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Tourism Rising

 By: Govind Kumar
Tourism Marketing is defined as the enabler of a country to invite guests from different cultures, customs, traditions, to enjoy their rich culture, heritage, cuisines, art and architecture, entertainment and hospitality.

Tourism Industry is the largest employment generator in the world. We find that small countries like Malaysia and Singapore woo millions of foreign tourists and bag billions of foreign exchange. India has been lagging behind so far, due to innumerable reasons.

Now India tourism receipts show better stats. India received $15 billion and Kerala received $3 billion. India, who houses rich tourist locations, have so far been at the bottom of the World Tourism Receipt countries and does not figure in the top ten. This is mainly because of the step daughterly treatment Tourism Industry got from the country's planners. It was only last year that the Government allocated 1000 crores in the Indian budget for the Tourism sector.

United States lead with receipts of over $ 100 b. Spain is second with 60 b, Germany, UK and China are about 40 billion.

Tourism infrastructure should be improved in India, if India is to exploit the full potential of Tourism. India at the moment receives 5 million Foreign Tourist Arrivals and earns more than $ 15 b in forex. Domestic tourists have gone up to 200 million. This low rank of India, when compared to other countries, is due to the lack of vision of the Indian authorities, who considered Tourism as a pastime for the rich !

Tourism is actually Recreational Therapy. When the mind is fed up with daily chores and hard work, a vacation becomes the need of the hour. People prefer beaches and backwaters and the mind finds relief in vacational experiences !

Kerala was an unknown destination, till the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, promoted it. Kerala is promoted as Green and Cool, in contrast to the hot and dusty India !. Kerala is totally different from the rest. She receives seven months of continous rainfall, almost 3000 mm of rains per year, and is full of greenery, and looks like a Paradise on earth.

India at the moment has a poor marketing image and she has to improve her marketing efforts. Tourism Marketing is different from other forms of Marketing and needs a well integrated marketing approach. You are marketing a country and Positioning and Promotion are twin eyes. It is integrated with leisure, entertainment, transportation, communication and all service sectors. The whole process has to be revitalized and a full fledged marketing process should be undertaken. The same old Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning method can be used in this form of marketing, to bring home the bacon.

India possesses everything. The rich cultural heritage, sprawling deserts, highest mountains, sculptures, temples, palaces, delicious cuisines, rare mixture of life style - all these make India a Cross Cultural Paradise on earth. The Private Sector should work with the Government to make India a great destination for the traveller.

We have lost this massive golden opportunity for the last 53 years and should not do so in the future, which belongs to China and India. This decade will see the emergence of these two giants, the Dragon and the sleeping Elephant !
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