“Whatever sphere of the human mind you may select for your special study, whether it be language, or religion, or mythology, or philosophy, whether it be laws or customs, primitive art or primitive science, everywhere, you have to go to India, whether you like it or not, because some of the most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India, and in India only – Max Mueller , German philologist and orientalist
India is bestowed with incredible natural beauty: mesmerizing landscapes with 10 biogeographical zones and many architectural wonders that are categorized as world heritage sites. The diversity allures tourists from all over the world, seeking different kinds of adventure and experiences; but we are still not able to boost the tourism sector to its full potential in comparison to the other countries like China, Thailand, and South Korea.
The tourism industry of any country greatly influences the socio-economic growth of the country, mostly by generating jobs. Statistics suggest that the tourism and hospitality sector contributed US$ 71.3 billion during 2006-17. The government has clearly recognized the role of infrastructure in increasing tourism in India. Positioning India as a country that is investing in provisions of world-class infrastructure is one of the strategy to woo the global tourists. The three differentiating infrastructural factors for increasing India’s credibility as a tourist destination are:
- Well connected means of transport,
- Maintained and repaired heritage sites,
- Availability of good hotels and hostels to stay.
Several schemes were initiated to grow tourism in India
- Swadesh Darshan-Integrated development of theme-based tourist circuit in India: It is a route that involves three or more tourist destinations which have some exclusive features. Places falling under this category would be eligible to receive financial assistance for developments like improving passenger terminals, building Tourism Felicitation Centers, developing helipads, informatory, First Aid Centers, etc.
- Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY): The scheme is focused on the development of heritage sites.
- National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD): 12 cities were selected for infrastructural development and an amount of Rs. 100 crore was allocated for developing the facilities in these cities.
Investments in Infrastructure to Boost Tourism
- The government allowed 100% for the development Tourism related sectors.
- In Aug 2014, new passenger Terminal was introduced in Goa for attracting tourists who are interested in Cruise Tourism
- Special focus on developing rural tourism
- Several projects were launched under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)
- Different tourist circuits were developed. Ex: Buddha Circuit
Budget 2018-19 also allocated an amount of Rs. 2,150 crore to the Ministry of Tourism. Infrastructure development bagged Rs. 1,776.4 crore. Experts believe that it will help in getting more people to visit the country and technologically advanced features at tourists hotspots will certainly add up to their experience.