Thursday, March 17, 2005
Tourism in India
I haven't blogged for few days since I was away in Las Vegas! Between the good time I had on the "Strip", I did notice the number of people working there. In the casinos, hotels, cabs etc. For the tens of thousands who come to Vegas, there are thousands working to make their trip memorable. Its great business too. Simply by pumping money they have generated several hundred jobs in a barren place. Ofcourse some despise the apparent waste of resources in Vegas, water, electricity, energy and your money!! Now turning to today's blog, I wonder why India is such an under performer in Tourism. Unemployment is such a big issue in India. I can't see how India can progress without creating millions of jobs. Of the many sectors of Job creation that I can think of like Agriculture, Textiles, Manufacturing, Services, Tourism etc, Tourism is probably the cheapest and the easiest. We often hear Infrastructure to be the bottleneck for our lackluster tourist inflow. But I think this is a lame excuse. Backpackers form a significant part of tourists across the world and I don't think they would complain much about the infrastructure in India. Countries like China, Southeast asian nations, Egypt, Srilanka and even Nepal attract tourists in great numbers. Surely we are not worse than these countries in Infrastructure. We have almost everything to offer to the tourists. Thousands of miles of beaches, desert, historical places, beautiful monuments, happening cities, hill stations, valleys, lakes, great rivers...... Despite this we are for away from meeting our tourism potential. When government says its going to generate more jobs, we almost laugh. But surely tourism can generate the millions of jobs we need. What is required is the initiative on the part of the government and the private players. Even if we can achieve significant numbers in Internal tourism, we can generate and sustain thousands of jobs. Come to think of it.. how many states have you visited in India. If you haven't visited many, what is the reason. Don't you have money to spend, trains, buses, roads to go places, hotels to stay there? Indeed you have! What you probably don't have is interest and the know-how. This is the reason why we have missed out on the tourism bus!