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Tourism: Benefits to a Country’s Development

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1. A definition of tourism (in layman’s term):
The term tourism has a wide connotation and one of which is tourists travelling from their countries to other countries to visit and see places for pleasure, enjoyment and recreation. It also involves ample availability of good and convenient restaurants and good hotels, availability of entertainment and tour conductors to take tourists on sight-seeing trips. It also provides tourists with transport and other things to make their trips enjoyable and memorable one. Tourism provides employment to many people, i.e. handicraft makers and sellers, drivers, caterers, those in boarding and lodging business run by families and various other trades, including people who run errands and come in handy for the tourists to get their small jobs done.
Tourism is: a) the practice of tourists travelling to different places abroad for recreation and pleasure, b) the proper management of tourist inflow and taking care of their complete needs, leaving them completely satisfied and happy, c) the promotion of tourism (as a business and industry), d) accommodation of tourists in different categories of hotels, where they stay, eat, have entertainment and travel to various locations, etc. Further, there are backpackers or tourists who travel on shoestring (i.e. small budgets and do not have much money to splurge), who prefer to live in hostels and tents, walk around a lot to save money, travel light, shop in grocery stores (rather than expensive malls) and mostly prefer to travel alone or with other backpackers – as partners and companions during their travels.
2. Requirements to develop tourism in any given country:
   – Pleasant climate, scenery and friendly atmosphere:
A pleasant climate and weather, breathtaking scenery and friendly people who welcome tourists with a smile and provide them with help should a need arise. These tourists need local and tourist police protection. Licensed and qualified guides should take them on conducted tours.
– Sound infrastructure: In order to promote tourism, a country should have a sound infrastructure, i.e. good roads, efficient, modern and comfortable surface and rail transport, air and sea services, hospitals, clinics, schools, communication facilities (and other requirements). Some tourists come to these countries, visit places and go back, but if these countries are cheap, peaceful and lifestyles are good, many tourists decide to make these places their homes or second homes, e.g. Goa, Philippines, Guam, etc. and either spend their retirement here or start some business. Billions of dollars have been invested by countries that lead in tourism (and they keep on investing huge amounts annually), as it is an investment that assures huge returns with millions of tourists arriving into their countries every year and spending huge sums of monies.
There are many countries on this planet where tourism comprises a major part of their incomes and budgets, with which they are able to spend money on other activities, e.g. education, health, transport, agriculture, defence, etc.
– Opportunities for cheap and quality shopping: Opportunities should be available for tourists to buy textiles, leather goods, precious and semi-precious stones, handicrafts (and other goods bought as souvenirs and mementoes for themselves or for gifting to their relatives and friends). These purchases should be available at competitive prices and the sellers should stick to business ethics by not overcharging these tourists, just because they are from well off countries and can be taken for a ride. If they overcharge or cheat tourists, they would be sullying their country’s name.
– Presence of plenty of places of tourist interest: Opportunities to visit places that interest tourists, namely well maintained beaches, waterfalls, river cruises, forts, palaces, heritage sites, forests, wildlife reserves, safaris, hot air balloon trips, paragliding and scuba diving, surfing, rafting, etc. Certain tourists prefer to go to places where there are casinos, gambling and nightlife, e.g. Las Vegas and this too brings in pots of money. Some countries have the broader picture in mind and are permissive and allow gambling, casinos and night life, but other countries have a different look at this issue and feel it is against their culture, etc. and do not permit it.
– Best medical facilities at cheap rates: There are many tourists who visit foreign countries specializing in medical treatment, because these treatments, surgeries and herbal massages are very costly in their countries. Therefore, they visit those countries which are known for medical tourism and offer top class treatment and surgeries at cheaper costs, may be one-fifth to one-tenth of what it would have cost in their countries. India is one of the leading destinations for medical tourism. Countries leading in medical tourism are Malaysia, Thailand, India, Brazil and Singapore.
– Peaceful environment: Tourists prefer visiting countries that are peaceful, having no incidents of violence, strife, war or other problems. Due to these reasons, there are many western tourists, who after retirement, prefer to stay in places like Goa, Philippines, Guam, etc., because they like these places and can lead comfortable lives with their savings and make their savings last long, and others set up their own businesses. Countries leading in tourism have a peaceful environment and are not plagued with strife, law and order problems, wars, crimes, etc. that deter tourists and keep them away.
3. Benefits of tourism on a developing country’s economy:
There are many benefits of tourism: They are economic, socio-cultural and environmental.
Tourism has economic benefits: It creates direct jobs, e.g. tour guides and conductors, drivers (taking tourists around) and leads to setting up of family-run hotels and eateries, other businesses, etc. Tourism is also a shot-in-the-arm for artisans to create handicraft products which are purchased by the tourists. It also creates indirect employment through agriculture, food production and retail trade. The monies spent by tourists can alleviate the sufferings and banish poverty of underdeveloped countries or countries totally dependent on tourism. For many countries, the incomes earned from tourism are quite substantial and they can spend that money on other sectors of the economy.
4. Countries leading in tourism:
As per the data acquired from http://geography.about.com/od/economic-geography/a/20-Most-Popular-Countries-As-Tourist-Destinations.htm, the following are the countries that lead in tourism:
No. Country Tourists Arrival
1. France       79,500,000
2. U.S.A.        62,300,000
3. China         57,600,000
4. Spain         56,700,000
5. Italy           46,100,000
6. Turkey       29,300,000
7. U.K.            29,200,000
8. Germany   28,400,000
9. Malaysia    24,700,000
10. Mexico     23,400,000
5. Most popular destinations in the world visited by tourists:
As per the information derived from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/index.html, the following are the most popular destinations in the world visited by tourists:
No.  Country City                                    Name
1.     Egypt Cairo                               The Pyramids of Giza
2.    England London                      Big Ben
3.    Turkey Istanbul                        Sultan Ahmed Mosque
4.    U.S.A. Ontario & New York    The Niagara Falls
5.    India Agra                                   Taj Mahal
6.    Italy   Rome                                Roman Colosseum
7.    U.S.A. Arizona                           Grand Canyon
8.    China                                           Great Wall of China
9.    France Paris                               Eiffel Tower
10.  U.S.A. New York                       Statue of Liberty
6. Ten most popular places visited by tourists in India:
As per the information derived from http://traveljee.com/india/top-10-most-visited-places-india/, the following are the most popular destinations in India visited by tourists:
No.                  Monument/Place             City or State
1.                        Taj Mahal                               Agra
2.                        Kashmir                                  Jammu & Kashmir
3.                        Goa                                          Goa
4.                        Kanyakumari                         Tamil Nadu
5.                        Kerala                                       Kerala
6.                        Delhi                                         Delhi
7.                        Darjeeling                                West Bengal
8.                        Mumbai                                   Maharashtra
9.                        Shimla                                      Himachal Pradesh
10.                      Jaipur                                      Rajasthan
7. Some interesting details about tourism in India:
Since independence, the Union and State Governments have neglected tourism and it is only in the recent years, that it has been given some importance (though not the full importance that it deserves).  As per the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism has generated for India, Rs. 6.4 trillion or 6.6% of the country’s G.D.P. in 2012 and supported virtually 40 million jobs, i.e. 7.7% of the total employment. In 2013, India had 7 million tourist arrivals. In terms of foreign tourist arrivals, India ranks 38th out of 144 countries. If the Central Government and State Governments had taken the issue of tourism seriously and administered and handled it efficiently, India would have been a country leading in tourism.
The States of the Indian Union that have attracted maximum tourists in recent years are: a) Maharashtra, b) Tamil Nadu, 3) Delhi, 4) Uttar Pradesh, 5) Rajasthan, 6) West Bengal, 7) Bihar, 8) Kerala, 9) Karnataka, and 10) Himachal Pradesh.  (Information from http://traveljee.com/india/top-10-most-visited-states-india/).
Shimla in Himachal Pradesh is the most popular destination for honeymooners.
8. Why is India lagging behind in tourism?:
In terms of territory, India is the seventh largest in the world, having immense diversity. There are the world’s lofty mountains and peaks covered in perpetual snow (above 8,000’) and Jammu & Kashmir is India’s Switzerland. There is Rajasthan’s Thar Desert (which has more camels than Saudi Arabia) and Cheerapunji which receives the world’s heaviest rainfall. Different regions of the country have different climates, weathers, terrains, cuisines, cultures, customs, etc. Rajasthan has exotic wildlife, including peacocks, great Indian bustards and black bucks, which are protected by the inhabitants of those places (who do not allow outsiders to shoot them for sport or anything else). Kerala, situated in the extreme south west, is lush green with the coastline lined with millions of coconuts trees and all sorts of tropical fruits, vegetables and spices are grown here. In Kerala, there is agriculture, rubber plantation, the availability of sweet (from rivers) and salt water (from sea) fish, spices, forests and a plethora of wildlife, including elephants. The seven sister states of the North East India, namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura are beautiful in their own ways and have plenty of forests, rivers, waterfalls and some states have tea plantations.
India has countless places of tourist interest, e.g. palaces, forts, monuments, historical ruins, etc. With a coastline of 7,000 kilometres long, there are many beautiful beaches and diverse scenery, vegetation and greenery in many parts. Sadly, the Government, authorities and the inhabitants have not shown seriousness in protecting and maintaining these places (instead of neglecting them and leaving the climate and weather to take its toll) to showcase and market them to tourists for getting much-needed earnings.
The very fact that the Central Government Minister handling tourism is not a full-fledged Minister holding a Cabinet rank shows that it has not dawned on the government about the importance of tourism and the amount of wealth and all round development and transformation it can bring about. The present incumbent holds the post of Union Minister of State for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. Any far-sighted Central Government would have realized the importance of tourism and given an independent charge of tourism (and not clubbed with other portfolios) with a Cabinet rank to the Minister and would have placed this post amongst ten top posts in the Union Cabinet, because tourism is a very important industry (that can be a big money spinner) and has to be given a high priority. This industry can earn in billions and that money can be spent on various sectors of the economy and on various pressing and urgent issues.
Further, the Government has neglected developing the infrastructure due to various reasons, namely the lack of importance it has given to tourism, red tape and corruption. Nor has it appreciated the importance of tourism and welcoming tourists as guests who, in some cases, have been left at the mercy of touts and beggars (who can be pestilent) and other undesirable elements. In short, the tourists in India face immense problems.
9. The corrective measures that are needed to make India one of the ten top countries attracting tourists?:
India with an area of 3,287,263 gets only 7 million tourists in 2011, whereas France with an area of 640,679 is getting over 80 million tourists per year, which shows the importance placed by the French Government on this industry by making heavy investments in infrastructure and reaping rich harvests by earning in multiples of what it has invested. It is also interesting to learn that Cyprus is 9,251 square kilometers, has a population of 1.141 million and the number of tourists that arrived in 2011 were 2,392,000.  In short, during any given year, for every Cypriot, there are over two tourists visiting that island country with a Mediterranean climate. Again, Hawai is 10,432 square kilometres, has a population of 1.5 million and in 2012, nearly 18 million tourists had visited that island having balmy weather.
India should adopt the following measures to develop tourism:
– Appoint a full-time Union Minister of Tourism, with Cabinet rank to only develop and promote tourism (and not thrust other portfolios like Culture and Aviation). He should be completely responsible for the arrival of 10 million tourists within two years of taking over the Ministry of Tourism.
– Develop its infrastructure, i.e. build new roads and improve the existing ones, set up new rail lines to connect all tourist destinations, set up five stars and other hotels down the line and also cater to backpack tourists, who also contribute to India’s economy. Ensure that the trains have adequate facilities, serve good food, are kept clean and manned by proper staff at all times, including security guards to take care of tourists and passengers.
– There should be guides to take the tourists around and explain historical sites and other places of tourist and historical interest and tourist police to protect them from touts, crooks, cheats and other undesirable elements.
– In every Indian embassy overseas, there should be at least one officer to continually follow up and speak to nationals and representatives of those countries and showcase and propagate tourism and encourage them to visit India and explore what it has to offer. Officers concerned in promoting tourism in Indian Embassies abroad, who have been instrumental in sending maximum number of tourists to India, should be rewarded for their yeoman services.
– Make begging a serious offence and anyone caught in this act should be immediately arrested and dealt with in a stern manner to serve as a deterrent.
– Set up good colleges and universities to impart education and training in travel and tourism so that India has ample tour guides, experts in developing, preparing and selling holiday packages, etc., to cope with this industry which shows signs of growth.
– The Tourism Ministry should develop and market competitively priced packages that that suit different pockets of tourists. These packages should take care of travelling to different tourist destinations in India and should take care of their hotels, air travels, food, transport, conducted tours, etc., which should be a great success with tourists and sell like hot cakes.

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  1. Very interesting and informative article. India has a vast potential to develop tourism as a big source of foreign exchange earning, but not wisely tapped as yet.

    • Dear Mr. A.S. Mathew,

      You are the first one to comment on my article which made an appearance in http://www.mangalorean.com yesterday.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      As it is 1800 hours in Mumbai, I wonder it, it must be dawn or morning hours in the U.S.A. depending upon where one is located.

      Regards and best wishes,

      Nelson Lewis

      • Mr. Nelson Lewis:

        Thank you for your kind words. I have read many of your great articles down through the years in the Mangalorean with precise details. Keep up the good work.

        All the best wishes and regards,

        A. S. Mathew

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