Sunday, August 09, 2009

Indian tourism - Screaming for help

I happened to read a ToI editorial today by architect and author Gautam Bhatia today. What he said there from an architect's perspective is actually true of India's modus operandi when it comes to maintenance of heritage sites. Not just that, India does happen to have a very rich history and heritage. And the ability to generate a lot of revenue through tourism, according to me is being squandered by us! Take for instance a place like Murud - on the Konkan coast. How do I know of its existence? Extensive Googling led me to a blog by a foreign visitor who was here on a 'discovery expedition' of sorts. Post a trip to the place, I realized that Murud has one of the most pristine beaches on the west coast. Imagine Goa without the clamoring tourists or salesmen! Plus, surprise surprise! A rickshaw guy there told me about a fort which can only be accessed by boat! Sounds exciting doesn't it? Well, it looks even better. You go by boat to the fort, and then you can actually explore the fort yourself! The fort is in a state of disrepair, screaming to be rescued. What really pained me, was the fact that such an amazing experience was not exploited to the max!

Simple stuff - Google up places to see in Mumbai. And trust me, you wouldn't come up with half the list of things to see in Mumbai. You'd perhaps now be directed to the morbid alternatives of terror tourism or slum tourism. But Mumbai also has a bunch of forts on the sea coast, some wonderful places offering shopping experiences you can find nowhere else, cuisines, churches and what not. But do we have a method to find these somewhere? Can a foreigner chart her own sightseeing trip around Mumbai?
Take Hyderabad now. We have the Chaarminaar, and Salarjung museum. How many of us who are not localites know of the beauty of these places? How many of us have even read or heard about such places? Or know about the history of these places?

Tourism in India is grossly underdeveloped, but can offer a whole host of options and opportunities. If only India's rich cultural heritage was given its due! I clipped the editorial for posterity here.


Anonymous said...

How naive !!! Easy to say why don't we develop the tourist places. You must have read in your ISB MBA (wowzer !!), that 'market size' is determined as below

a) How many people are interested in tourism?

b) How much each tourist is ready to spend?

Well,answer to a) and b) in India is very less in % terms as compared to the US and the Europe. Here people struggle for two meals a day forget spending for travelling to places. Think about it... Ask a European friend of yours to find how much he/she has travelled and spent. I won't be surprised if you are on a much lower side.

Now, why doesn't government preserve/ promote these. Babe, do a break even based on the a) and b) above. And don't forget to take out the Corruption Commission from the total money available for spending...hehhehe..

Now you would say, why not spend more and reap more by promoted tourism. Aha, I knew that.. MBA effect on you. Well refer back to your earlier post and my comment on it. Where can a poor government spend its limited funds?

Shakespere once said, Romance is a hobby of the rich and luxury of the poor.


- Earth...

Sindhu Subramaniam said...


I agree that the average Indian is not as well off as her European counterpart. Now, that does not under any circumstance happen to prove why preserving these monuments is not of importance. Imagine this - allow the Taj to be wasted and when finally the per capita income of Indians climbs up, SURPRISE SURPRISE - There is no Taj to go see! All of it is damaged.

My rejoinder is that there are some tasks that are to be done, as part of a Government's task list - no break even analysis is to be conducted there. Tell me whether there exists a positive NPV for other Governmental activities like free healthcare??? or free education???? But these are tasks taken care of as a welfare state. And hence, I suggest we look at tourism expenditure as a sunk cost for the benefit of future generations.

Thanks for visiting though...