Today, I was planning to write a different post altogether, when I took a small break and started watching the Indian PM Narendra Modi’s address to the NRI’s in Sydney, Australia, and had to compulsively postpone my blog for the other day and write about this subject; as his speech was a welcome boost for travelers like me.
A man with a vision and will to implement and welcome the change; the Prime Minister of the country addresses the Indian crowd in Sydney, Australia and touches the various lingering and troubling issues that the citizens have been long facing in a Banana Republic.
One of the issues was the much awaited boost to the tourism industry in India. A vision to expand the tourism industry by 20 times its present capacity though may sound an over expectation, but definitely, is an achievable target. It is disheartening to know that a country with such varied a culture as India is often, only found speaking big about its unity in diversity, but the actions seem to reflect otherwise. The ‘Cleanliness Mission’ clubbed together with the ‘Tourism Industry’ can prove to be an exemplary start to change the dynamics of tourism in India. There is tremendous potential and scope for tourism in India, lest it can be thought over by a man as dynamic as the Prime Minister. One of the classic examples is the ‘Visa on Arrival’ in Australia and United States, two giant nations giving an outright approval to once neglected country for such privileges.
The heritage and culture tours already have a good hold in India, but there are other sectors of tourism which have lot of scope and need to be addressed as a whole. A few concepts can be looked upon as examples on how tourism can be improved and can come as a fresh start in the tourism sector:
Indian Ayurvedic systems, Yoga and naturopathy are second to none. If channelized in a proper manner, this can bring about a phenomenal change in the tourism industry.
Today is the generation of ‘Experiential Learning’. Gone are the days when we depended only upon books for our learning. The environment around makes it essential to change the methodologies of learning. Hence, the ‘Experiential Learning’ can bring about a different model of education and training, in which the ‘Right Education to Indian Youth’ through tourism and culture can be implemented. Not only will it help to develop the cognitive skills of the child, but also, it can greatly contribute in retention of information, as we intend to remember things and incidences more by witnessing them, rather than just by reading about them.
India shares 7000+ Km. of coastline and not more than 20% of it is correctly utilized. Maharashtra alone has more than 400+ beaches that can be utilized for beach sports, eco-tourism and adventure activities. Needless to say, we are looking at a billion dollar potential in which if every citizen of the country is put, still there will be scope for earning for more.
Wind-surfing, beach volley, sailing, deep sea diving, and such other sports are only accessible to the financially higher sect of the society and no sportsman is being heard to represent the nation in International games. A food for thought…
Apart from the tourist activities, some essential services that can be picked up as lessons from other countries:
- A fully Wi-Fi connected city, in which all essential tourist services such as emergency contact numbers, taxi and ambulance services, embassy, police and hospitals etc. are within a click away.
- Metro rail connectivity, like New Delhi, which can connect all the important tourist destinations with its simple accessible network.
- Reducing the air fares of Air India, the domestic Airline of the country, which seems to be overpriced than the private airlines (a fact that often intrigues me as it is supposed to be a public transportation system) and is often famous for its flight delays and disruptions without any explanations.
- Projecting and elevating the tourism in the small towns and more opportunities for them and not only for the metro cities.
- Creation of artificial tourism islands; Sentosa islands in Singapore is one such classic example where the entire island has been artificially developed for both tourism and essential services. We have abundant scope of creating several such islands with such a vast expanse of coastline.
- Utilizing the canal and the river systems to promote cruise and water tourism industry. Every tourist country has the system whereby they can choose to move their tourists along the countryside uninterrupted by means of water ways. Such systems, though existing in many parts of the country is either in bits and pieces or is in shambles. A properly implemented system can not only help to improve the conditions of the river and canal systems, but also can prove resourceful in tourism.
- Use of technology like laser projection systems, 3D imaging and animation, real time theatres at the venues such as forts and palaces can be introduced to depict the Indian History and Culture in an animated manner. In 3D systems, the children can actually see the entire historical event being recreated with special effects just like in PlayStation Games. Imagine the experience of history being communicated to our future generations in such a manner, like the epic tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata as the children witness them like a PlayStation Game. Will they ever forget any episode again????
In few words, the Prime Minister has been able to touch the hearts and minds of several people across the country, making us aware again, the importance of cleanliness and what in turn it can help us to do; attract more tourists in the country. After all, when we will respect ourselves, why won’t the others respect us?? To make the change, the ball is now in the citizen’s court..