India holidays are looking for a boost in 2010
India is taking counteraction measures against its slumping tourism figures. Some of the country's main plans include the building of new hotel rooms, the development of sites to discover more of the country and exploit new areas of rural tourism.
According to India’s tourism minister the sharp falls in tourist numbers taking India holidays is a cause for concern and immediate action is needed to push the numbers back up. With tourist numbers having dropped by 7% to 4.2m in the last 10 months to October when compared against the figures for the same period last year, it looks like this once popular Asian holiday destination could do with a bit of revamping.
Not all are bad news however, as foreign earnings on the other hand have risen and are up by 4.1% over the same period with the number of people taking India holidays having increased from 2.38m to 5.3m in the six years up to 2008, before the sharp falls of 2009.
Speaking at this year’s World Travel Market, India’s Tourism Minister Kumaira Selja said: “The world economic slowdown and the Mumbai attacks have had a detrimental effect on tourist numbers to India this year.
“After recording average growth rates between 2002 and 2008 of 14.5% we had just 5.6% growth last year – but that was still higher than the world average [of 2%].”
The minister also concluded by explaining how the country plans to face these sharp declines with a number of initiatives and events in place for next year to stimulate the flow of tourists attracted by the India holidays appeal.
The biggest of these will be the World Commonwealth Games in Delhi to be held in October 2010. For this some 30,000 new hotel rooms are currently being built to be finished on time for the event, which will take place from October 3-14and is expected to attract up to 100,000 people.
Selja continued by outlining a number of more initiatives to further stimulate tourist numbers including identifying new, virtually unexploited niche markets such as rural tourism.
For this latter initiative the government has identified 150 sites which it intends to market as places to discover the country’s arts and crafts and cuisine so that a new tourist segment emerges for a new kind of India holidays on the countryside. The UN Development Council backs up this new enterprise and it will give financial assistance to 30 of the sites.
Aligned with this is the so-called ‘Heliport Tourism’, which aims to promote tourism to hilly and remote areas of the country.
“We have given financial assistance to the State Governments in a bid to open up more inaccessible regions,” she said.
Medical and wellness tourism is also being promoted; the country provides state of the art medical services at a fraction of the cost in the West. Wellness tourism taps into India’s ancient tradition of healing and health.
The government is also aiming to promote meetings, conferences and events and has earmarked funds for professional conference organisers.
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