of HRD does not merely end with the provision of educational and training opportunities but should include comparable work benets and income parities for talent

acquisition and retention. This will enable tourism industry workforce

to enhance its job competencies and

serve the sector; or else the basic skills acquired for this industry will be put to use in other industries with the migration of people.

A review of HR status and practices in tourism sector presents

a disturbing picture. At the outset

this industry is not considered a very attractive choice for the best talent at the entry level. And a good proportion of talent joining this industry churns to other service

domains. This situation is further compounded by new developments such as business model innovation (BMI) resulting in focus on extensive use of new technologies. This is creating a demand for newer skills in the industry already reeling under workforce scarcity.

A few issues requiring immediate

attention are:

Shortage of manpower

The current estimates predict a

shortfall of approximately 2 lakh skilled resources in the aviation, travel services and hospitality sectors

of tourism and travel industry that

is likely to impact its growth. Apart

from this overall gap the geographic

distribution of manpower demand is also undergoing change. A study by Hospitality Valuation Services(HVS, 2006) indicates that branded hotels in the ten selected hotel markets would

require approximately 94,000 fresh employees by 2011/12. And a good part of this demand will come from cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune. These cities will look for more experienced manpower

in National Capital Region (NCR)

and Mumbai region thus initiating movement of human resources to these cities for better benets.

Quality of manpower

The tourism industry needs manpower at different skill levels but fails to nd right type of people. A study nds that tourism industry has high manpower requirements for blue collar jobs for personalized services and human resources available for these jobs are not found trained enough or upto the mark (Gupta, 2008). To meet its requirements, industry absorbs people certi ed through different educational programmes ranging

from short term capacity building courses on one end to master’s degree holders on another. But the general feeling in the industry is that these are not readily employable and need a lot of investment through in house training programmes to bring them to an acceptable level.

Seasonal Employment

The seasonal nature of the industry shapes the structure of its manpower. There is a generic practice of using core staff supported by part time or contractual manpower. This ad-hoc employment dissuades people from opting for this sector.

Manpower attrition

Tourism industry faces the problem of attrition as its human resources ow to other high paying service industries demanding similar set of talent. The attrition rate of the hospitality industry in India is currently around 30% as opposed to other established markets like Singapore (40-45%). But this is still high in view of the inadequate quantity and quality available for intake.

Shift in technology

New technologies are nding application in industry and on line business models are increasingly being adopted with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at the forefront. It is changing the norms of manpower requirements and the demand for multiple skills set combining tourism, computer and soft skills is increasing. This is indeed a big challenge where existing demand is not being met.

Working ambience

Working conditions within the industry include a number

of potentially problematic areas such as irregular working hours, frequent work on Sundays and holidays, wages without a fixed basic element, widespread absence of overtime payments and wage levels generally below the average wages in other industries (ILO, 2001). Industry often quotes tips to be an additional income but this is highly variable, particularly in India where this is not added to the bill.

Some of the above issues are likely be solved in due course of time with market forces pushing the industry into providing better conditions to its human resources but still a deliberate effort is needed on the part of all stakeholders to prevent the industry growth from slowing down.

Government has been alert and proactive on these issues and hotel management education was started in 1962 with four institutes. Many others were opened later and all were brought under Ministry of Tourism with National Council of Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) as the coordinating body. Travel and tourism education began in 1983 through Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) under the tourism ministry. Government encouraged participation of private sector and other existing All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) recognized educational institutes, universities and colleges under University Grant Commission (UGC) became active partners in the dissemination of tourism education. The private organizations and trainers with their own certi ed programmes also joined in to ll the manpower requirements.

Presently the complete frame of tourism education has Ministry of Tourism, Government of India with hotel management institutes providing hotel management certi cates, diplomas, degrees at undergraduate and post graduate level through its network of Institutes of Hotel Management (IHM’s) and Food Craft Institutes (FCI’s) and tourism education through IITTM’s. Universities and their af liated colleges provide hotel and tourism management courses at different levels under different nomenclature ranging from add on vocational courses to doctoral courses. Polytechnics under state governments offer certificate and diploma level courses in tourism and hotel management. Added to these are the private players such as American Hotel and Motel Association and International Air Transporters Association (IATA) that offer their established certi ed courses. Lately, capacity building courses have also been started to enhance the skill level of existing manpower.

Benchmarking or any type of standardization for the manpower coming out of such system becomes difficult. As a result, the industry needs to provide for additional training after induction of employees. Hotel chains such as Taj and Oberoi have started their own hospitality schools and training centres. But the kind of investment required for such an endeavor makes this option unattractive for most players. Most businesses will always depend upon the manpower produced by tourism education system.

These facts have been taken note of by the government agencies

AICTE and UGC that have developed detailed benchmarks and accreditation standards for their educational institutes. Ministry of tourism being a pioneer agency has again proactively included development of human resources as an integral part of its mission, objectives and functions in its Results Framework Document (RFD) for 2009-10. The concerted efforts of all will give a llip to human resource development at the supply end.

But unless certain issues are resolved on demand side pertaining to long work hours, poor salaries with high variable component, odd working hours, and absence of professional HRM orientation and so on, no effort on the supply end can solve the problem of manpower shortage.

This fact is slowly sinking in and with the entry of international players and increased industry rivalry, working conditions are slowly but steadily improving. Players that will be able to provide right working environment will retain talent and grow while others will continue to struggle. In the long run, the difference in HR practices is clearly re ected in the bottom line.

Overall the approach towards HRD in tourism industry is maturing and it is increasingly being acknowledged as a core function directly impacting the organizational Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Its impact can be difficult to quantify but this is an investment area that can yield returns beyond any firm’s imagination. And if the same momentum continues then the Indian tourism industry is all set to achieve its full potential.

(E-mail : manjulachaudhary@gmail.co)

TOURISM

TOURISM OPPORTUNITY
TOURISM OPPORTUNITY
TOURISM OPPORTUNITY
TOURISM OPPORTUNITY

OPPORTUNITY

“2010 Commonwealth Games : boon to Tourism in India”

“2010 Commonwealth Games : boon to Tourism in India” The hosting of the Commonwealth Games is

The hosting of the Commonwealth Games is likely to provide the Indian tourism industry with the necessary impetus for growth in the hospitality and tourism sectors

impetus for growth in the hospitality and tourism sectors M AJOR INTERNATIONAL events have the ability

M AJOR INTERNATIONAL events have the ability to transform the urban

landscape of the host city, including that of its adjoining areas. Although such events involve considerable expenditure, much of it is spent on the development of civic infrastructure, beautication/ renovation of existing public spaces, transport and sports facilities. When carefully planned, monitored and executed, such events result in the regeneration of urban spaces not to mention the positive impact on the host city’s tourism scenario and the far reaching implications of the publicity it receives as a centre of soft power on the global map.

Tourism in India is the third largest foreign exchange earner, accounting for 2.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It also makes a direct contribution to the economy and has signi cant linkages with agriculture,

Rina Ray

horticulture, handicrafts and construction. India’s importance in the world tourism map has been recognised by the World Travel and Tourism Council (“WTTC”) which has identi ed India as one of the world’s foremost tourist growth centres in the coming decade. With a steady growth projection in the in bound tourism for the new decade, the contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP is expected to stay the same, at 6%, by 2019. According to a research conducted by Tourism Satellite Account (“TSA”), it is estimated that India’s Travel & Tourism economy contributes 6.4% of the total employment, currently, and is expected to increase to 7.2% of the total employment by 2019

India's share in world arrivals currently stands at 0.5% and its share in revenue generated from tourism worldwide is 1.11%.( World Tourism Organization). India receives the largest number of overseas tourists from the United

Kingdom, its largest source market, followed by the United States, Sri Lanka, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals - India

The national capital is one of the most prominent destinations in India, with ample historical significance. It attracts as many

with ample historical significance. It attracts as many Source : AAI Delhi Delhi’s prominence as the

Source : AAI

Delhi

Delhi’s prominence as the premier gateway of India from all perspectives along with its existing infrastructure facilities and connectivity to key tourism destinations of international and domestic interest has facilitated its selection to play host to the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

tourists as business travellers in a year. The graph below illustrates the total number of international and domestic visits to Delhi over the years.

Delhi is also a strategic transit point for other leisure destinations along the Northern zone, such as Jaipur, Agra, Simla, Musoorie, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kullu, Manali,

International and Domestic Visits to Delhi

Kullu, Manali, International and Domestic Visits to Delhi (Source: Ministry of Tourism) etc. In the recent

(Source: Ministry of Tourism)

etc. In the recent past the city has also been able to attract domestic and international tourists as a MICE destination.

Tourism in NCR has grown as an effect of diversication of tourist segments - heritage tourism, adventure tourism, medical tourism and eco-tourism. Various segments, including the domestic as well as international corporate travelers, bureaucrats, sportsmen as well as transitional tourists are the main clientele for the hospitality sector.

In fact, India is now seen as a viable investment destination by the developed economies. The consistent growth rate has attracted foreign investments, leading to tremendous rise in business travel. The growth in arrivals also contributed to a signicant increase in the incoming tourist receipts, leading to a growth in the tourist economy of the nation.

The initiatives by the Government have paid off as India is one of the most popular destinations on the world travel map today. It is seen as a cultural hub with its fairs and festivals all year round. India also offers a large variety of travel destinations ranging from spiritual centres to wildlife sanctuaries, from snow capped mountains to balmy beaches. The amazing and hugely successful “Incredible India” campaign of the Ministry of Tourism has received praise from all over the globe.

Commonwealth Games 2010

The Commonwealth Games is a unique, world class, multi-sports event and only the Olympic and

Growth of the Commonwealth Games

Growth of the Commonwealth Games (Source: Ministry of Tourism) Asian Games are considered bigger than this.

(Source: Ministry of Tourism)

Asian Games are considered bigger than this.

The 19th Commonwealth Games are all set to be hosted in New Delhi from 3–14 October 2010, with 71 teams participating in 17 events.

The main sports venues include:

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

Indira Gandhi Stadium,

Tyagaraja Stadium

Siri Fort Sports Complex,

Talkatora Stadium

been of cially recognized as the Games Family Hotel. Apart from various infrastructure development initiatives – such as the Metro rail project, the airport project, expressways, road and flyover projects – the forthcoming Games has also initiated rejuvenation and restoration projects on Connaught Place, Rajpath, and the city’s monuments.

The Games and Tourism

Based on the statistical information from the Ministry

of Tourism, international visitor arrivals to India for the calendar year 2009 was estimated at 5.1 million, registering a 3.3% decline over visitors recorded in 2008 but a 0.5% growth over visitors recorded in 2007. International visitors to India are likely to register a growth of 26% in 2010 over estimated visitors in 2009.

Different agencies have come to different conclusions about the number of likely international visitors to Delhi during the Games, and some have estimated that over 1 million international visitors are likely to visit Delhi during the Commonwealth Games.

The tourism industry is in constant need of positioning or repositioning in a hotly contested global market. Destinations that fail to undertake constant promotional campaigns in their target markets risk losing market position, or going “out of fashion”. Major events help address this by increasing international visitor awareness of the destination,

Twenty-six new training venues are also under construction, besides 16 training venues that are being upgraded for the event. Other non-sports venues include the Organising Committee of Commonwealth Games 2010 headquarters near Connaught Place; the Main Media Centre (including the International Broadcasting Centre and the Main Press Centre) near the Games Village and the main venues at Pragati Maidan; and the Hotel Ashok, which has

International Visitors to India and Delhi

Ashok, which has International Visitors to India and Delhi (Source: Ministry of Tourism, Cushman & Wake

(Source: Ministry of Tourism, Cushman & Wake eld)

which could lead to increased tourism either by:

the exposure of India and destinations within India through various forms of media to international markets; and

people who would not have visited India if it were not for the Commonwealth Games, who are likely to be pleasantly affected by their experience and motivated to return at another time and explore India’s tourist attractions.

While Delhi has already

experienced considerable exposure with the anticipated hosting of the Commonwealth Games, the potential for the country from

a tourism perspective will be

reinforced by additional national and destination marketing programmes

(such as Incredible India, marketing campaigns by Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa, etc), as well as hosting of the actual event.

The impact of the Commonwealth Games is likely to facilitate considerable growth of the Indian hospitality industry, not only in Delhi but also in key destinations by visitors who choose to take a holiday immediately after the event or who return at a later date. The long term benefits in respect of

Delhi having the capability to cater

to large scale events is likely to be

considerable.

As far as the required

f o r t h e

a c c o m m o d a t i o n

Commonwealth Games is concerned, the hospitality segment has taken up the challenge of launching hotels

for the inux of visitors anticipated to arrive for the Commonwealth Games. Hotel construction activity in the NCR is currently being driven by the ve-year tax holiday granted to hospitality projects for the forthcoming event; and many international brands have announced their projects, with approximately 7,000 organised rooms expected to become operational in the region by 2010. These projects include a mix of domestic and international brands who aim to offer accommodation ranging from upscale properties to budget and/ or mid-scale hotels in the region. Additionally, private residences have been given permission to register rooms as bed-and-breakfast (B&B) accommodation.

As much-needed state-of-the- art infrastructure gets built up in the run up to the Games, it will prove to be a boon for the city’s economy at large. Apart from world-class sports facilities, hotels, serviced apartments, newly added transport systems and other civic amenities, related sectors like tourism and hospitality, cement, steel, electricity, aviation and logistics will be beneted too.

Short-term implications usually necessitate large-scale employment of skilled and unskilled labour, mostly for large developmental projects. Other short-term benefits of hosting the Games in Delhi will include the immediate in ux of sports persons, tourists, visiting dignitaries and related personnel to the city, boosting tourism. On a

long-term scale, a well organised and successful event will often help to push the host city on the global map for times to come, with bene cial economic results.

Medical tourism is slated to be the next trend setter in the Indian tourism market. Medical or Health tourism has become a common form of vacationing and covers a broad spectrum of medical services. It mixes leisure, fun and relaxation together with wellness and healthcare.

Besides medical tourism, other emerging sub segments are spiritual and wildlife tourism. In addition to the national campaign, many states have launched tourism campaigns to promote the highlights of that state For example Rajasthan promotes heritage, Madhya Pradesh promotes wildlife while Kerela promotes backwaters etc. Sports tourism in India has also gained momentum.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi is expected to have a far reaching impact on various sectors including adding the necessary impetus to the tourism sector for Delhi and its adjoining areas as a result of the massive exposure the games are expected to provide to the city.

The fallout of various state initiatives in the run up to the Games has resulted in quite a few positive long term impacts too. The Delhi State Spatial Data Infrastructure (DSSDI) project,

YE-5/10/3

for instance, has been methodically counting manholes, walking streets, and probing the ground for pipes and wires for almost two years now in one of the most ambitious mapping projects undertaken in any Indian city. A collaboration between the Government of Delhi and the Survey of India, the project is set to create a three- dimensional geographical information system (GIS) for the city. In yet another instance, the land to be vacated by the Indraprastha Thermal Power Plant, shut down for its polluting operations, is being considered by the government for the setting up as a nursery of saplings for the Games. These eight acres of prime land by the Yamuna will eventually be turned into a city forest, adding to the city’s green lung zone.

Tourism has become an important economic sector in many parts of the world, and many regions, states, and local areas have identied expenditure by visitors as a potential source of economic growth. Because visitor spending can contribute to the local economy, many communities seek to enhance tourism and visitor-oriented activities. The Commonwealth Games is likely to provide India with a platform to stimulate these two crucial focal points of the tourism industry.

Although the recent economic downturn has impacted the global and Indian tourism industry, the hosting of the Commonwealth Games is likely to provide the Indian tourism industry with the necessary impetus for growth in the hospitality and tourism sectors,

The economic benets of hosting the Commonwealth Games are enormous with each rupee spent having a ripple effect on the Indian economy, boosting employment, GDP and infrastructure. The intangible impact of the event in respect to increasing India’s profile on the global platform is likely to provide long-term positive benets in respect of tourism and

business opportunities.

(E-mail : md_delhitourism@yahoo.com)

(* This article is based on a paper prepared by Delhi Tourism and CII.)

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           

 

 

 

                         

                         

                         

 

 

 

 

                         

 

 

 

                         

 

 
                         
 
 
 
   
 

BEST PRACTICES

The Winds of Change : Beyond Conventional Tourism

PRACTICES The Winds of Change : Beyond Conventional Tourism To see themselves from the outside, to

To see themselves from the outside, to view the richness of their heritage, the unique culture of this breathtakingly beautiful terrain is in no small measure due to the spirit of the travellers

is in no small measure due to the spirit of the travellers L ADAKH IS a

L ADAKH IS a region with a unique history and culture - and a very rich one at that. The region

was largely isolated from the rest of the country till quite late. The infusion of outsiders started rst with the army, and then gradually tourists started thronging the region, throwing open a hitherto very little known society.

Somewhere in this surge of influences from beyond, the Ladakhis began to lose their identity, their link with what was intrinsically born of the land and its historical, cultural inuences. It happened in small ways. Traditional jewellery and kitchenware disappeared from shelves of homes and shops. Instead items which were in vogue outside began to be used. This phase luckily did not endure. Gradually realization dawned that tourists were interested in all that was truly Ladakhi.This realization brought the local people back to their culture.

Tourists were interested in monasteries reflecting local

Thinlas Chorol

history, culture, art. A repository of printing and sculpture, showcasing a unique architectural style built atop hills or in valleys, these structures were a major attraction. Alchi, a monastery built in the midst of a village was exceptional for its exquisite woodcarving, sculpture and printing. The fascination shown by the tourists was infectious and also lucrative for locals who were part of the booming tourism industry. A revisiting of their own culture and history began to happen, with reinvented pride in their heritage.

Almost every monastery in Ladakh celebrates a festival once a year. The Hemis festival is famous, catching the tourist season at its peak. Festivals anywhere are all about celebrating a particular tradition and custom and in Ladakh have led to a resurgence of the joy, gaiety and fervour amongst locals. Conservation has taken on a new meaning in this resurgence. Old palaces of kings in the long history

Several aspects of Ladakhi life are now on the upswing of Ladakh dotted the landscape,

Several aspects of Ladakhi life are now on the upswing

of Ladakh dotted the landscape, most were neglected and derelict. Today the pages of history have come alive again, shaking out of their stupor to give a new lease of life to historical buildings. The nine-storied Leh Palace is now being repaired by the Central government, while the Basgo monastery is a part of the world heritage buildings, conserved by UNESCO.

Interestingly enough, the influence has not remained restricted to strictly ‘tourist’ aspects. It has permeated into the rest of society as well. In schools across Ladakh, children would find nothing on their own land and culture in their books. All the study material in the school was in Urdu and English, not the language of the people who speak Ladakhi. Examples given in these books were from cultures and symbols from other parts of India and even other countries, leaving the Ladakhi child alienated from his/her own study materials and in a sense from the very purpose of education. Strangely if a Ladkahi child saw a picture related to life here, he/ she would get very surprised and

show it to all the friends!

B u t n o w plenty of books are available w r i t t e n b y tourists and visitors. The visitors who connected in moremeaningful ways with the region, its culture became

also a source of immense learning for the local Ladakhis. Young people now understand the value of culture and read about it more extensively. It also has something to do with the opportunities they now get for using this knowledge. In their work as mountaineering and culture guide for tourists, this ful ls an important and much sought-after requirement.

Based on wisdom passed down the generations, Ladakh has been home to an indigenous form of medicine called the ‘Amchi’system. Over time, its popularity had waned and support for sustaining this ancient form was agging. Of late though, it has invited not just curiosity but keen interest by several tourists who study its principles and would like to bring it back into usage. Such is the quaint charm of this body of knowledge.

On similar lines, Ladakhi traditional songs and dance which were slipping in their popularity giving way to modern beats and forms have now revived. The Ladakh Festival held in September every year at the tail-end of the tourist season to give it one nal

boost before the region shuts down for winter has made this happen. During this, troupes from different regions of Ladakh put up

a colorful, rich fare of their unique forms of traditional songs and dances in Leh, the capital and the hub of tourists.

Several aspects of Ladakhi life and culture had hit rock bottom and are now on the upswing . This includes traditional foods. which were disappearing from kitchen tables and commercial establishments. Modern packaged foods which started making their way into the region, dealt a blow to these initially. Teachers who came from outside infact were known to tell young students, that Ladakhi foods lead to stupid minds. These foods have been revived and home- grown fruits like apricot and sea buckthorn are not only back on the plates but are being processed for jam and juice. The local handicraft industry has also received a shot in the arm. All over trekking trails, small shops selling local craft and clothes have mushroomed in response to the tourist interest.

To be a Ladakhi and to have

a sense of pride and joy in this is

something of a new experience for countless people. To see themselves from the outside to view the richness of their heritage, the unique culture of this breathtakingly beautiful terrain is in no small measure due to the spirit of the travellers. Yes the Ladakhis have no doubt risen to the occasion to put their best foot

forward to welcome its guests!

{This article has been written under the “Sanjoy Ghose Ladakh Women Writers Award 2008-09 }

(Charkha Features)

TOURISM

TOURISM POTENTIAL
TOURISM POTENTIAL
TOURISM POTENTIAL
TOURISM POTENTIAL

POTENTIAL

Medical Tourism with special emphasis on traditional medicines

Tourism with special emphasis on traditional medicines The most meaningful way in which we can handle

The most meaningful way in which we can handle this estimated inux is to integrate the beauty of our land with the holistic healing that it provides

of our land with the holistic healing that it provides T HE PRACTICE of traveling to

T HE PRACTICE of traveling to distant lands in search of a cure for a malaise is not a

new concept. The very fact that there are folk and fairy tales centered on this plot bears testament to the fact that this is a practice that has been in place ever since man has been concerned with the upkeep of his health. There are accounts of how pilgrims and patients came from all over the Mediterranean to the sanctuary of the healing god, Asklepios, at Epidaurus in Greece. In Britain, people flocked to the town of Bath right from Roman times to this day to avail of the healing powers of the natural hot mineral springs. Wealthy Europeans of the 18th century traveled to spas all over Europe, right from Germany to the Nile. Today, thanks to the advances in travel techniques, traveling to another country for medical treatment is no longer

Reba Paul

reserved for the rich and famous. A few decades ago, it was the regular practice of Indians who could afford it, to travel to Western countries in search of expert medical treatment. In the past several years, however, we nd that the situation is unfolding in reverse.

Medical Tourism or Health Tourism is a concept where a patient travels to another country for medical treatment. The reasons patients travel for treatment vary. They may take this option if the facilities in their own country are not up to the standard of what they would like to have, many come for medical treatment because the costs are considerably lower (from a quarter or even a tenth of original cost) in the destination country. Some tourists are here because the insurance systems in their countries require them to wait months, even years for surgeries; or some cannot

afford the exorbitant costs of health care in their own land. For others, becoming a medical tourist is

a chance to combine a tropical

vacation with elective or plastic surgery.

India is considered the leading country promoting medical tourism. This is due to the fact that the medical facilities and healthcare professionals in India are of international standard and healthcare facilities are available at drastically lesser costs than in Western countries. Since it is also one of the most favourable tourist destinations in the world, medical treatment combined with tourism has come into effect, from which the concept of Medical Tourism is derived. An additional advantage is the fact that the English language is widely spoken and understood by the local people. Apart from visitors from Western and European countries, India also has medical tourists coming in from neighboring countries as well as the Middle East. The majority of medical tourists are visiting to avail of services that the Allopathic system has to offer. The most common treatments that are provided to them by hospitals in India are heart surgery, knee, liver and kidney transplants, cosmetic surgery and dental care.

India has over 150000 medical

tourists each year and this gure is rising at a high pace. Currently, the medical tourism market in India

is estimated to be worth over US

$ 300 million with approximately

170,000 foreign patients coming

in every year. The reports estimate that medical tourism to India is growing by 30 per cent a year. This industry is enjoying such a massive growth that it is moving into a new area of "medical outsourcing," where subcontractors provide services to the overburdened medical care systems in western countries.

Traditional Indian medicine

In a developing country like India, alternative medications like Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy have an important role to play in alleviating diseases- both chronic and acute. The cost- effectiveness, low toxicity, efcacy, and few side effects make them invaluable, viable and highly desirable alternatives to modern medicine. The advantage that a country like India has in the aspect of focusing on traditional medicine to appeal to the medical tourist is that - due to the existence and continuation of so many varied cultures and people, alternative and local medical systems have also continued to exist and thrive despite the advent of modern medicine. Apart from modern medical practitioners, there are many indigenous or traditional medical practitioners providing their services throughout the country. There are over 3,000 hospitals with over 700,000 practitioners catering to the needs of traditional Indian healthcare.

Of late, the popularity of these traditional wellness techniques have encouraged Indian hotels to enter the wellness services market

by tying up with professional organizations in a range of wellness fields like Ayurvedic massages. After thorough analysis of the industry, it has been found that the Indian Ayurvedic industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 22% (2009–2012) to reach a value of over US$ 1.3 Billion by 2012 end in the backdrop of rising demand for Ayurvedic therapy and products. The Indian Ayurveda market is currently dominated by the southern markets of Kerala and Karnataka.

One of the key reasons for this dominance is that traditionally this has been the area that has retained the practice of Ayurveda. Kerala, in particular, is famous for being the hub of Ayurveda. The promotion of Ayurveda in health tourism was initiated in 1994 and the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) started Ayurvedic health centres in its premium properties like Hotel Samudra, Kovalam during the same period. The growth rate of the tourists ocking to this state for Ayurveda is increasing at the rate of around 20-25 per cent per annum.

Apart from Ayurveda, there are also the healing systems, or alternative systems of Naturopathy, Unani, Homeopathy that exist on a large scale throughout the Indian subcontinent. Apart from these, which are well known, in certain parts of Kerala there still exists the ancient local systems of the vaidyan (physician) diagnosing the disease from touching certain meridian points in the body, and

then prescribing the necessary herbal medications. Other states in India are sure to have their own such medical systems too. These traditional systems do not have any medical tourists availing of them, despite the fact that they may be the most ancient and accurate of all the healing systems that presently exist.

We have seen how the aspects of cost ef ciency and leisure work in tandem to invite medical tourists to our country, but it would be interesting to examine exactly what we can uniquely offer to the visitor. The efficacy of any indigenous medical system lies in its healing capacity. The allopathic system only possesses the advantages of quick symptom relief and intervention practices such as surgery. Traditional medicine, however, always aims at healing the disease itself, going to the root of the ailment and allowing the body the time and nutrition that it needs to x the problem on its own.

The element of ‘healing’ has not really been focused on a large scale,

and this is possibly the greatest boon that India has to offer to the world in modern times. Only people who have prior knowledge of Ayurveda have a clear understanding of the spectrum of its possibilities. The average tourist only knows it to be

a

source of a good massage, which

is

literally only the tip of the iceberg

if

one considers what Ayurveda and

other alternative treatments have to offer. Apart from reaping the rewards of how healing systems can bene t medical tourists, here

we, as a nation, have a unique opportunity to provide genuine healing and holistic development to the other peoples of the world! If we are able to communicate to the world how advantageous the local healing systems are, we will be able to invite them to our land to participate in the healing of their own bodies in a much more meaningful way. This would mean that it would fall upon our government to identify and build up the facilities etc. at the places that these medical systems are available in order to facilitate the tourists who comes in search of this healing.

A major point that many holistic health practitioners put forward is that unlike allopathic treatments, any holistic treatment requires time to show results in the body. The process of genuine healing always requires time and adequate rest and nutrition. Many medical tourists are not aware of this when their holidays are planned and are therefore not able to avail of many treatments that they would otherwise have been interested in pursuing. It is clear that informing the world on a larger scale about the scope of the healing systems that we have to offer is the rst step that has to be taken. Many traditional treatment centers report cases of foreign tourists coming back repeatedly to avail of follow up treatments for chronic illnesses like paralysis and other internal organ dysfunction – until they

nally obtain complete healing of

the illness. It is therefore clear that if only people would come to know of the possibilities of healing that

these systems offer, there would be more takers.

Currently, the majority of the focus has been on Ayurveda since that is the most widely known healing system. There are several projects that are already catering to medical tourists who come in search of Ayurvedic treatments. In Kerala, The Tourism Development Corporation has tied-up with the Cochin-based Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) which has been receiving patients from 16 countries, including European countries. There is a steady increase in the number of patients coming down for Ayurveda. The Kerala Vaidyashala has a 200-bed hospital in Aluva, Kerala.and also run a 300- bed Ayurvedic section at the Agra branch of Apollo Hospital. The institution known as Vaidyaratnam has more than 1,000 branches all over India, of which 20 are in Kerala, with a 35-bed facility (30 rooms and 5 cottages) each. The Department of Tourism has classi ed all the Ayurvedic centres in two categories-Green Leaf and Olive Leaf and according to the KTDC statistics, almost five lakh foreign tourists come to Kerala annually for Ayurvedic treatments.

There are also several exclusive spas and resorts that focus only on Ayurveda. Foremost among them is the Kalari Kovilakom, which practices the healing techniques prescribed in the texts of the martial art Kalari, as well as Ayurveda. Healing techniques as well as food is specially catered to personal

YE-5/10/5

healing needs. The Ayurveda Gram Heritage Wellness Centre is rated amongst the Top Five Spas or Ayurvedic Health resorts in the country; there are other spas and facilities established by reputed Ayurveda treatment centres such as Vasudeva Vilasam’s Aayukshetram. All of these are in addition to the treatment centres of the famous Arya Vaidyashala, Kottakal , KAPL etc. Holistic healing programmes are offered for allergies, Alzheiemer’s, Anaemia, Arthritis, Asthma, Bronchitis, Depression, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Hepatitis, Impotence, Insomnia, Multiple Sclerosis, Obesity, Parkinson’s disease, Paralysis, and other such chronic ailments which only

have medication solutions in the allopathic system.

According to the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM, domestic ayurvedic industry market which is currently estimated at Rs.3000 crore will go up to over Rs. 5000 crore in next 2 years in view of rising demand for ayurvedic therapy and products. This is due to the fact that major hospital chains in Delhi, NCR and Northern Region as also ayurvedic/ spa centres are gearing up to attract large number of visitors and generate maximum revenue. The most meaningful way in which we can handle this estimated inux is to integrate the beauty of our

land with the holistic healing that it provides. The Western medical practice will always have its place, due to the timely help that it offers. But if we are able to really focus on getting the message across to the world that this subcontinent, that is already an acclaimed tourist destination due to the wide and eclectic mix of experience that it can provide, can also be the source of true holistic healing through the traditional systems of medicine and healing that are available here, then we will be able to approach medical tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too.

(E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com)

tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May
tourism with an absolutely unique angle, and reap its rewards too. (E-mail : rebekaah.paul@gmail.com) YOJANA May

TOURISM

TOURISM OPINION
TOURISM OPINION
TOURISM OPINION
TOURISM OPINION

OPINION

Tourism: Friend or foe of heritage and local well-being?

Tourism: Friend or foe of heritage and local well-being? Tourism sector, which is bene fi ting

Tourism sector, which is bene ting most from heritage should be the rst to invest its effort in this endeavor. If we destroy the heritage which has guided the means of people’s livelihood, on what can India base its future

people’s livelihood, on what can India base its future T OURISM ALL over the world largely

T OURISM ALL over the world largely relies on local heritage and cultural resources. The

cultural wealth of India is not limited to its massive monument and sites, but it is also about its natural landscape and the charm of everyday life including old houses, streets and markets, rituals and festivals, crafts, dances, music and traditional cuisine. Tourism needs to learn how to promote cultural assets in an inclusive manner, if it is ever to be sustainable.

At its best, tourism fosters mutual understanding between nations and cultures and promotes cultural pluralism. India is renowned for the diversity and richness of its cultural heritage, but tourism in this country faces special challenges. Most itineraries focus on a limited number of

destinations, especially the emblematic UNESCO World Heritage sites. High numbers of tourists can threaten the ongoing conservation of these sites, and the quality of the visitors’ experience is further undermined by poor infrastructure and a lack of well- trained guides. From an economic perspective, airlines and big hotel chains benefit from tourism, but there is limited local gain; and the heritage preservation rarely bene ts from the revenue generated by the tourism despite the fact that tourism itself bene ts from the marketing of local natural and cultural heritage.

More worryingly, unplanned growth is seriously undermining the cultural and heritage asset of the country. While India should bless itself for the wealth of its heritage, we need to be also lucid about

Impact of Infrastructure Development on Heritage Buildings the consequences that unchecked exploitation of heritage

Impact of Infrastructure Development on Heritage Buildings

the consequences that unchecked exploitation of heritage resources would entail.

Feasibility studies for heritage tourism development conducted by UNESCO experts in selected heritage town/village in the states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu have highlighted some of the typical factors threatening the survival of heritage assets:

Urban Growth

• Change from residential to commercial usage: Most of the spaces on the front façade of the traditional building are being converted into shops damaging the beauty of the building facades;

• Insensitive addition of new

oors and construction of high

rise buildings mars the aesthetics of built form.

• Sub-division of properties frequently leads to damage to building integrity.

Real Estate Pressure

• Increasing value of real-estate often leads to undermining of heritage properties. Heritage properties are forcefully demolished to make available land for new construction. The reclaimed land is being used to construct new commercial complexes and residential

ats that not only wipe out an

important link with the past but also are totally out of context

and mar the visual appeal of the historic area.

P o o r

infrastructures

/

u n p l a n n e d

• In many instances, waste

is being dumped into traditional

water tanks or being collected in traditional open spaces.

• Absence of sewerage system has lead to surface drainage issues resulting in damage to heritage structures

• Jumble of overhead electric wires and iron poles in heritage areas, are not only unsafe but also affect the aesthetics of the place.

Lack of regulatory protection:

• Conservation laws and regulation are not in place

• Absence of heritage sensitive T&C Planning norms

• Non-existent enforcement of basic regulations

I n a d e q u a t e conservation:

m e a n s

o f

• Lack of professional and locally relevant information on how best to preserve, protect and ensure the continuity of heritage resources

• Unavailability of traditional building materials

• Reducing availability of skilled craftsmen

• Paucity of nancial resources for conservation initiatives

Heritage is the core resource of tourism. This precious resource should not be depleted while we exploit it. After a frenzy of tourism

expansion over the past decades, there is perhaps a need for tourism

Events, festivals, sound and light shows etc. must be developed while respecting the integrity of

Events, festivals, sound and light shows etc. must be developed while respecting the integrity of the site.

actors to pause and take a realistic look at where they stand in terms of tourism, heritage conservation and the fundamental objectives of growth.

Giving local population a chance to benefit economically from tourism is another vital factor in preserving the local heritage and culture. Tourism development strategy which does not secure the support of local population can never be sustainable. Hand in hand with this goes a strategy to help local communities appreciate the importance of preserving the local heritage and culture that constitute. In the context of growing globalization and urbanization, the cultural monuments on one’s own doorstep can easily be seen as unfashionable or unimportant.

Many villages, towns and cities of India have suffered and are still suffering from a general disregard for historical structures other than major temples and monuments. Promoting an appreciation of their rich cultural heritage amongst local population is therefore very important, and will become easier as the local population beings to benet from the tourism.

To address some of the above concerns, UNESCO New Delhi office has initiated since 2006 a series of studies and projects aiming at mainstreaming heritage conservation in the development process. These include the advocacy for and technical support towards the development of a Regional Heritage Planning, aimed at expanding the scope of heritage protection from a

single monument to overall cultural landscape including vernacular houses, streets, public spaces and natural environment and human activities. This also involves linking major heritage sites to other neighbouring villages sharing similar heritage background. Investing in a heritage protection at a larger regional scale is benecial, not only in view of maintaining beauty and outstanding value of the area but also of expanding the economic benet of tourism from a single area to a larger zone.

Another important work of UNESCO New Delhi is the constitution of Indian Heritage Cities Network with the endorsement of the Ministry of Urban Development. Targeting municipal authorities, conservation architects and urban

planners, the Network provides a platform for cities to share knowledge and expertise on heritage conservation in the context of growing urbanization. Among its many activities, the Network provides technical support for each member city to create a heritage cell within the municipality, translate heritage de nition and sensitivity into laws and urban planning system and develop a heritage work itinerary. Well-maintained historical areas of a city is a vital asset for urban regeneration, as demonstrated by numerous successful cases of European cities in reviving their economy around the promotion of their historical areas.

Public awareness-raising on the importance of heritage is yet another important mandate of our Organization. Introduced in 2007 with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Indian Cultural Heritage Specialist Guide Programme aims to improve knowledge and skill of tour guides so as to enhance the pedagogical and cultural experience of the travellers and to increase their respect for the conservation of heritage sites. Steering interest amongst youth towards heritage through school activities is another project in the pipeline.

As proponent puts it, tourism could be a tool for heritage

conservation, local empowerment, poverty alleviation and urban regeneration; this however, only if it is well planned and properly strategized on a basis of right heritage sensitivity. Having a solid Conservation and Sustainable Management Plan of heritage sites, buildings and areas is a vital and incompressible step to achieve such goal. And, tourism sector, which is bene ting most from heritage should be the rst to invest its effort in this endeavor. If we destroy the heritage which has guided the means of people’s livelihood, on what can India base

its future?

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TOURISM

PLANNING

Eco Tourism : a tool for Community Upliftment

PLANNING Eco Tourism : a tool for Community Upliftment Tourism stimulates cultural activities and leads to

Tourism stimulates cultural activities and leads to improved understanding of each other and better relations between the tourists and the hosts

and better relations between the tourists and the hosts T OURISM – A Driving Force for

T OURISM – A Driving Force for Poverty Alleviation, Job Creation and Social Harmony was the theme for World

Tourism Day celebrated on the 27th September 2003 - a most meaningful and apt description of the significance of tourism and its relevance to the developing countries of the world. Though Tourists have been described by academics in several scholarly ways, a simple and clear denition is the one that emerged from the UN Conference on International Travel and Tourism (Rome: 1963). An International Tourist was de ned as “a person who visits another country for purposes of pleasure, vacation, recuperation of health, pilgrimage, games and sports, business, a family trip, a mission, or for meetings and conferences and resides for a least twenty-four hours in the country of his visit.” For domestic tourists, the rst phrase has to be replaced by “persons who travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment.”

P P Shrivastav

Among leisure activities, tourism has developed worldwide into one of the most popular, if not the most popular, activity and big business. Forecasts of the World Tourism Organization indicate that international tourism will continue to grow at the average annual rate of 4 %. The number of international tourist arrivals stood at over 922 millions in 2008 which re ected an overall growth of 1.9% over the arrivals in 2007. However, global recession, terrorism and spread of Swine-Flu epidemic took their toll and international tourists in 2009 are estimated to have dropped down by 4%. The receipts from them in 2008 were estimated at US $ 944 billion. These dropped by 6% in 2009. This shows how sensitive tourism sector is to such disconcerting occurrences.

With such high volume of receipts, tourism has become a thriving industry. It catalyses national economy and has the potential to improve local environment and upgrade the quality of goods and

services (especially in the elds of transportation, hotels and catering, handicrafts). It also generates new avenues of employment for the local youth. Tourism stimulates cultural activities and leads to improved understanding of each other and better relations between the tourists and the hosts. At the national level, it brings in precious foreign exchange, a vital factor for many countries. In fact, tourism is the principal foreign exchange earner for around 83% of the developing countries of the world.

Eco-tourism has been de ned by TIES (The International Ecotourism Society) in 1990 as "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." This is perhaps the most significant type of tourism (and the most relevant to us) among the various types into which tourism has been categorized (on basis of the purpose and destination) by academics and the Industry. For the purposes of this write-up, most of such categories, viz., cultural tourism, geo-tourism, heritage tourism, wildlife tourism, adventure tourism, religious tourism, winter tourism, medical tourism, etc. could logically be considered under the broad umbrella of eco-tourism.

Our country presents a kaleidoscopic variety of attractive destinations both for domestic and international tourists in general and for genuine eco-tourists in particular. It was the chosen destination for 1.43 lakh international tourists in the year 2006 and for 1.57 lakh in 2007, but the gure dropped to 1.42 lakh in 2008 for reasons that have been mentioned earlier.

The North Eastern Region of our country offers unique and

unmatched virgin destinations for eco-tourists on account of the vivid diversity in terrain, environment, climate, ethnicity, culture, language, food habits, dresses and so on which the states have to offer. Around 3.88 crore people, i.e., 3.79% of the country’s population, comprising 400-odd communities, speaking over 200 languages and dialects, each with its own cultural tradition, are spread over 2.62 lakh sq km area. Small habitations present a most colourful and kaleidoscopic variety for the visitors - both domestic and international. High hills and vales of the snow-bound Himalayan Ranges in the north and the low hills of Patkoi range below encompass the discrete plains and two major river systems -the mighty Brahmaputra in the north and Barak in the south- into which drain the fast-owing rivers, rivulets and streams gushing down from steep hills. These endow NER with a wide range of geo-climatic pro les, from heavy to very heavy rains (226mm to 602mm) during the four monsoon months of June to September. Areas near Cherrapunji in south Meghalaya get the maximum rainfall in the world.

A forest cover of 56.9% has made NER into a bio-diversity hot-spot. With over one-third of the country’s bio-diversity assets, NER is very rich in ora (7500 owering plants, 700 orchids, 58 bamboos, 64 citrus, 28 Conifers, 58 Bamboos, 700 ferns, 500 mosses, 728 lichen species, 64 citrus varieties) and fauna (3,624 insect, 50 mollusc, 236 sh, 64 amphibians, 137 reptiles, 541 birds and 166 mammalian species).

Geo-tourism provides creative link between man, nature and

culture and has tremendous potential for attracting tourists in the North- Eastern Region and 26 geo-parks have been demarcated for the same. “Geo-park” is dened as a nationally protected area containing a number of geological heritage sites of particular importance, rarity, and aesthetic appeal. Its theme includes conservation, education and tourism to stimulate economic activity, local enterprises and cottage industries.

Geo-tourism assets of NER include snowbound peaks, awe- inspiring mountain ranges of the Himalayas with sheer drops and narrow passes, lakes, hotsprings, picturesque towns like Tawang and fascinating hill-tracks and forest trails of Arunachal Pradesh; the world’s largest River Island – Majuli, the world-famous Kaziranga and other games sanctuaries, reserve forests, thermal and sulphur springs and impressive heritage sites of Assam; the intricate cave- formations, panoramic Seven Sisters Waterfall and other water- falls resulting from the Dawki Fault System, Barapani Sheer Zone etc, the Dinosaur fossil remains in Ranikhor area of Meghalaya, the beautiful Loktak Lake, the Yairipak Fossil Park etc of Manipur; the beautiful Aizawl, capital city of Mizoram built along the antiformal hinge zone of an interbedded sequence of sandstone-shale of the Bhuban Formation of Milocene Age; the enchanting Japfu Peak, the picturesque Dzukou Valley of Nagaland; the glacial Changu Lake, Nathu La Pass, hotsprings and breathtaking beauty of the landscape of Sikkim; fossil-wood parks in Udaipur district and several heritage sites of Tripura; all these and many more to fascinate the genuine geo-tourist and make him

want to come year after year. With all these assets, the NE Region

is a paradise for Eco-tourism

which is committed to preserving

and sustaining the diversity of the world's natural and cultural environments.

Eco-tourism is considered to be the fastest growing market in the tourism industry. According to the World Tourism Organization, with an annual growth rate of 5% worldwide and representing 6% of the world gross domestic product and 11.4% of all consumer spending - it is not a market to be taken lightly. Now it is for the local youth to avail of the opportunity and take to entrepreneurship in the tourism industry.

If the educated unemployed village youth take to imaginative entrepreneurship in their own villages at appropriate locations,

there would be no dearth of business for them. The international tourist

is generally bored with the 5-star

hotel accommodation which has

the same ethos the world over.

A good beginning would be to

start with accommodation for tourists. Cottages with indigenous

architectural design built on stilts to look similar to other buildings in the village, but with good comfortable interiors and 5-star cleanliness within and around, will be a great

hit among all tourists, especially the

genuine eco-tourists. The habit of cleanliness will have to be imparted among the villagers. Support of rural development schemes like Bharat Nirman could easily be secured to get the basic amenities (road connectivity, water supply, electrication, telephone line, rural health, rural irrigation etc) for such villages. The need for maintaining these services would open up new

livelihood opportunities for the local youth. With the current emphasis on vocational training, it should not be difcult to organise training of the local youth. Dibrugarh University has already taken a lead in starting specialised courses on tourism. It

is encouraging to note that all those

who completed the courses have secured placement in the industry.

Running of camping sites for the tourists would need the services largely of the local youth, with some trained experts as key personnel. Catering would need some experts assisted by local staff. The menu should include some local delicacies. Fruits and vegetables, meat, milk, poultry, eggs and sh should be procured locally. Some families in the village could easily expand their cattle, poultry and shery stock to meet the enhanced demand of these items and earn cash from this business. Some youth could nd employment as guides. The local weavers (who are predominantly women) and artisans would get opportunity to exhibit and sell their products. With increase in demand, new designs that suit the tastes and needs of tourists could be developed and the sales enhanced. Enhancement of income, especially among women would in itself promote women empowerment in the community.

Many such ventures have come up in the vicinity of well known tourist resorts like the Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary and they are

doing very well. What is needed is

a network of small ventures dotted

throughout NER in the vicinity of all sites and locations with the potential for developing tourism. The State Tourism Departments would need to pay special attention to such small ventures that generate

employment for the educated unemployed and other village youth near their homes. That would hasten the process of improvement of rural environment and rural industry like weaving, handicrafts and of civic and other services in rural areas. With the high percentage of literacy in NER, once such a process is initiated by our enterprising youth, it will expand fast to cover the entire village, with each household contributing to the collective prosperity of the community and the neighbouring villages emulating the example.

The Vision of the Industries Sector in the Regional Planning by the North Eastern Council envisages building up of rm foundation of grass-root level small industrial units/clusters spread across NER, of production/processing facilities and services at the level of household, community and entrepreneurs, for value addition to the local produce set up and protably run by properly trained and enabled youth, farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs; a foundation that can support the super-structure of higher-end of secondary sector in NER.

The North Eastern Regional Education Council has also proposed a special holistic one year course of training-cum-handholding primarily for the educated- unemployed youth who are keen to take to entrepreneurship. The DPR for the Project has been received recently and is under examination. That would be of special bene t to those interested in promotion of Eco-Tourism as a tool for initiating uplift of the community especially in the villages where over 84% of the people of NER live.

(E-mail : ppshri@gmail.com)

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NORTH EAST DIARY

ECO-TOURISM IN RURAL ARUNACHAL

O n the lines of Sikkim Village Tourism model, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), as part of its endeavour to strengthen the rural economy, has sanctioned three environment-friendly rural tourism projects to Hong, Siibey and Biiri village in Ziro Valley

under Lowe Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The project was sanctioned to Young Mission Adventure Club, a local NGO based in Itanagar, which has been actively engaged in tourism related activities with the support of NABARD and other agencies.

Sikkim has been successfully implementing the village tourism project for income and employment generation during the past few years.

The objective of the project is to develop a replicable rural tourism model in Ziro area through capacity building of village community to cater to the tourists in home stays, promotion of villages as eco-tourism villages, develop villages as community based tourist spots, increase community participation level and generation of self-employment for educated unemployed youths, school drop-outs, house-wives and self- help groups (SHGs).

The Lower Subansiri District Level Tourism Monitoring Committee would be monitoring the project for its successful implementation within a period of one year. With the collective efforts and involvement of various stakeholders, the Bank’s maiden venture is expected to give boost to the development of replicable model for growth of rural tourism in the State.

MOVE TO BOOST RADIO COVERAGE

T o boost radio coverage in the north eastern region, 19 new FM stations are being set up by Prasar Bharati (PB) during the next nancial year with a budgetary allocation of Rs. 40 crore.

The new FM stations are envisaged to be set up under the North-east Special Package. The package would strengthen and improve coverage in the region including the border areas, according to the Outcome Budget (2010-11) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

According to the report, out of the 19 sites, 15 sites have been nalized. Remaining four sites in Tamenglong and Ukhrul in Manipur Zunehboto in Nagaland and Anini in Arunachal Pradesh are yet to be acquired.

The report said that FM stations in Goalpara, Lumding, Bomdila, Daporijo, Khonsa, Tuipang, Champai and Kolasib are targeted for completion by June. Work in Karimganj, Cherapunjee, Wokha and Phek is expected to start by March, said the report.

The report has stated that in Goalpara, Chemphai, Phek and Kolasib a high-powered transmission line, which is passing through the allotted land, is yet to be shifted by local PWD. This is hampering the progress.

(Courtesy : Newspapers)

TOURISM

PROSPECTS

Rural Tourism in India

TOURISM PROSPECTS Rural Tourism in India Once infrastructure reaches to villages nothing can stop a mini-

Once infrastructure reaches to villages nothing can stop a mini- boom in tourism industry in India and its penetration deep inside the unexplored countryside

and its penetration deep inside the unexplored countryside "T HE SOUL of India lives in its

"T HE SOUL of India lives in its villages,” said the father of the nation, M K

Gandhi. Almost after a century it still holds true for India. More than seventy percent of the country’s population live in villages. The major challenges before our policy makers are to draft policies to eliminate poverty, generate employment and develop infrastructure in the rural areas.

Rural tourism is one such sector, which has tremendous potential to resolve these issues to a great extent and also bridge the gap between the rural and urban people. Though the sector might be new for India, internationally it has been well recognized and considered as an important part of rural economy.

In European countries it started as early as 1950. In France, agro- tourism started in 1950 and today nearly 2.8 % of the farmers (about

Vijay Thakur

20,000 farmers) offer their services to tourists interested in rural tourism. Likewise in Spain, it started in the eighties and the country has nearly 7,000 rural resorts comprising 50,000 beds for people interested in visiting the countryside. In United Kingdom, rural tourism started in mid seventies, and today it is a strategic force in the rural economy. Overall speaking, in Europe 2-5 % farmers are directly or indirectly engaged in rural tourism.

In countries like Australia, Ukraine, Canada, Philippine, Italy agriculture tourism is emerging as a mini-boom to the rural economy. According to USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), tourism in rural areas is becoming increasingly important to the US economy.

According to a conservative estimate made by the Federal Reserve Board in Kansas, which studied 2000 data, the basic travel

and tourism industries accounted for 3.6 % of US employment. The Travel Industry Association of America further revealed that one out of every 18 people in the US has a job directly resulting from travel expenditures. Though it did not specify the rural and urban tourism industry, the fact that tourism in rural areas is growing faster than urban areas explains the future of agriculture tourism.

In India, Rural tourism started in mid nineties, when some entrepreneurs and some NGOs started exploring the possibilities of rural tourism. One of the pioneers in this eld is M R Morarka Rural Research Foundation. It rst trained villagers in Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, encouraged them for organic farming and introduced the concept of Farm Eco Tourism and Heritage Conservation in 1995. The foundation trained villagers with the basics of hospitality industry and then promoted the Shekhawati arts and culture abroad to attract foreign tourist. The result was impressive, within a decade the inow of foreign tourists increased seven to ten times—a remarkable achievement by any standards.

There are many success stories like M R Morarka Rural Research Foundation, which turned the tourism pattern in the respective regions. Besides, there are also many entrepreneurs who left their promising careers and developed rural resorts to write a new chapter of Indian tourism industry.

Government Initiative

After the encouraging results of initial efforts made by the

pioneering NGOs and entrepreneurs, Government of India of late has realized what rural tourism can offer to the world. It has decided to promote the rural tourism. The policy makers now accept that rural tourism is a major vehicles for generating employment and promoting sustainable livelihood.

The Tourism Ministry in partnership with the UNDP (United Nation Development Programme), launched a Rural Tourism Scheme in 2002 to showcase the cultural heritage of rural India and to leverage this opportunity to generate livelihood opportunities for rural communities.

The Endogenous Tourism Project (ETP) of UNDP and the Ministry of Tourism selected 30 NGOs and four gram Panchayat spread in 20 states for the rural tourism promotion. The project promoted people’s institutions, developed skills for hospitality and marketing in 36 sites of the 139 rural tourism destinations.

The project was not only globally recognized, but also received the “World Travel Award 2006” in the category “World’s leading responsible Tourism Project”. Other than this, some of the developed tourist sites received international rewards for best destinations. In 2006 Samodh in Rajasthan and Kumbalanghi in Eranakulam district Kerala received National Award for the best tourism site. In 2007, Aranmula in Kerala received the coveted PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) gold award for cultural tourism. Similarly in

2008, Karaikundi in Tamil Nadu received the National award for the best destination.

The long list of receipt of tourism awards shows the overwhelming response to the rural tourism industry and also the seriousness of the tourism ministry in taking up the challenge. Yet, the pilot project is nothing when we consider the fact that there are around seven lakh villages in India and also that more than 70 % of our population live in villages.

Rural Infrastructure

No village tourism can thrive until there is adequate infrastructure in rural India. Unlike European nations where 2-5 % farmers are engaged agro-tourism, it is not a realistic gure to achieve in India until we have proper roads to connect villages, regular power supply, drinking water supply, and work force trained in hospitality industry.

Government is making efforts to connect villages with roads and electrify all the left over villages. The Ministry is laying emphasis on the rural areas which are already well connected to the roads, have basic minimum amenities and has historical importance. Government is also focusing on the preservation and enrichment of natural and cultural resources to ensure positive impact on environment protection and community development in the country.

Marketing of Rural Tourism

Rural India has much to offer to the world. Rich in traditions

of arts, crafts and culture, rural India can emerge as important tourist spots. Those in the developed world who have a craze for knowledge about traditional ways of life, arts and crafts will be attracted to visit rural India if the concept of rural tourism is marketed well.

One of the major problems in village tourism is that return on investment is very low. People avoid investing money in rural areas fearing that the project would not be nancially viable. Unlike cities areas where return and results are immediate, in farm tourism return and results are very low and late and the investors have to put lots of money in its product promotion vis-à-vis an urban project.

Here comes the role of the government to promote this sector and market on behalf of the farmers—who have little money and skill to market their project in the international market. Some States like Haryana, and Kerala have already been promoting their project domestically as well as internationally. They do the booking as well as market the village resorts to help the entrepreneurs.

Even the Indian Association of Tour and Travel Operators—the umbrella organization of the country’s tour and travel operators—have also come in support of the village tourism and asked its operators to market village destinations abroad in various forms including farm tourism, eco tourism, or adventure tourism.

Future

Experience in rural tourism have suggested that even in the absence of any promotional activity, thousands of foreign tourists visit rural areas in

Rajasthan, Gujarat and South India every year. This itself is the proof of the viability of the concept of rural tourism. And once infrastructure reaches to villages and the concept is marketed well domestically and internationally, nothing can stop a mini-boom in tourism industry in India and its penetration deep inside the unexplored countryside. The success story of Ukraine

can happen in India as well.

(E-mail : vijaythakurx@gmail.com)

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TOURISM

TOURISM PERSPECTIVE
TOURISM PERSPECTIVE
TOURISM PERSPECTIVE
TOURISM PERSPECTIVE

PERSPECTIVE

Overseas Patients Knocking the Doors of Indian Hospitals

Overseas Patients Knocking the Doors of Indian Hospitals Patients from overseas opt for treatment in India

Patients from overseas opt for treatment in India for two main reasons - the procedures they need are either not available in their own country or the price differential is signi cant

own country or the price differential is signi fi cant F OR SOME time now, p

F OR SOME time now, p a t i e n t s f r o m t h e developed world have been ocking to India to

seek safe, high quality and economical health care options. The advantages of availing health care services in India are obvious. The cost of medical services in India is almost 30 per cent lower than that in western nations and the cheapest in South East Asia. Internationally accredited health facilities, highly qualied English speaking physicians, surgeons and hospital support staff, excellent services by Indian hospitals in cardiology, cardio thoracic surgery, joint replacement, cosmetic treatment, dental care and orthopaedic surgery, are other crucial factors that have encouraged medical travel to India. The cost of infertility treatment in India is almost one-fourth that of developed nations. People also come for rejuvenation offered by Yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic massage.

Tripti Nath

According to Wikipedia Encyclopedia, medical tourism dates back to thousands of years when Greek pilgrims travelled from all over the Mediterranean to the small territory in the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria. The territory was the sanctuary of the healing God Asklepios. Epidauria became the original travel destination for medical tourism. Spa towns and sanitariums may be considered an early form of medical tourism. In eighteenth century England, patients visited spas that were meant to have health giving mineral waters, treating disease from gout to liver disorders and bronchitis. In modern times, over 50 countries have identied medical tourism as a national industry. A study by the Confederation of Indian Industry projects that health tourism has such lucrative potential that it could become a US $ 2.3 billion (Rs 100 billion) business by 2012. India’s National Health Policy favours supply of health services to patients

of foreign origin on payment.

says that rendering of such services on payment in foreign exchange will be treated as “ deemed export” and will be deemed “eligible for all

scal incentives extended to export earnings.’’

In 2004, India recorded visits of 1,50,000 foreigners for treatment. The numbers have been rising by 15 per cent every year. The Ministry of Tourism has been promoting India as a major hub for medical tourism which is being hailed as a huge business opportunity and a major source of foreign exchange earnings. A CII-McKinsey study on healthcare says that medical tourism alone can generate Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 crore additional revenue for upmarket tertiary hospitals by 2012. Government run hospitals and super speciality centres in the private sector use their foreign patient base as a tool to enhance their image and credibility.

It

Hospitals in the private sector are offering facilities for paediatric and cardiac surgeries, eye care, liver transplants, orthopaedic surgeries and treatment for cancer. The success story of medical tourism in India would be incomplete without a deserving mention of Dr Parthap.C. Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Group of hospitals. He is credited with conceptualizing India as an emerging tourist destination more than a decade back. DrAnupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo group of hospitals, says that it is the high quality low cost proposition that attracts patients to their hospitals in India. “We are also getting patients from the developed

world for the same reasons. They come either to beat the wait list or because they don’t have insurance cover. Ten per cent of our patients are foreigners and come for top end procedures in cardiac surgery, liver transplants, joint replacement, oncology treatment, paediatric surgery and neuro surgery.

Dr Mahipal Sachdev, Chairman, Centre for Sight group of hospitals, says that patients from overseas opt for treatment in India for two main reasons- the procedures they need are either not available in their own country or the price differential is significant. “Our centre in South Delhi gets between 20 to 30 patients from abroad every month. About two-thirds of them are for eye treatment for cataract surgeries and other conditions as retinal detachment and corneal transplant. They come from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Nepal. Persons who have suffered eye injuries during con ict in Afghanistan and Iraq, also come to us for treatment. A large segment of patients from the developed countries such as Japan, Libya, Malaysia, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States come to us for laser vision correction for removal of spectacles. Laser vision correction is expensive and a cosmetic surgery that is not covered by insurance anywhere.”

Travel facilitators are making the most of the comparative cost advantage enjoyed by India’s health care system and are connecting overseas patients to Indian hospitals that offer customized services of interpreters, private staff and dedicated chef to make

them feel at home. The Delhi based Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre has a separate international desk that handles inquiries of overseas patients and then refers them to the concerned department. The number of adult patients from overseas who come to Escorts constitute 10 per cent of the total number of patients. Dr T.S. Kler, Director, Cardiology, Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre says, “ Patients from US and UK who have been advised bypass surgery by doctors back home, prefer to travel all the way to India as they get quality treatment which is manifold cheaper here. Apart from US and UK, we get patients for bypass surgery and children suffering from congenital heart diseases from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Europe, Middle East, Iran and Iraq."

While the earnings accrued from medical tourism are welcome, some senior doctors want the government to take a hard look to review how medical tourism is putting a burden on our health care system. Some among them feel that by catering to foreign patients who can pay better, we are compromising with the medical needs of some of our own needy patients.

By opening its hospital doors to foreigners, the private health care system in India has helped the international community acknowledge the strength of India’s highly competent and committed doctors. Having regained their health in the Indian hospitals, they no longer dismiss India as a country of snake charmers and elephants.

(Email : triptinath@gmail.com)

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TOURISM

TOURISM FOCUS
TOURISM FOCUS
TOURISM FOCUS
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FOCUS

An Alternative Strategy for Cultural and Economic Development of Orissa

Strategy for Cultural and Economic Development of Orissa The state of Orissa can be an attractive

The state of Orissa can be an attractive tourist destination if the tourism industry is properly encouraged

destination if the tourism industry is properly encouraged I NDIA IS one of the few countries

I NDIA IS one of the few countries of the world with an array of tourism resources – from bio-cultural diversity

to a wealth of histories and antiquities. Tourism being a highly labour intensive industry offers employment to both the semi-skilled and un-skilled local population. Besides, providing employment to a large number of people, tourism can also be the instrument of regional policy aimed at achieving an equitable balance between major industrial areas and the rest of the country. The World Tourism Organisation acknowledges that tourism is the fastest growing economic sector, bringing foreign exchange earnings

to countries and creating jobs. Tourism as a source of income is not easy to measure, at least with any degree of accuracy. This is because of the multiplier effect. The

ow of money generated by tourist spending multiplies as it passes

Murali Dhar Majhi

through various sections of the economy through the operation of multiplier effect. Tourism remains basically a cultural phenomenon. One way of hastening the benecial effects resulting from tourism is to bring the cultural heritage into the economic circuit. The development of tourism appears to be a rational approach which contributes unique benets in exploiting and preserving the cultural heritage of an area and at the same time developing the national wealth. The circle thus closes, cultural and tourist economy, instead of standing in opposition, derives reciprocal advantage from one another.

Growth Factors

As a nation India is wealthier now and Indians have higher expectations of travel and tourism. Most people travel abroad and expect to take least one holiday a year. The population is better educated now, leading to increased

personal incomes. Globalisation has created more awareness of the world and its possibilities, making people more curious about different cultures and languages and keen to experience them. Modern modes of transportation allow more people and products to travel around the world at a faster pace. Internet has also facilitated the travel agents and tour agents in presenting their products and services and accepting bookings online. At present India’s tourism is experiencing a period of strong growth, driven by the burgeoning Indian middle class, growth in high spending foreign tourists and coordinated government campaigns to promote “Incredible India”. Tourist arrivals are projected to increase by over 22 percent annually through

2010, with a 33 percent increase in foreign exchange earnings.

Rediscovering the Tourism of Orissa

Tourism in Orissa boasts of beautiful beaches, lakes and forests teeming wildlife, rich cultural heritage/monuments, ethno- handicrafts from various ethnic groups, colourful fairs and festivals, music and ethnic dances. Tourism has been recognized as an industry in Orissa and sizeable revenue is earned for the state from domestic as well as foreign tourists. The Orissa Tourism Development Corporation was created in March 1979 and it was incorporated under the Companies Act in September 1979 (Govt. of Orissa, 2002). Against

this background an alternative strategy with a specic programme of actions aimed at development of tourism in Orissa, socially, culturally and economically is the prime need of the hour.

Pilgrimage tourism

The innumerable temples of Orissa scattered through the length and breadth of the state, ranging from the miniature on the Mahendragiri to the gigantic Jagannath, Lingaraj and Sun temple of the Golden Traingle appeal to both pilgrims and cultural tourists. Puri the site of famous Lord Jagannath temple and one of the world’s most spectacular devotional processions, the Ratha Yatra is ooded by devotees during most of the time of the year. In western part of Orissa,

Emerging dimensions of tourism in Orissa
Emerging dimensions of tourism in Orissa

Sambalpur and Sonepur towns are famous for a separate style of temple artitecture. In addition, Orissa also well known as a Buddhist and Jain pilgrimage destination. The rock-cut caves of Khandagiri and Udayagiri explains the hitherto obscure history of Orissa. A place sacred to all, the Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, Orissa is a much venerated pilgrimage spot for devotees.

Nature tourism

Orissa is the perfect spot to get drenched in the nature’s endowments. The owing streams and forests at Nrusinghanath in Bargarh district, Harishankar in Bolangir district, Patalaganga in Nawapara district, Ushakothi, Hirakud and Badrama in Sambalpur district, the Khandadhar waterfall in Sundargarh district are the famous spots of tourist attraction. The Nandan Kanan National Park is a picturesque park and offers an exceptional prospect to its ora and fauna to thrive in its most natural environment. The lush green forest of Ushakothi and Similipal lled with the chirping of birds and a rich wild life are ideal for the development of eco-tourism in Orissa.

Village tourism

The majestic Mahanadi gorge at Tikarpara, with added attraction of the crocodile sanctuary, the migratory millions of Olive Ridley turtles to Gahiramatha, the bird paradise of Chilika lake are viable tourist destinations from commercial point of view. Precipitous waterfalls at a number of places including Bagra, Duduma, Pradhanpat and Joranda are ideal for summer

tourism. The winter tourism may focus on the hot sulphur springs at Atri, Taptapani, Deulajhari and Tarabalo. The winter tableau may also be experienced in places resembling the Himalayan valley- that is Daringibadi in Phulbani district and the Sunabeda plateau in Koraput district.

Ethno tourism

The unique tribal culture distinct by its intimacy with nature is a treasure for ethno tourism in Orissa. Attracting ‘ethnic tourists’ from west by aggressive marketing of our rural potentials forms the base of ethno tourism. The wood carvings of the Kandhas of Koraput region, metal works by lost wax process among the Bathudis of Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj and decoration of houses by coloured plastering of earth by Kandhas are really things of attraction to outsiders. The necklaces of coloured beads of Bonda women, tribal jewellery of Gadaba and Dongria Kandha women are expressions of their artistic and aesthetic quality. All these arts and crafts if properly developed and marketed can become the good sources of tourist attraction. The melodious songs, dances, bison horn headgear, musical instruments used by tribals and their colourful costumes and ornaments are the greatest attractions for outside visitors and guests. The picturesque Alasi eld on the Donger land, the sacred groves where tribal deities are worshipped, youth dormitories (Dhangada Ghar and Dhangidi Ghar), festivities like Chaita Parab, Pusha Parab and rural ‘haat’ are boon to ethno tourism. To make the

tribal jewellery contemporary to suit the urban choice, they are trained to improvise on the traditional ones. Their forest collections like Sabai grass craft, wood painting and carvings, horn crafts, golden grass crafts, bamboo and cane crafts, brooms, honey and medicinal herbs including Nux-vomica presents a wider marketability of ethno scientic knowledge. To attract the ethnic tourists from west the department of tourism along with other agencies should make joint promotional efforts and be tagged with local art and craft making. Tourists coming to Konark-Puri-Bhabaneswar then only go to Keonjhar to see the life style of Juanga tribal, visit Khiching, explore Similipal and while on way to Bhubaneswar might go to Chandipur and Bhitarkanika.Arange of indigenous works like Dokra, Terracota, Palm leaf engravings, Patta and Tusur paintings, Silver ligree, Lacquered crafts, Coconut shell work, sea shell work, brass and bell metal crafts, coir crafts can be linked to global market and presents stage for tribal creativity.

Leisure tourism

The traditional fairs and festivals of Orissa, observed with colourful ceremony are Dhanu Yatra at Bargarh, Sitalsasthi at Sambalpur, Nila Parva at Chandaneswar, and the Chhou dance at Baripada. The State is also rich in folk dances, including Odissi, Gotipua Nacha, Palla, and Danda Nacha. Tribal folk dances such as 'dhemsa' and 'chau', plus other different forms, enrich the folk dance repertoire of the State. In addition to these traditional dances, special dance

 

Table 1: Distribution of Tourist ow to Orissa in different years

 

Year

Domestic

% change

Foreign

% change

Total

% change

1999

2691840

5.9

25758

22.2

2717598

6.1

2000

2888392

7.3

23723

7.9

2912115

7.2

2001

3100316

7.3

22854

3.7

3123170

7.2

2002

3413352

10.1

23034

0.8

3436386

10.03

2003

3701250

8.4

25020

8.6

3726270

8.4

2004

4125536

11.5

28817

15.2

4154353

11.5

2005

4632976

12.3

33310

15.6

4666286

12.3

2006

5239896

13.1

39141

17.5

5279037

13.1

2007

5944890

13.4

41880

7.0

5986770

13.4

2008

58445

6.9

43966

5.0

6402411

6.9

Source: Govt. of Orissa, Dept. of Tourism and Culture, Bhubaneswar.

 

Table 2: Orissa’s share in India Tourist Arrival

 

Year

India (In Nos)

Orissa (In Nos)

Share

1999

2358629

33101

1.40

2000

2481928

25758

1.04

2001

2649378

23723

0.90

2002

2537282

22854

0.90

2003

2384364

23034

0.96

2004

3457477

28817

0.83

2005

3918160

33310

0.85

2006

4447167

39141

0.88

2007

5081504

41880

0.88

2008

5366966

43966

0.82

Source: Govt. of Orissa, Dept. of Tourism and Culture, Bhubaneswar.

and cultural programs like the Konark Festival (at Konark), the Adivasi Festival at Bhubaneswar, and the beach festival at Puri, are also organised every year. The Zilla Mahostavas organised every year in different districts and the district level cultural festivals (such as Parav in Koraput and Malyabanta in Malkangiri) also attract tourists locally and from further afield. Souvenirs of cultural interest are made by the tie and dye textiles of Western Orissa, popularly known

as sambalpuri textiles, the appliqué works of Pipili, the horn and soap stone works of Puri, the patta paintings of Raghurajpur and the silver ligree of Cuttack.

Table-1 shows a disturbing trend of tourist ow to Orissa. The inflow of both domestic and foreign tourist to Orissa is declining. Moreover the share of Orissa in India’s tourist arrival shows a miserable trend. Being less than one percent of share in last decade compels policy

makers for adoption of more reform and incentive package in tourism sector. There was a mere 4.12 per cent increase in earnings in rupee terms in the corresponding period (2008-09) than the previous year.

Weaknesses of tourism in Orissa

The following are the weaknesses of tourism in Orissa.

L a c k

development

o f

i n f r a s t r u c t u r e

as

as

well

poor connectivity to tourist destinations

• Lack of commercial attitude in recovering the cost of capital assets generated in tourist spots

• Inef cient marketing strategy of officials as well as local inhabitants

• Paucity of fund allocation for tourism development

Impact of tourism on different sectors in Orissa

Environmental

Beach resorts, amusement parks and other tourism developments causes ecological damage, including deforestation, destruction of mangroves and pollution of rivers and lakes.

Social

Tourism has often brought social problems including exploitation and trafficking of women and children for sex and/ or cheap labour, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and the sale and use of

illegal drugs, all of which affects vulnerable populations.

Cultural

T h e

d i s t o r t i o n a n d

commodification of culture, including mass produced handicrafts and demeaning cultural performances designed to entertain and amuse rather than promote interchange and understanding among different peoples.

Political, Legal and Human Rights

Tourism projects often fail to consult, engage or adequately compensate local communities for loss of livelihoods, agricultural lands, and access to natural and common property resources such as forest, beaches, ocean and lakes.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The state of Orissa can be an attractive tourist destination if the tourism industry is properly encouraged. For this reason, the

following recommendations are made:

Firstly, we have to ensure basic amenities for the tourists and try to develop quality human resources for managing the travelers. There must be meaningful interaction among tourism officials and tour operators for betterment of industry. Secondly, to attract more tourists from foreign soil to rural Orissa various projects must be undertaken under Public- Private-Partnership (PPP) mode and adequate investment is needed in giving professional touch to

the sector. Lastly, the ethnic communities should be encouraged to enrich their ethnic heritage and skills so as to make their traditions more attractive rather than less in the face of change. Eco-tourism (inclusive of its ethno component) should provide an opportunity for these tribal communities to generate more income from the tourism business in a dignified

manner.

(E-mail:varsa_lkg@rediffmail.com)

YOJANA Forthcoming Issues June 2010 June 2010 & July 2010 The June 2010 issue of

YOJANA

Forthcoming

Issues

June 2010

June 2010

&

July 2010

The June 2010 issue of Yojana will focus on the state of Human Resource Development in our country.

July 2010

The July 2010 issue of Yojana will focus on the Water Resources in our country .

J&K WINDOW

 

TULIPS BLOOM IN KASHMIR

W ith colourful tulips in bloom, the famed Tulip Garden on the banks of Dal Lake was thrown open for the tourists and

the locals recently. The sprawling garden is situated on the

the banks of Dal Lake was thrown open for the tourists and the locals recently. The

foothills of the splendid Zabarwan Mountains.

Around 15 lakh tulips of various hues–red, pink, yellow, white, orange, magenta–and spread over seven acres of land are in bloom and are expected to be a major attraction for tourists.

According to the ofcials of the department of oriculture, which maintains the garden; of the 15 lakh tulip bulbs, 3.7 lakh have been imported from Holland.

This year the department extended the garden and the tulips are spread over seven acres of land as against

ve acres last year. Last year around 40,000 people visited the garden and it earned revenue of Rs. 17 Lakh for the department.

From this year, the garden will be open round the year. Till now the garden used to close with the withering of tulips but this the garden would be open round the year and the department was expecting the revenue to increase manifold. Around 1000 people, including tourists and locals, visited the garden on the rst day of its opening.

This garden was set up in 2008 and since then has been a major tourist attraction of Srinagar in spring season.

a major tourist attraction of Srinagar in spring season. HELI-SKIING TO ATTRACT MORE TOURISTS T he

HELI-SKIING TO ATTRACT MORE TOURISTS

T he awe-inspiring Himalayan slopes of Kashmir represent one of the last frontiers for daredevil skiers.

Now, with violence on the wane and a new heli-skiing service offering access to incredible descents

in virgin snow, the region is looking to attract the well-heeled practitioners of the extreme sport.

A Switzerland-based company has started a heli-skiing service recently, reviving a practice thwarted for years by violence that sees skiers taken by helicopter and dropped on remote peaks.

Priced at 9,000 euros (12.300 dollars) per person per week, trips will be available up to early April. Forming part of a trend that has seen the violence-weary area revive its adventure sport industry as ghting declines. The package includes ights from the client's country and also hotel and local transportation.

More than 700,00 tourists, foreign and domestic, used to visit Kashmir annually before an insurgency erupted in 1989. Numbers are only now recovering after nosediving when the violence started.

Kashmir is host to Gulmarg, India’s top ski resort, which has the highest ski lift in the world, climbing to more than 4,000 metrres (13,100 feet). The restort boasts thousands of metres of untracked vertical descent and virtually no restrictions on off-piste skiing. Other activities such as hiking, river rafting and snow-cycling are also undergoing a revival in Kashmir, with both locals and foreigners taking part.

Trekking and mountaineering has picked up over the years and many foreigners and Indians can be seen enjoying the treks alongside locals.

(Courtesy : Newspapers)

TOURISM

OVERVIEW

Adventure Tourism in India

TOURISM OVERVIEW Adventure Tourism in India We need to give more attention to sell India as

We need to give more attention to sell India as an adventure tourism destination to take advantage of the resources we have been endowed with

take advantage of the resources we have been endowed with H UMAN BEING has always had

H UMAN BEING has always had the urge to explore new grounds and travel to new and challenging destinations.

The modern world has

a lot to offer by way of fun and

adventure in new and exciting locales, even for travellers constrained by time and money.

India has immense scope for adventure related tourism activities

in its high Himalayan ranges, glacial

masses, cascading rivers, lakes, deserts, sea coasts and tropical forests. What it lacks, however, is due exposure in the international travel trade circles.

During my joint expeditions and various adventure trips to countries like New Zealand, Switzerland, United States, South Africa, Kenya, and many other countries of South East Asia, I was disappointed to nd that foreign tourists were not aware that India offered adventure related tourism activities like trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing,

S P Chamoli

skiing, river rafting, canoeing, caving, desert safaris, jungle safaries, aero sports, parasailing, para gliding, ballooning etc. They knew much more about Nepal Himalays where only trekking and mountaineering can be done.

India has so far been marketed mainly as a cultural and religious tourism destination . Only a few destinations like Ladakh and Sikkim Himalyas are getting some attention as adventure tour destinations. Despite there being an immense scope for adventure tourism in the country there is hardly any infrastructure facility available. The main reasons for this could be attributed to the lack of professionals, trained persons in the travel trade like mountain guides, ski-instructors, river guides, etc. There is an almost complete absence of professionally qualied adventure tour operators, local entrepreneurs like trekking companies, agents, etc. who can offer practical, ground based knowledge and provide technical support base

for efficient and safe conduct of adventure based tourist activities in the eld. There is also a lack of basic infrastructure for adventure tourism like equipment, clothing, tents, detailed maps etc. and an absence of proper understanding of the essential requirements of the foreign tourists who are keen to enjoy these activities. In one of my adventure trips a few years back, I remember that some of my foriegn friends wanted to encash the dollars traveler’s cheques in Indian currency at S. B. I. Uttarkashi but this facility of exchanging for foreign currency was not available there, and we had to travel all the way to Rishikesh just to encash a traveler cheque.

Similarly there is complete ignorance about the extension of the inner line restrictions and open area for foreigners. There is hardly any information agency to provide trekking maps which can exactly indicate the location of the inner line or trekking routes and facilities available in the area. Foreigners become victims of the bureaucratic delays and get confused and lose interest.

Fun and adventure tourism like mountaineering, trekking, rock climbing, tramping, skiing, river rafting, canoeing, hot air ballooning and hang gliding etc ,do not require heavy investments and are labour intensive activities providing large scale employment for unskilled or semi skilled workers.

There are large numbers of virgin peaks and glaciers which can attract mountaineers and skiiers. Similarly there are spectacular ower laden meadows or bugyals which can be paradise for trekkers. Important among these trek routes are the Her ke Doon Trek, Her ke Doon –

Yamunotri, Yamunotri – Saptrishi

– Kund, Hanuman Chatti – Dayara-

Harsil Trek , Gangotri – Gaumukh Trek, Gangotri – Kalandhi Khal

.Similarly

there are innumerable high altitude treks in Himachal, Jummu and Kashmir, Sikkim and Arunachal, which are in the inner line areas and need special entry permits. For soft trekkers the western Ghats, coastal mountain ranges in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnatka,

Meghalaya, Mizoram etc; have a lot of potential. Even our domestic adventure tourists only know about

a few such tourist destinations.

The Himalayan mountains are still awaiting the challenge of rock climbing to be explored. There are innumerable virgin routes and attractive rock faces where many new records can be established but these places need to be provided with at least the basic amenities for trampers. River rafting and canoeing have similar potential, along with shing and angling.

Skiing also needs to be

popularized, as it has large scope for development in Himalayan Alpine areas. In fact almost all the bugyals or high altitude meadows get snow bound during winter making cross country skiing possible. Luckily, a good road network has recently been developed in the interior areas and these remote and inaccessible places have now become approachable for the interested tourists. There is a good scope for developing Heli-Skiing,

a new adventure sport, as is being

done in foreign countries. Skiing can also be combined with climbing trips. Some of the places where skiing can easily be organized in

winters are Her ki doon ugyals, Dayara bugyals, Kush kalyan bugyals etc.

– Badrinath Trek

etc.

There are large numbers of sulpher and hot springs in the Himalayan region. These can be improved with basic amenities of bath rooms etc. on commercial patterns as is done in Himanchal Pradesh at Bashist (Manali) .

The entire area of Uttarakhand is famous for its religious shrines which have been attracting pilgrims since times immemorial. Most of these places had some old trekking infrastructure available. For example, there used to be "on foot" pilgrimage in Uttarakhand, starting right from Haridwar, with well developed trekking routes with convenient chattiest (halting places) available at every 9 to 10 Km. of distance where basic amenities of smelter and food, dharmshalas, rest houses and local tea shops were available. These old infrastructure have been destroyed with the building of new roads, and unfortunately, no modern substitute has come in to ll the gap. Very little facilities are not available now to the “do it yourself trekkers and back packers”.

With government efforts, adventure tourism is now catching up among the Indian youths, students and club members and attracting them gradually towards outdoor pursuits. We need to give more attention to sell India as an adventure tourism destination to take advantage of the resources we have been endowed with. But apart from selling, we need to develop the infrastructure required for these outdoor pursuits, and train the local people to provide the valuable manpower inputs. This could also help develop these areas

economically.

(E-mail : hai@satyam.net.in)

FOREIGN RELATIONS

FOREIGN RELATIONS PERSPECTIVE
FOREIGN RELATIONS PERSPECTIVE
FOREIGN RELATIONS PERSPECTIVE
FOREIGN RELATIONS PERSPECTIVE

PERSPECTIVE

India and China Engage Southeast Asia by Cultural Diplomacy

India and China Engage Southeast Asia by Cultural Diplomacy It is most likely that a combination

It is most likely that a combination of both hard power and the use of cultural diplomacy tools will determine the future trajectory of international relations between countries

trajectory of international relations between countries C ULTURAL D I P L O M A C

C ULTURAL D I P L O M A C Y, a component of soft power, as a tool of foreign

policy has become increasingly popular during the last two decades. A relatively new concept, cultural diplomacy is defined as “the exchange of ideas, information, art, and other aspects of culture among nations, and their peoples in order to foster mutual understanding” (Milton C. Cummings, Jr. Cultural Diplomacy and the United States Government:

A Survey). Historically identi ed with the United States and its in uence all over the world, it is considered the ‘linchpin of public diplomacy’ by many who discount wars and use of force.

International relation studies focusing on the emerging dynamics of the 21st century are devoting considerable attention to the inuences that are likely to dominate Asia in the decades to

Parama Sinha Palit

come, given the growing dynamism of the region. The two Asian giants - India and China – are clearly frontrunners in this regard given their steadily enlarging economic size and commercial engagement with the region. While India has often, rather uncharitably, been termed the ‘regional bully’ by its neighbours, China was perceived as a ‘destabilising’ force from the 1950s to the 1970s (David Shambaugh, China Engages Asia:

Reshaping the Regional Order). However, new dynamics and opportunities have propelled China to transform its perception from an overtly aggressive state engaged in ideological imposition to a