‘Niche’ Tourism segments in India – Are you aware of them?

Incredible IndiaSource: http://www.incredibleindia.org/#/media-kit/media-kit/hi-res-images

The Ministry of Tourism has identified some ‘niche’ tourism segments in India and wants to create and promote them as tourist attractions, both in the domestic and international circuits.

Before that, let us have a look at the Top 10 Indian States visited by foreigners for tourism and the number of people who visited each state (for the year 2010) -

  1. Maharashtra – 50,83,126
  2. Tamil Nadu – 28,04,687
  3. Delhi – 18,93,650
  4. Uttar Pradesh – 16,75,123
  5. Rajasthan – 12,78,523
  6. West Bengal – 11,92,187
  7. Kerala – 6,59,265
  8. Bihar – 6,35,722
  9. Himachal Pradesh – 4,53,616
  10. Goa – 4,41,053

Source: ‘India tourism statistics at a glance’ Incredible India 2010 (Ministry of Tourism report). I am not sure how they get this data and if this data is only for tourist visitors (or) for tourist & business visitors from abroad.

From the same report, we also have the Top 5 countries whose citizens have visited India (for the year – 2010). They are: 1. USA, 2. UK, 3. Bangladesh, 4. Canada, 5. Germany.

As you can see, considerable number of people from abroad visit India every year and they come from far off places like North America and Europe. In addition to the traditional pull, it’s also important to have modern tourist amenities so that tourists can have a memorable experience.

The Ministry of Tourism, India is doing its bit to promote some ‘niche’ tourist segments in India (as given below). But I am not sure how many people are aware of this and how much further information is available about them on the net.

Source (for the below mentioned info): Annual report 2011-2012, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

Cruise Tourism

“India, with its vast and beautiful coast line, virgin forests and undisturbed idyllic islands, rich historical and cultural heritage, can emerge as an attractive tourist destination for cruise tourists”

It seems, there are two types of cruise tourism – Ocean cruise and river cruise. Cruise tourism is traveling in a ship with all entertainment/cuisine facilities. The Cochin port is being developed for Ocean cruise tourism. The river cruise circuit is being developed in – Godavari & Krishna rivers in Andhra Pradesh, Ganga Heritage river cruise in West Bengal, Mandovi/Zuari rivers in Goa (among others).

Adventure tourism

“Any constructive activity which tests the endurance of both a person and his equipment to its extreme limit is termed as adventure. Adventure travel involves exploration or travel to remote, exotic areas”

Activities like hand-gliding, para-gliding, bungee jumping, river rafting, rock climbing, aero-sports, winter sports, water sports, wildlife tourism, mountaineering, trekking, etc. are identified as adventure tourist activities. Some of them are common, but do you know any sites offering the first six activities? If you do, let me know in the comments section.

Medical & Wellness tourism

“Wellness tourism is about traveling for the primary purpose of achieving, promoting and maintaining maximum health and a sense of well-being. It is about being proactive in discovering new ways to promote a healthier, less stressful lifestyle. It’s about finding a balance in one’s life”

Medical tourism is traveling to obtain health-care treatments like surgeries, psychiatry, alternative medicines, etc. Wellness tourism includes traditional treatment methods like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and learning/practicing ancient art forms like Yoga, Panchakarma, Rejuvenation therapy, Meditation, etc. I guess many resorts/hotels/centers already provide such facilities.

Golf tourism & Polo tourism

The report says that there are golf courses in India, but are they available for tourists and short term use? Any idea where they are located?

It seems, modern Polo originated in India (Manipur/Assam) and was popularized in the west by the British. One of the oldest polo clubs, the ‘Calcutta Polo Club’ is still in existence.

Eco tourism & Rural tourism

“Eco (ecological) tourism is responsible travel to fragile, pristine and usually protected areas. It’s purpose is to educate the travelers, provide funds for ecological conservation, and directly benefit the economic/political empowerment of local communities”

OK. But where?

Rural tourism

“To showcase rural life, art, culture and heritage at rural locations and in villages that have a core competence in arts, crafts, handloom, textiles and natural environment”

It seems, rural tourism projects at 72 rural sites were completed by the end of January 2012. Can anyone tell me where some of these sites are located (if you know)?

Destination Infinity

24 thoughts on “‘Niche’ Tourism segments in India – Are you aware of them?

    1. We have a very conventional idea about tourism, which needs to change soon if we want to attract more tourists…

      Destination Infinity

    1. Wellness/rural tourism is new to me too… If more information was available in the report, it would have been useful to everyone.

      Destination Infinity

  1. All this is very good but the problem I have is although these are advertised and many people go , some places are lovely but later they are not maintained properly ..

    but toursim is a good industry and india surly has a big big potential in it ..

    1. Well, let’s hope that things will change for the better. I have already seen some sites that are maintained well… India has a unique flavor when it comes to tourism and if we are able to enhance the experience of the tourists even more, we might get even more revenue from this segment…

      Destination Infinity

    1. I was unaware of the various tourist segments myself. I happened to read that report accidentally and thought why not share it in the blog…

      Destination Infinity

  2. When I was in Dubai some of my friends used to go to Yoga retreat centers and they said it was fantastic. It’s too bad I only got to visit Kolkata when I was in India, I really wanted to go to Goa. Heard it is one of the most amazing places in India.

    1. Yeah, Goa is different from the rest of India and tourism has boomed in that place. There is always a next time…

      Destination Infinity

    1. I have also heard of river rafting in Rishikesh. More recently, Gujarat Government has started paragliding and other air-adventure sports somewhere (not sure about the exact place in Gujarat).

      Destination Infinity

    1. Thanks for that info… I wish there was a single govt. portal that details all the tourist spots in various niches in a single place. It would have been useful for many people. Right now, it’s still word of mouth predominantly.

      Destination Infinity

  3. You didn’t add wedding tourism. Destination weddings are a rage and people (who can obviously afford it) fly down to celebrate their weddings in style.
    What a life! Sigh…

    1. The problem with wedding tourism in India is, all the relatives need to be taken to that tourist spot! And with the number of relatives that each family has, the expenditure will skyrocket (to say the least). But yeah, minimum set of people can fly and celebrate their wedding in some exotic location. In Germany, a couple got married in the sky on a helicopter! :)

      Destination Infinity

  4. Goa in Maharashtra is a famous tourist place that attracts thousands of foreign tourist. But medical tourism is the other growing concept that is attracting thousand and thousand of international patients to India and Maharashtra to get themselves treated at an affordable price but quality and standard are nothing less than any medically developed countries in the world.

  5. Have been to Rajastha, Delhi, Kerala and Goa late year in December. Was spellbound by the beauty of these places and culture. Enjoyed Evey moment in India and wish to visit again.

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