Tourism has traditionally acted as major source of income within many developing countries. The huge amounts of investment put into this sector points to the important role it plays in the growth of the economy ad the development of economic potential. The economic stability of a country plays a great role in the development of other sectors within that country. A stable and highly performing economic climate encourages investment in various sectors and consequently there is more economic growth. As tourism planning, marketing, and product development become increasingly complex in the tourism industry in India, tourism-related research becomes a critical function in providing needed information for decision-making. As tourism becomes an increasingly important sector of the world economy, tourism related research can be expected to expand in both magnitude and scope as a critical supporting function for tourism industry. In the case of India, the rapid international and domestic tourism growth not only brought prosperity to this country, but also caused many serious social, cultural, and environmental problems.
As planning, marketing, and product development become increasingly complex in the tourism industry, research becomes a critical function in providing needed information for decision-making ideas. however, an empirical analysis on the content of the articles appearing in major hospitality and tourism journals has not been conducted. It seems appropriate at this juncture to take stock of current research efforts on tourism in India, to determine where we are now, how far we have progressed, and where we need to go in the future. Along with the rapid growth of the national economy, India’s domestic tourism boomed and became a major consumption area in social demand. This showed that tourism had become a major part in the service industry. Meanwhile, India is also experiencing stunning growth in outbound travel. The World Travel & Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated 6.4 trillion or 6.6% of the nation’s GDP in 2012. It supported 39.5 million jobs, 7.7% of its total employment. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.9% till 2023 making India the third fastest growing tourism destination over the next decade. India has a large medical tourism sector which is expected to grow at an estimated rate of 30% annually to reach about 95 billion by 2015. Despite the great progress and good prospect in tourism development, there are many challenges from both home and abroad. Governments, as prime developer of tourism infrastructure, need facts for enlightened policies and action. National and local governments involved in parks, recreation areas, and historical sites need findings related to tourists who view and use these as attractions. Commercial enterprise needs the results from studies of traveler trends as well as factors contributing to better business success.
India as a country that offers stable and safe conditions for entrepreneurship and investments, is attractive for tourists and rich in historical-cultural and natural resources has the potential to offer various competitive tourism products and high quality services to the global tourism market. However, India can and must provide various and high-quality products and services tailored to the needs of more demanding consumers alongside with ‘classic tours’. This development will require a better trained and qualified workforce, more significant investments, higher quality facilities and services, use of more modern research methods and technologies and a more business-friendly environment. In Order to address the issues in the tourism industry, the primary objective is to define and develop priority tourism products and centers, develop India’s value proposition and define its product and service offerings; prioritize target markets and continuously study their growth tendencies; develop destination branding for India as a country that offers stable and safe conditions for entrepreneurship and investments and is attractive for tourists supported by its effective presentation and promotion in the global market; improve accessibility, transportation, and infrastructure through targeted investments and legal framework improvement provide higher quality and greater number of accommodation and other infrastructures, sustained investments in research and workforce development, while continuously tracking the effects and monitoring impacts of tourism development.
Tourism is one of the top five export categories for many countries and is a main source of foreign exchange earnings for 38% of them. Tourism has a strong multiplier effect serving as a major source of economic development in developing countries. The rapid expansion of international tourism has led to significant employment creation. Tourism can generate jobs directly through hotels, restaurants, leisure establishments, transportation infrastructures and souvenir sales, and indirectly through tourism-related businesses (food and other products, services, trade). The worldwide tourism industry employs around 231 million people or approximately 8.3% of the world’s workers. Tourism can add to the development of communities in many ways. Events or festivities organized by local residents for tourists, as well as their hospitality contribute to the social vitality of the community and jobs created by tourism as well as incomes generated from them can act as a vital incentive to reduce emigration from rural areas.
As tourism supports the development of community facilities and services, it can bring higher living standards to rural areas. Benefits can include upgraded transport and communication infrastructure, improved healthcare and transportation, new sport and recreational facilities, restaurants, and public spaces. Tourism helps raise the awareness of community population of the value of natural and cultural sites and can stimulate a feeling of pride in local and national heritage and interest in its conservation. Tourism generated incomes may be directed to the environmental protection. Tourism can significantly contribute to environmental protection, conservation and restoration of biological diversity and sustainable use of natural resources. The world’s travel and tourism (T&T) industry has grown by an average 4.6% per year during the past ten years.
There is a demand for higher standards of service and destinations that offer more of an experience/adventure rather than a vacation in the global market today. Increased preference for independent, tailored, and small group travel compared to mass tourism packages. Increased demand for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) travel. Increasing concern for climate change, and growth in environmental and social responsibility tourism services. More competitive global tourism business climate, contributing to destination branding/image building. Increasing destination focus on image and reputation; without a well-defined, attractive image, destinations will have trouble in the process of tourism development. Increasing application of information technologies in marketing strategies, growing private and public sector investment in marketing via Internet and other types electronic means and in research techniques.
India currently lacks the necessary infrastructure to cater for more and higher value tourists. To ensure sustainable tourism growth and quality improvement in terms of Indian tourism offerings industry related infrastructure needs to be established and developed (motor highways of interstate importance, roads to tourism attractions, tourism routes, rest stops with sanitation facilities, affordable hotel establishments, high-level hotels, establishment and development guesthouses and its integration into corresponding global networks, establishment and development of tourism clusters). Clear standards and state control should be defined over the establishment of infrastructure in tourism areas to exclude sources of pollution with chemical and biological materials and physical impulses.