Religious Tourism in India

Definition of religious tourism

Religious tourism can be defined as travel with the core motive of experiencing religious forms, or ancillary products such as art, culture, etc. India is an ancient civilization and boasts of rich cultural and religious heritage. In India, in the blog, we shall analyze the International scenario of Religious tourism and the scope of Religious tourism in India. Religious tourism is a significant and rapidly growing segment within the tourism industry. It is sometimes referred to as faith tourism, faith-based travel, Christian travel, Muslim travel, or any other religious denomination linked with the words ‘travel’ or ‘tourism’.

International scenario of Religious tourism:

As a sector, religious tourism is not well researched and documented. But in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, religious tourism is the most significant type of tourism, and consequently the authorities measure it as a clearly defined activity.

Saudi Arabia:

Mecca city saudi arabia

Mecca city saudi arabia

More than 7m pilgrims visit Saudi Arabia’s holy sites every year with religious tourists spending about US$10,000 per visit. The revenue from the pilgrims to the holy city of Makkah, Madinah and other religious sites in the kingdom, accounts for about 3 percent of the kingdom’s gross domestic product

Israel:

Jersusalem- Israel

Jersusalem- Israel

In 2013, more than 3.5 million tourists visited Israel. Twenty-two percent defined the goal of their visit to Israel as a pilgrimage which accounts for almost 0.77 million religious tourists.

Religious tourism in India:

India is a land of pilgrimages. India has the unique distinction of being the birth-place of four important religions of the world – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Practically, all religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism , Sikhism and Sufism have their major and minor pilgrimage centers in different parts of the country. Apart from the holy rivers and the teerth sthanas, India also houses the Shakti Peeths, the Jyotirlingas as well as the four sacred shrines of Adi Shankaracharya in the four corners of the country. Some important circuits based on the importance of the religious places can be identified. According to a recent annual report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), 2014 is expected to be a year of “above-average growth” for travel and tourism in India. WTTC’s Annual Economic Impact Report 2014 for India shows travel and tourism’s economic contribution is expected to grow by 7.3 percent this year, outperforming the general economy by 2.5 percentage points. Revenue from domestic tourism is expected to increase by 8.2 percent this year compared to 5.1 percent in 2013, the report noted.

Initiatives taken by the Government to boost Religious tourism

With a view to overcome challenges, facilitate travel to and stay at religious places, The Ministry of Tourism has already identified 35 destinations in phase I and shall cover another 89 destinations in phase II. The historic places associated with these religions are spread all over the country. Both foreign and domestic tourists would like to visit more than one place of their religion if proper planning and requisite facilities are made available to them. These religious circuits would cover Hinduism, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Sufi circuits. 

Integrated Tourism Circuits:

Buddhist Circuit:

buddhism religion

buddhism religion

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Expanding horizon of Medical Tourism in India: An opportunity for Bed and Breakfast too!

While conducting a survey of various Bed and Breakfast units, it was found that most of the B&B units do not have viable business. The reasons for the same are not far to seek if we analyze the data available on the Incredible India website and Immigration reports.

Mainly 3 types of tourists arrive in India/Delhi:
1. Foreign tourist who visit India for recreational purposes
2. General category who come here for business/visiting friends or relatives etc.
3. Medical tourists

disabled icon

disabled icon

Out of 6.6 million FTA (2012 figures of Incredible India),

22.5% come for Business purposes.
27% come to visit friends/relatives
27% come for leisure/holidays and recreation.

US leads the highest proportion of tourists visiting friends and relatives (46%) followed by Australasia (42%)
Interestingly, China (65%) and Japan (60%) top the list of tourist arrival for business purpose.

Medical Tourist Arrival in India

The citizens of countries that visit India for Medical purposes are mainly from Maldives (59% of 50,000 visitors), Nigeria (29% of 37000 visitors), Iraq (33% of 39000 visitors), Afghanistan (16% of 95000 visitors), Oman (11% of 50000 visitors), UAE (8% of 41000 visitors).

Medical Tourist arrival in India

Medical Tourist arrival in India

According to Hindustan Times article ‘India among World’s top 5 Medical tourism hotspots’ dated 26th July 2014, the Medical tourism industry is set to grow to $ 6 billion by 2018 due to skilled doctors, better infrastructure, facilities and low treatment cost.

Hindustan times medical tourism

Hindustan times medical tourism

“More tourists are coming to India because cost of treatment here is much less compared to the US and the European countries. We are also trying to integrate medical tourism with normal tourism,” said Parvez Dewan, secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

According to 2012 figures, Delhi boasts of specialty hospitals with strong clinical care and medical institute, which have state of the art technology and medical equipments. The city receives approximately 25,200 numbers of foreign patients coming to the city. The patients from Mauritius, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Myanmar are mostly seeking specialties in Cosmetic Surgery & Dental, Bariatric Surgery (Gastric Banding), Joint Replacements & Spine, Cardiology, Cancer, IVF, Multi-Organ Transplants visited the hospital for low cost surgeries.

Heart Surgery in US cost USD 60,000 where as in India its cost in $ 6,500.
Bone Marrow Transplant in US costs 250,000 (US $) and in India it is $ 35,000, Liver Transplant in US costs 300,000 (US $) and in India it costs $ 55,000, Joint Replacements in US cost 50,000 (US $) and in India it costs $ 8,000 and Cosmetic Surgery in US costs 20,000 (US $) and in India it costs $ 2,000.

Medical treatment cost comparison

Medical treatment cost comparison

In the past, the experts of Apollo hospitals have urged the government to conceptualize and launch a campaign on the lines of ‘Incredible India’, in order to Brand India as the top quality health care destination for medical tourists. At present, medical tourists from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Tanzania face difficulty in obtaining visa and safe and secure accommodation in India.

ObamaCare

Obamacare

Obamacare

As per report published in “The Business Standard on 22.8.2013, the Indian Medical Tourism sector is also eyeing a large chunk of big outbound medical tourism likely to emanate out of America following the implementation of “Obamacare”. The official name for “ObamaCare” is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). It is also commonly referred to as Obama care, health care reform, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Under USA medical insurance provisions, two million US citizens are now likely to go abroad for cheaper treatment as against only 85000 in last two years. The share of incoming US medial tourists to India is only 3%. This share is likely to increase due to the fact that US citizen will be driven mainly by cost factors of ten fold or more cost saving as per article uploaded on website by Harvard Law School. If India is able to provide such treatment of high quality at affordable rates, the percentage of incoming medical tourists from USA is likely to be 5% i.e. an increase from 2550 (@3% of 85000) to 1 lakh (@ 5% of 2 million).

As per report of the Business Standard on 22nd August 2013, SAARC countries account for 36%, Africa 26%, West Asia 26% the US & Europe contribute to 3 percent foreign patients respectively out of total one million incoming foreign medical tourists.

Opportunity for B&B Owners:

Delhi B&B owners, particularly those having homes near hospitals like Apollo, Medanta, Medicity, Global Health, Escorts, Fortis have excellent opportunity to grab this market for accommodation. In fact good number of existing B&B units are already taking advantage of it.

What the future of Medical Tourism holds for B&B industry:

The future of medical tourism will undoubtedly flourish under the B&B scheme, provided the owners publicize their properties on websites, take help of various on-line agencies and start on line accommodation reservation.

Disabled via bbc.co.uk

Disabled via bbc.co.uk

In absence of specific accessibility facilities available in most commercial accommodations or at present in Bed & Breakfast establishments, a large number of disabled persons and medical tourists are not able to enjoy stay in the city. Since number of such disabled tourists coming to Delhi are certainly more than 2.5% i.e. 65000 of total foreign tourist arrivals in Delhi in a year, any extra facility extended and publicized either through word of mouth or through internet will make a good marketing and promotional tool for B&B owners to promote their business in more efficient manner.

Bed and Breakfast offers a relaxing environment

Bed and Breakfast offers a relaxing environment
via http://www.southaustralia.com

Additionally, B&B accommodation is able to provide a favorable place near the hospital providing a cool and relaxing environment for rest and convalesce. The stay of these guests on a visit to the hospital for treatment requires longer stay for rest and convalesce, and for post-operative checkups, monitoring, healing etc. that takes several weeks and requires a comfortable stay suitably home away from home. These guests may prefer B&B accommodation because of above-mentioned reasons. If accommodation is `accessible’ and medical tourists friendly, it creates more market for B&B accommodation for such target people.

disabled travelers via www.disabledtravelers.com

disabled travelers via http://www.disabledtravelers.com

In nutshell, the B&B stay option for incoming disabled or medical tourist is cost effective by 30% than regular hotels. Such niche tourists come with at least an attendant and do not come for a short stay in Delhi. As mentioned above, the Medical tourists in particular need longer stay for the accompanying relatives. These relatives need personal care and emotional support, which can only be taken care of by owners’ family. Since hotels have limitations in providing personal care and disabled friendly facility, the B&B owners desirous to attract more business through such niche market, can create these specialized facilities.

Marketing of B&B

Marketing of B&B

However, proper marketing strategy is needed by owners to tap this market, which is beneficial to both stakeholders.

Caveats:

Government authorities should keep a watch that no untoward incident should happen due to unscrupulous service provider from amongst the medical tourism industry stakeholders due to which a negative sentiment arises. This might lead to an adverse change of perception of India as a medical tourism destination.
Thus, there is a need for medical tourism industry to practice self regulation.

Source:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/india-among-world-s-top-5-medical-tourism-hotspots/article1-1244706.aspx
http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-facts.php
PhD thesis, “Role of bed and breakfast scheme of Delhi in development of Tourism in Delhi” by Dr. G G Saxena
Gaur Sunil., Saxena Susheel, “Report on First International Summit on Health & Wellness Tourism”, 2013, Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), Tourism Section, May 2nd

Smart Governance in India

“Democracy can be dislodged in a jiffy if the public gets disillusioned with the quality of governance and corruption” – Dr. S Y Quraishi Does the very mention of stepping into a government office to get work done irk you to no end? Do you find it annoying that it takes days for a government file stuck under bundles of other files be searched and searched again to find the required file? Then here is good news for you. Read on:

Rashtrapati bhawan

Rashtrapati bhawan

Prevailing scenario: The current scenario of a typical Government office in India has the following features: 1. Multiple levels of File processing which delays the decision making process. 2. Volume of records- Multiple records bring problems of indexing and searching of relevant records. 3. File Tracking- Herculean task of traversing through several sheets of paper among countless files. 4. Lack of Transparency 5. Duplicity issues 6. Inter-departmental conflict

Pile of files

Pile of files

Thus, there is a dire need to redesign the archaic processes to align them with contemporary practices and technology and prepare a robust infrastructure to smoothen the process of automation. Providing desktops, networks, servers etc shall form the ‘hygienic’ part of the digital adoption by the Government departments.

Thus, Digital adoption shall provide the much-needed impetus for transparent governance with adequate mobility in the system while reducing administrative burdens. There are a few important aspects of Digital Adoption process:

• Flexible and User friendly design
• Legally compliant following all the rules and regulations
• Ease of creation and tracking of files
• Ease of uploading documents online

In an article written by Mr. Prakash Kumar for Hindustan Times, ex IAS officer, now National Technology Officer at Microsoft, stressed that if the details of a user are available in one department, then the same user details should be made available in other departments in a seamless manner.
Thus, the process would provide convenience to the citizens, reduce the process turnaround time and reduce the administrative burden.

Digital India Programme Digital India Programme envisaged by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity) and approved by the current cabinet on 20th August 2014 is the first step in the direction. The programme aims at providing digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen as well as high-speed Internet as a core utility in all gram panchayats. It is heartening to note that in the same vein, the current government has taken concrete steps to promote digital adoption across India. About a month back, the cabinet approved Rs. 1 lakh crore for the project that aims to provide thrust to nine pillars identified as growth areas:
1. Broadband highways
2. Mobile connectivity
3. Public Internet Access Programme
4. e-Governance
5. e-Kranti (which aims to give electronic delivery of services)
6. Information for all
7. Electronics manufacturing
8. IT for Jobs
9. Early harvest programmes.

The programme aims to seamlessly integrate departments to provide easy and a single window access to all persons. It also aims at making available government services in real time from online and mobile platforms.

Role of Google:

Search engine giant, Google has decided to participate in the Digital India programme to accelerate the process by improving internet access. Google has a two-pronged approach for the same: Google plans to empower the Indian women by making sure that hundreds of millions of Indian women get online and by being online they get empowered, are able improve their livelihoods.

Rajan Anandan, MD- Google India

Rajan Anandan, MD- Google India

Initiative to build the non-English internet user base. “Only 150 million Indians are proficient in English. Almost 1.1 billion people are not proficient in English. We are very focussed on improving access, so we launched speech in Hindi,” Rajan Anandan, MD- Google India, said. “We have launched nine open source fonts in Hindi. We will do many things around Hindi as well as other major Indian languages to build the non-English internet so that internet becomes very helpful,”.

Role of Facebook:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who was recently in the capital applauded the Digital India campaign and thought that it could spread the innovation of Indian people and thus pledged his support to the bridge the digital divide. In fact he apprised the Prime Minister about http://www.internet.org which is a global partnership between technology leaders, non profits, local communities and experts to bring internet to the two thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have internet.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with PM Narendra Modi

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with PM Narendra Modi

Additionally, he was so impressed with the Clean India campaign that he promised help to make an app dedicated to the Clean India campaign. Mark Zuckerberg also readily agreed to partner the National Optical Fibre Network that is designed to connect 250,000 village panchayats through high-speed broadband by 2017 in a phase wise manner. He considered Drones and satellite communications an important part of the project.

If I can correctly recollect, back in 1970’s, my contemporary in IIT, Sugata Mitra, initiated ‘Hole in the Wall’ concept by installing computers in the wall to raise awareness about the computers amongst poor children in Delhi.

Role of Digital in the Indian Election 2014

The General Election earlier this year was the biggest the world has ever seen.

Indian General Elections 2014

Indian General Elections 2014

As many as 554 million of the 834 million eligible voters exercised their franchise at 930,000 polling booths, nearly 118 million more than were registered to vote in 2009.

Voter turnout in Indian General Elections 2014

Voter turnout in Indian General Elections 2014

The voter turnout was 66.4 per cent, the highest in democratic India, though it needs to increase further. There were 149 million first-time voters between 18 and 23 years of age and they were the primary target of the social media campaign. The Internet and Mobile Association of India estimates that a well-executed social media campaign can swing 3-4 per cent votes, which can be decisive in a multi-cornered contest. Thus, as we can see that digital adoption is slowly finding its way into the government departments. Let us hope the transition takes place sooner than later.

Source:

http://www.pwc.in/en_IN/in/assets/pdfs/publications/2013/smart-governance-and-technology.pdf http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/cabinet-clears-digital-india-programme/ http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-09-23/news/54239480_1_digital-india-google-india-rajan-anandan http://www.ibtimes.com/mark-zuckerberg-meets-narendra-modi-facebook-ceo-assures-contribution-digital-india-1703358 http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/s-y-quraishi-democracy-india-elections-process-media/1/394984.html

Satyamev Jayate: Extraordinary tales of Ordinary People

“In a gentle way you can shake the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

I have always been a firm believer in doing social community some good while I have the power and ability.
Everybody earns respect through his/her body of work but very few think about doing good to the society. In my opinion, medical doctors and teachers are a rare breed that constantly serves the society through their daily work.
Just a few days back, I overheard somebody saying at a party “It feels so much better now with Narendra Modi in power, no bureaucrat dares to hang out in Golf clubs wasting time and money of the people”. Do you also agree with the same?
While I agree that a good percentage of bureaucrats may be taking avoidable time span in decision making or for that matter delaying decisions, but what about the remaining bureaucrats who toil away 40 years of their lives to the service of people and nation? Such bureaucrats hardly have time to feast a month in a year and engage in their own business without caring for the society. I feel it was wrong on one’s part to form a judgment against the entire community of bureaucrats while observing only a select few. I am not saying this because I’m a retired bureaucrat but because I find it unfair. But yes, there is a dire need to change the perspective about bureaucrats by the bureaucratic community by working hard and producing tangible results.
It is heartening to see that Television and Bollywood has also taken a significant step in the direction of social cause. Here are a few shows that I can recall:

The most prominent amongst them is Satyamev Jayate, which is a joint venture between Aamir Khan Productions and Star Tv.

Satyamev-Jayate-Logo

Satyamev-Jayate-Logo

There are others that have made a mark in their own right:

Crime Patrol– It was one of the earliest shows that shed light on a lot of crimes that otherwise go unnoticed.

crime patrol

crime patrol

Change Aayega Hum Laayenge– It shows good guys in the youth and how they bring about change in the society.

change-aayega

change-aayega

The world has witnessed many celebrities who have taken up social causes close to their heart and have made a difference to the society.
Notable amongst them is Robert Redford who has been closely identified with the Green Movement.

George Clooney is helping forge the emerging model of 21st century celebrity activism through his relief telethon during Haiti Earthquake.

george clooney hope for haiti now

george clooney hope for haiti now

As a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations since 2001, Angelina Jolie has used her celebrity status to shine attention on the struggles of refugees everywhere from Cambodia and Thailand to Sierra Leone.

Angelina Jolie talks to to Syrian refugees in a camp on the Jordan-Syria border

Angelina Jolie talks to to Syrian refugees in a camp on the Jordan-Syria border

In India, Aamir Khan is the celebrity that comes to my mind who can cut through all strata of society and bring about a significant change in the mindset of people.
What I particularly like about the concept of Satyamev Jayate is its level of interactivity. People not only talk about their lives to Aamir Khan during the Television slot but also have a chance to post their views and opinions after the show gets over in ‘Mumkin hai’ segment.
I have been following the promos of Satyamev Jayate and I particularly like the one in which the office clerk who gets a bribe offer and instead of taking the bribe asks bribe-giver to watch Satyamev Jayate.

Satyamev-Jayate-2 promo

Satyamev-Jayate-2 promo

Satyamev-Jayate-3 promo

Satyamev-Jayate-3 promo

Satyamev-Jayate-4 promo

Satyamev-Jayate-4 promo

One of the episodes that I fondly remember is the Criminalization of Politics in which Dr. SY Quraishi, Chief Patron of Delhi Heritage Foundation, was invited and he enlighted the gathering about the malpractices in Voting process: http://www.satyamevjayate.in/criminalization-of-politics.aspx.
It was a true eye-opener.

Dr SY Quraishi, Former Chief Election Commissioner with Aamir Khan

Dr SY Quraishi, Former Chief Election Commissioner with Aamir Khan

Mr Aamir Khan and Mr Rajkumar Hirani were in Delhi for the shoot of upcoming Bollywood movie P.K last year. During the interaction with Mr. Khan, I told him that he may keep anchoring the show as people see him as a “change agent”. He replied in affirmative to do so.

with Aamir Khan

with Aamir Khan

Here is a preview of the insights of Satyamev Jayate:

Satyamev Jayate

Satyamev Jayate

Satyamev Jayate-Public Donations

Satyamev Jayate-Public Donations

Satyamev Jayate-Word Cloud

Satyamev Jayate-Word Cloud

Satyamev Jayate-Social Footprint

Satyamev Jayate-Social Footprint

Satyamev Jayate-Votes

Satyamev Jayate-Votes

 

I hope that Satyamev Jayate’s new episode starting from today shall keep the momentum going and shall bring to the fore the extraordinary contribution of the ordinary people.
I request you to take a moment and think what social good did you do today?

Source:
http://www.satyamevjayate.in/
http://www.india.com

Swachata Abhiyan: The ideal way forward!

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”- Michael Jordan.

After many years, today I feel very contented. This morning when I woke up and was getting through my daily chores, I heard slogans by nearby school children in my residential area, “Thoda toh haath badhao, Bharat ko Swachch banao” which in English means ‘Do your bit to make India clean’.

Cleanliness drive by students

Cleanliness drive by students via avenuemail.in

It was indeed heartening to see those young children imbibing the values of a clean India. Fortunately, our PM Narendra Modi has the vision of a clean India and has stressed it as the way forward. During his speech in USA, he said that he was asked by others to have a vision and he translated the Vision into a clean India vision. As rightly pointed out by PM Modi, every family shall be saving Rs. 6000-7000 a month by saving on on medical expenses due to lack of unhygienic conditions and since bread-earners will not fall sick as frequently due to clean environment, he/she will be able to avoid absenteeism from workplace and earn more. This shall be beneficial to the nation, as it will increase the productivity of the entire nation. The cleanliness drive around religious places shall increase the number of religious tourists and will provide employment opportunities.

Ravi Shankar Prasad during Cleanliness drive

Ravi Shankar Prasad during Cleanliness drive

Ok so here is an exercise for you, take 2 minutes to think of 10 countries that might be the cleanest in the world. When I did the exercise, I could only think of countries such as Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland etc. Were you able to think of any Asian or African country in the 10 cleanest countries list?

In a study done by Forbes.com in 2010 to rank the World’s 10 Cleanest countries, one would expect the list to be full of European countries. However, to my surprise, there were 3 countries in the list that were of smaller size and having lower GDP than India.

Costa Rica: That such a relatively poor and developing country ranks third in the EPI is testament to the natural endowments of Costa Rica, with dense forests, plentiful water and abundant wildlife.

Costa Rica- Forbes 10 cleanest country

Costa Rica- Forbes 10 cleanest country

Mauritius: A tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean to the east of Madagascar, Mauritius is far and away the highest-ranking nation of Sub-Saharan Africa!

Mauritius- Forbes 10 cleanest country

Mauritius- Forbes 10 cleanest country

Cuba: Researchers doubt the veracity of Cuba’s data, which shows higher levels of public health, (including almost universal access to sanitation and clean water) than GDP would suggest.

Cuba- Forbes 10 cleanest country

Cuba- Forbes 10 cleanest country

In my opinion, the above mentioned countries have earned their place in the ranking by making optimum use of the available resources. But do you think that India cannot achieve the same? Is India not endowed with dense forests, water, abundant wildlife? Instead, I feel that rich cultural heritage of India is an add-on.

Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest

Sunset at Radhanagar beach

Sunset at Radhanagar beach

Varanasi ganga

Varanasi ganga

Experience Heritage of India 4.bp.blogspot.com

In my opinion, it is just a matter of mindset and a spark that shall pave the way for a Clean India. The spark has been provided by the Prime Minister, now it is up to us to follow suit and make India more live-able and more like-able.

Let us take the Swachata pledge:

pledge

Take the pledge

1. I shall not spit in public and discourage others from doing so.
2. I shall not litter in public and discourage others from doing so.
3. I shall not urinate in open areas and discourage others from doing so.
4. I shall not encroach area.
5. I shall not write anything on monuments of historic significance and discourage others from doing so.

If each of us follow the pledge, we shall serve ourselves and the community.
Most importantly, we will be able to sleep satisfactorily.

Source:
http://www.forbes.com

Season of 330 million Gods is here! Incredible India!

The concept of Tourism started with Tirthatan, Deshathan and presently Paryatan. In India, religious tourism has its own significance, as it is generally a high-volume, low-end tourism.

About Navratri:

Navratri in Sanskrit means 9 nights. Shakti or feminine power is celebrated or worshiped during the sacred time of Navratri. Forms of Shakti worshipped during Navratri are: Durga, Bhadrakali, Amba, Annapoorna Devi, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita, Bhavani and Mookambika.

Navaratri

Navaratri

In Gujarat, Navratri is celebrated with great fervor with men and women dressed up in traditional Gujarati attire play garba every night during the navratri.

Navratri- Gujarat

Navratri- Gujarat

In West Bengal, Durga Puja is celebrated during the same time and images of Durga slaying the demon buffalo Mahishasura are built and displayed in temples.

Durga Puja Festival

Durga Puja Festival

About Dussehra:

Dussehra is the tenth day of Navratri and celebrated as the day Lord Rama defeated the demon king Ravan in Lanka.

Burning Ravana effigy

Burning Ravana effigy

In Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, Dussehra has its origins dating back to 17th century. One won’t see effigies burning. Thus, celebrations are a bit different but nothing less than spectacular. The 10 day event preceding Dussehra begins with the Rathyatra of Lord Rama to the Dhalpur maidaan. Then, the various Gods with processions and bands arrive and the Gaddi shepherds come down from their homes in the hills to sing, dance and praise the gods.

26th Sept Kullu dusshera3

Bed and Breakfast during Dussehra

Foreign tourist particularly from Europe and USA, visit India during this time to witness the celebrations and become part of such celebrations. This is where the importance of Bed and Breakfast comes in as the they like to visit Ramlila, Durga puja pandals, burning of effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbkaran and have real feeling of existence of 330 million Gods of Incredible India!

Buddha Religious circuit

Keeping in view the tremendous potential of Religious Tourist arrival, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India, has launched Buddha circuit that includes sites of significance related to the life of the Buddha and is sacred to 500 million Buddhists and also attracts non-Buddhist tourists interested in historical heritage sites such as Bodhgaya in Bihar, Sarnath and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, and Lumbini in Nepal.

buddhist circuit

buddhist circuit

Swachata Abhiyan

Small things make big impact! Prime Minister, Narendra Modi launched Cleanliness drive on 2nd October. As Prime Minister, he was advised to expand his vision but he understood the importance of cleanliness and hygiene to attract more tourists besides raising the standard of living.

Swachhata Abhiyan

Swachhata Abhiyan

In India, Dussehra, Diwali and Holi are celebrated with fervor and gaiety. This festive season of Dussehra and Diwali is no less important than Christmas celebration in December. Delhi bustles with activity and one can find frequent traffic jams all over the city but it does not lessen the enthusiasm of the people. In India, the tourism season starts from mid-September and goes on till March in most of the regions.

 

Month Foreign Tourist Arrival, 2013 Change in FTA from previous month %age change in FTA from previous month
September 453561
October 598095 144534 32%
November 733923 135828 22%
December 821581 87658 12%

 

As the data shows, the months of Sept-December account for almost 60% of Foreign Tourist Arrival in India.

As a closing remark, I hope that during this festive season and pro-active governance, there will be an increase in Foreign Tourist and Foreign Exchange Earnings.

Credits:

www.tourism.gov.in | www.wbginvestmentclimate.org |  www.india.com