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) –
- Maharashtra – 50,83,126
- Tamil Nadu – 28,04,687
- Delhi – 18,93,650
- Uttar Pradesh – 16,75,123
- Rajasthan – 12,78,523
- West Bengal – 11,92,187
- Kerala – 6,59,265
- Bihar – 6,35,722
- Himachal Pradesh – 4,53,616
- 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.
“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).
“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?
“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)?