In the past decade, tourism has become one of India's fastest growing markets, contributing to millions of service industry jobs. The Ministry of Tourism launched the Incredible India campaign in 2002, promoting India as a premier vacation spot. The campaign was successful, and now India is one of the top destinations for travelers from the U.S. and Canada. In August 2009 outbreaks of swine flu threatened India's late summer tourist season. Many travelers canceled trips rather than risk infection. Still, fears have now subsided and tourism seems to be growing steadily.
Incredible India Campaign
The Indian Ministry of Tourism launched the Incredible India campaign in 2002 to encourage visitors from around the world to experience India. The concerted marketing effort included print, radio and television ads. The campaign also included road shows, which were planned for the UK, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. The successful campaign received attention and praise from travel professionals and is credited with increasing the number of tourists to the nation within just a few years.
More Lodging Available
While the Incredible India campaign succeeded in bringing tourists to India, a lack of available lodging had to be addressed before the nation could handle a large increase in visitors. As one solution to the problem, the Ministry of Tourism has encouraged Indian entrepreneurs to start hosting tourists in bed and breakfast style guest lodging. These B&Bs offer visitors an authentic experience with Indian cuisine, culture and people, as well as an increase in the number of guest rooms available in metropolitan areas.
Transportation and Accessibility
India's crumbling infrastructure is another hurdle to the successful growth of the tourism sector. The Indian government is allocating funds to improve the infrastructure of the nation, improving access to rural areas so they become attractive to visitors. One such improvement has been the installation of heliports, where visitors can easily travel from a major metropolitan area to a rural area by helicopter.
Heritage & Ecotourism
Many visit India seeking signs of the ancient culture founded there. A popular heritage sight is the Taj Mahal, which attracts millions of visitors each year. India's Ministry of Tourism attempts to implement sustainable practices, promoting the ideals of ecotourism to its partner sites and tour guides. The Ministry also is integrating the ideals of conservation and preservation of the local ecology and culture to the greatest extent possible. The Ministry is working to create unique tourist experiences in rural India that promote local culture and have a low impact on the environment.
Health and Wellness Tourism
As the birthplace of yoga and Ayurveda, India has a particular appeal to visitors who are searching for spiritual and physical healing. Since the Beatles visited an Indian ashram in the late 1960s, the popularity of visiting these spiritual yoga centers has grown among Westerners. The Ministry uses that popularity to highlight these traditions in their campaigns.
- Photo Credit IncredibleIndia.org
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