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The sleeping giant – India wakes up to the tourism challenge

This passion for India seems to be shared by today’s travellers, with more than three million tourists set to visit the country…

This passion for India seems to be shared by today’s travellers, with more than three million tourists set to visit the country this year and an impressive growth rate of 15.3 % during 2003.

Mark Twain described it as ‘the one land that all men desire to see,’ while the French philosopher Romain Rolland said ‘if there is one place on the face of this earth where all dreams of living men have found a home… it is India.”

This passion for India seems to be shared by today’s travellers, with more than three million tourists set to visit the country this year and an impressive growth rate of 15.3 % during 2003.

But while the Indian government and the tourism, hospitality and leisure industries are doing a great deal to make the country more attractive to visitors, there are several critical areas that need attention before India can claim to be a premier destination.

Going for growth

The country that invented the decimal system is now adding up the benefits of the recent boom in tourism. Last year, it generated US$ 27.8 billion for the national economy, with expectations of US$ 31.1 billion for 2004. The World Trade and Tourism Council predicts this will top US$ 63.95 billion in ten years time.

2004 started with a bang, with foreign exchange earnings up by 21% during the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Even though the whole of Asia then faltered because of the SARS outbreak, India continued to grow marginally, recording a strong annual performance overall.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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