What can India do to attract more international tourists?
Unleashing the Power of India's Untapped Tourism Potential
Every so often, Jennifer and I find ourselves poring over maps of past and potential adventures, our Labrador Charlie snoozing on the rug and our sphynx cat Artemis curiously observing us from her throne (read: the back of our couch). The burst of colours on these maps often singles out India. Varying shades of greens, browns, yellows, and blues capturing its topographical marvels along with the cultural and historical richness this country embodies. To say that we are intrigued would be an understatement. We believe that India, despite its wealth of sights and sounds, remains a largely untapped market in terms of international tourism. So, what can India do to attract more international tourists? Now that's an adventure worth exploring!
Boosting International PR: Changing the Global Narrative of India
Often, when one thinks of India, images of overstuffed trains, street cows and spicy curries are conjured. As humorous or stereotypical (with a hint of truth) as these may sound, they do the nation an injustice. India is a vast country teeming with diverse cultures, rich history, spiritual landmarks, and scenic landscapes, but how often does that transcend the global consciousness? Not as often as it should. As a content maker myself, I believe India needs to upscale its international Public Relations strategy. Be it through compelling documentaries that highlight the diversity of the country, engaging international influencers to promote India's uncommon and breathtaking locales, developing stronger media relations, or investing in notable international events, the possibilities are endless.
Global PR campaigns harnessing Social Media Power
In the age of hashtags and trending memes, the potential of social media in promoting tourism is immense. Think about the viral success stories that Iceland and New Zealand have had simply by harnessing the power of social media. Employing campaigns that not only promote tourism but also engage audiences around the world could be a game changer. Just imagine #IncredibleIndia trending on Twitter accompanied by astounding images and immersive stories from tourists. That's an online explosion waiting to happen!
Ease of Access: Simplifying Visa Policies and Improving connectivity
During one of our family discussions around the dinner table, my daughter, Leola, in her characteristic wit remarked, "If it was easier to get into a country than to solve a Rubik's Cube, Hugo and I would have added many more colours to that map!" She was absolutely right. Visa policies play a critical role in enhancing or diminishing a country's appeal to international tourists. Simplifying visa procedures, reducing paperwork, shortening wait times, and introducing more visa-on-arrival facilities can help significantly. Also, increasing connectivity, both in terms of flights and intra-country transportation systems, is crucial. I’m positive that India would significantly benefit from enhancing its air links with major travel marketplaces and sharpening its focus on improving regional connectivity.
Responsible and Sustainable Tourism
One morning during our stay in Bali, I was sipping my morning tea when I pondered upon the thoughtful initiatives they had woven into the fabric of their tourism industry to promote sustainability. This has clearly struck a chord with the tourists, as evident from Bali's popularity. Embracing eco-tourism initiatives, maintaining cleanliness, preserving heritage sites, and establishing well-managed protected wildlife reserves are no longer choices, they are a necessity. India, with its rich natural resources and bio-diversities, has the opportunity to become a global leader in responsible and sustainable tourism.
The Eco-travel Revolution: Monetizing Biodiversity the Right Way
Consider this: India is home to about 8% of the world’s biodiversity, yet how often do we hear about a tourist visiting a national park or a wildlife sanctuary in India? Not as often as we should! Several regions in India such as the Western Ghats, North-East, and the Andaman and Nicobar islands hold immense potential for eco-tourism. Monetizing this has the added advantage of promoting conservation and environmental awareness, thus appealing to the growing league of environmentally conscientious travellers. This, in my opinion, could be India’s tourism trump card.
Improving Infrastructure and Tourist Services
Whilst making travel plans, Jennifer would always meticulously research on the available facilities and services at the destinations. Trust me when I say, a comfortable stay, easy navigation, and friendly ambience can make a world of difference in the traveller's experience. India needs to bolster its infrastructure and tourist services in order to create a positive and memorable touristic experience. Investing in better airport facilities, modern and clean accommodations, ensuring safe environments, and providing helpful guides and resources can create a welcoming atmosphere that international tourists would appreciate.
Emphasizing India's Unique Experiences: Transforming them into USPs
Last summer, whilst visiting Greece, we fell in love with their ability to sell 'experiences'. It was not just about the beautiful beaches or the classical ruins, it was about experiencing the Greek way of life. India, with its vibrant festivals, culinary diversity, and unique handicrafts, offers a plethora of authentic experiences that cater to varied tastes. Emphasizing these and transforming them into Unique Selling Propositions can make India a must-visit destination on global tourists' itineraries.
India, with its plethora of sensory enchantments, is like a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. With the right blend of innovative marketing, improved infrastructure, simplified visa procedures, and promoting sustainable tourism, India can truly unlock its vast tourism potential and allure countless international tourists. It could indeed turn the travel maps into a vibrant tapestry of colours, with India shining brightly at the centre.