study on indian tourism vs tourism in other asian countries



study on indian tourism vs tourism in other asian countries
This report is totally put focused on the Indian tourism scenario as well as the tourism
trends in other Asian countries. As the world progresses the tourism is becoming one
of the biggest industry in the world.
Economies like Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong are mainly based
on tourism. India is also making its presence through the campaigning of Incredible
India!. The report also shows the mechanism of the marketing of Indian tourism with
the world tourism.
India is a country with rich culture and heritage and a large visitor attractions to boast
of. India's cultural heritage and eco-tourism potential are the major consumer
preferences of the tourists, visiting India. Its diversity attracts to urists both foreigners
as well as its’ own citizens , to explore scenic beauty that it has to offer the world.
There is no other country in the world which offers such wide choice of destinations
like India. These include history tourism, adventure tourism, medical tourism
(Ayurveda and other forms of Indian medications), spiritual tourism, beach tourism
(India has the longest coastline in the East).According to a research, conducted by
Europe's leading travel magazine " Conde Nast Traveller" the top three tourist
destinations of the world are Italy, Australia and France. India has been ranked ninth
by this study report.
Marketing is a societal process by which individual and groups obtain what they need
and want through creating, offering and freely exchanging products and services of
value with or other wise it is the process of planning and executing the conception,
pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods. Services to create exchanges that
satisfy individual and organizational goals.
Marketing strategy is a set of objective polices and rules that leas the company's
marketing efforts. It is the marketing approach to accomplish the bread objective of
the marketing plan. The several of marketing strategy are given below.
1. Selecting largest markets segmentation.
2. Positioning
3. Product
4. Price
5. Place
6. Promotion
7. Research and Development
8. Marketing research
It is an effort to increases a company's precision marketing. The starting of any
segmentation discussion is mass marketing. In mass marketing the seller engages in
the mass promotion of one product for all buyers. Market segment consist of a large
identifiable group within a market with similar wants, purchasing power geographical
location, buying attitudes or buying habit. It is an approach midway between mass
marketing and individual marketing. Through this, the choice of distribution channels
and communication channels become much easier. The researcher try to form
segment by looking at consumer characteristics; geographic, and psychographics.
After segmenting the market then target market selected.
The positioning is a creative exercise done with an existing product. The well known
products generally hold a distinctive
position in consumers' minds. The positioning requires that every tangible aspect of
product, price, place and promotion must support the chosen positioning strategy.
Company should develop a unique selling proposition strategy. Company s should
develop a unique selling proposition (USP) for each brand and stick to it. Price, PPL
consistently promotes it’s DAP fertilizer by higher yield at lower cost. As companies
increase the number of claims for their brand, they risk disbelief and a loss of clear
positioning. In general a company must avoid four major positioning errors. Those
under positioning over positioning confused positioning and doubt positioning.
A product is any offering that can satisfy a need or want. The major types of basic
offering are goods services, experiences, events, places, properties, organization,
information and ideas. The company gives more importance in- quality, packaging,
services etc to satisfy the customers. The product has its life cycle. The product
strategic is modified in different stages of product life cycle.
It is the most importance aspect in company's point of view. Price of the product will
be decided by the company according to the competitor's price.
This plays a major role in the entire marketing system. The company emphasis on its
distribution network. Proper distribution network gives proper availability of the
Promotion is the one of the major aspects in marketing strategy. By adopting various
promotional activities the company create strong brand image. It is also helps in
increasing the brand awareness. It includes advertising sales promotion and public
relation etc.
After testing, the new product manager must develop a preliminary marketing strategy
plan for in trod using the new product in to the market. The plan consists of three
parts. The first part describes the target market's size, structure and behavior. The
second part our line is the planned price, distribution strategy and marketing budget
for the first year. The third part of the development describes the long run sales and
profit goals and marketing - mix strategy over come.
The set of controllable tactical tools- product, price, promotion, and place (4 Ps) that
the firm blends to produce the response it wants, in the target markets.
Table of Contents
Executive summery
Literature Review
Table Of Content
Chapter 1 : Introduction
a) Overview
b) Scope of study
c) Database Methodology
d) Plan of study
Chapter 2 : History of Indian Tourism
a) Tourism in pre-independence phase
b) Tourism since 1947
Chapter 3 : Indian tourist centers
a) Eastern Zone
b) Western Zone
c) Southern Zone
d) Northern Zone
Chapter 4 : Incredible India !
a) Mechanism to promote Indian tourism
b) Failure of change
Chapter 5 : Tourist place in Asia
a) Hong Kong
b) Thailand
c) Malaysia
d) Taiwan
e) Singapore
f) Dubai
g) Other Places
Chapter 6 : Impact of tourism on economy and culture
a) Indian Prospect
b) Asian Prospect
Chapter 7 : Tourism business in India
a) Tour operators
b) Employment opportunities
c) Foreign exchange earner
Chapter 8 : Challenges to tourism
a) Terrorist attacks
b) Political problems and Wars
c) Recession in economy
Chapter 9 : Place of India among other Asian countries in Tourism sector 270-285
Chapter10: Areas to promote as tourist destination in different countries
Chapter11: Tourism promotion strategies by different countries
Chapter12: Conclusion
Since the beginning of time humans have traveled. Food, water, safety or acquisition
of resources (trade) were the early travel motivations. But the idea of travel for
pleasure or exploration soon emerged. Travel has always depended upon technology
to provide the means or mode of travel. The earliest travelers walked or rode
domesticated animals. The invention of the wheel and the sail provided new modes of
transportation. Each improvement in technology increased individuals' opportunities
to travel. As roads were improved and governments stabilized, interest in travel
increased for education, sightseeing, and religious purposes. One of the earliest travel
guides was written by Pausanias, a Greek, which was a 10 volume Guide to Greece,
for Roman tourists in 170 A.D..
Tourism is a collection of activities, services and industries that delivers a travel
experience, including transportation, accommodations, eating and drinking
establishments, retail shops, entertainment businesses, activity facilities and other
hospitality services provided for individuals or groups traveling away from home. The
World Tourism Organization (WTO) claims that tourism is currently the worlds
largest industry with annual revenues of over $3 trillion dollars. Tourism provides
over six million jobs in the United States, making it the country's largest employer.
Definition of Tourism
Mathieson and Wall (1982) created a good working definition of tourism as "the
temporary movement of people to destinations outside their normal places of work
and residence, the activities undertaken during their stay in those destinations, and the
facilities created to cater to their needs."
According to Macintosh and Goeldner (1986) tourism is "the sum of the phenomena
and relationships arising from the interaction of tourists, business suppliers, host
governments and host communities in the process of attracting and hosting these
tourists and other visitors."
Other terms of interest are:
Excurionist: Persons traveling for pleasure in a period less than 24 hours (Macintosh
and Goeldner, 1986).
Foreign Tourist: Any person visiting a country, other than that in which he/she usually
resides, for a period of at least 24 hours (Committee of Statistical Experts of the
League of Nations, 1937).
Travel: The act of moving outside one's home community for business or pleasure but
not for commuting or traveling to or from school (Macintosh and Goeldner, 1986).
Visitor: Any person visiting a country other than that in which he/she has his/her
usual place of residence, for any reason other than following an occupation
remunerated from within the country visited (United Nations Conference on
International Travel and Tourism, 1963).
Transportation Systems
The type and availability of transportation will determine travel destinations. The
development of accommodations were likewise determined by the development of
transportation systems. These systems are listed below
Stagecoach (1500 A.D.) Invented in Hungary.
Railroads (1825)First passenger train was in England.
Boats & Ships (early 400 B.C., but first ocean liner 1840)
Automobile (1908) Henry Ford's Model T
Air Travel (1919) by what is now know as Lufthansa Airline.
Space Travel (2015) estimated date for passenger travel into suborbital space.
Dimensions of Tourism
All tourism activities are related to one or more of the following dimensions of
Attractions: Are the primary motivation for traveling. They may be a primary
destination such as Disney World or secondary destination which are interesting
places to visit on the way to your primary destination. Most tourist traveling from the
east to go to Las Vegas will stopover at the Grand Canyon national Park on the way.
Attractions usually focus on natural resources, culture, ethnicity or entertainment.
Natural Resources: Natural resources are the combination of physical features
(Yosemite National Park, California), the climate (Vail, Colorado), and the natural
beauty of the area (Acadia National Park, Maine). The challenge to managing natural
resources based tourism is to preserve the natural resource from the impact of the
Culture: A way of life which is observed through a peoples religion, history,
government and traditions.
Ethnicity: To visit family and friends.
Entertainment: Tourism developments of all sizes from Disney World, Universal
Studios, Las Vegas to local community Special Events and Festivals such as the
Bloomsday Road Race in Spokane, Washington.
X-treme Tourism: Tourism based on high adventure activities.
Facilities: When tourists arrive at attractions they require facilities to provide services.
Lodging: Represent a variety of services from campgrounds, RV parks, motels and
five star resorts.
Food & Beverage: Not only provide basic sustenance for tourists but an important
factor in the overall tourism experience.
Support Services: Usually are represented by small retail businesses providing
souvenirs and personal services. Shopping is an integral part of the travel experience.
Tourists seek unique and novel items which represent the area and cultures they visit.
Infrastructure: The basic services on which all tourism depends. These systems
include water and sewer systems, communication networks, medical facilities,
electricity, police and fire protection and roads.
Time and Money: This is the critical component to tourism, the ability to get from
Point A to Point B and back, or to Point C, D, E.... The variables of Time, how long it
takes to get to a specific destination, and Money, how much it costs to get to your
destination. Tourism developments are dependent on the ease of access and types of
transportation available.
Hospitality: The community's attitude which permeates every tourism location that
makes the tourist feel welcome and safe. It is the result of the interaction between the
tourist and the local population.
Essential Requirements for Tourism
1. Time, as the hours for leisure increase so does the opportunity for travel. Changes
in work days or hours, school calendars will affect how and when people can travel.
The overall travel pattern has moved from a two week vacation to 6-8 three or four
day mini-vacations per year.
2. Money, the majority of travel requires discretionary income. Discretionary
income is money left over after all monetary obligations (food, rent and taxes) have
been paid.
3. Mobility, is the access to transportation (car, bus, plane, train or ship) and the
hours required to get to their destination.
4. Motivation, is the reason people travel. Motivations may include seeking novelty,
education, meet new people, adventure or stress reduction.
Indian government sees Tourism as an upcoming industry in India. Even the tourism
statistics show increasing demand of India tours and in the tourism business world
over. Tourists' interest in India is due to the curiosity factor attached to the varied
culture of India.
Every year, tourists from all over the globe visit India for vacation as well as spiritual
purposes. The temples in India specially those in the holy cities of Rishikesh,
Varanasi (also known as Kashi or Benaras), Haridwar, Puri, Mathura, Shirdi etc.
attract a large crowd of foreign as well as local tourists.
The architecture in India, rural India, tourism in Indian states, ecotourism packages
and mainly the monuments depicting the history of India attracts numerous
enthusiasts visiting India.
Tourism in India has registered significant growth in the recent years. In 1951,
International Tourist Arrivals stood at around 17 thousand only while the same has
now gone up to 3.91 million in 2005.
The upward trend is expected to remain firm in the coming years. Tourism is the third
largest net earner of foreign exchange for the country recording earnings of US $
5731 million in 2005, a growth of 20.2% over 2004. it is also one of the sectors which
employs the largest number of manpower. The first ever Tourism Satellite Accounts
for India compiled by NCAER for the year 2002-03 showed that tourism employed
38.8 million persons, directly and indirectly, which was 8.3% of the total employment
in the country and who contributed 5.8% of the GDP. These figures are estimated to
have increased to 41.85 million employed in 2003-04 with a GDP contribution of
5.9%. Various studies have also shown that tourism generates the highest employment
per unit of investment for the skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled. The World Travel
and Tourism council (WTTC) has identified India as one of the foremost growth
centers in the world in the coming decade.
While the growth in tourism has been impressive, India's share in total global tourism
arrivals and earnings in quite insignificant. It is an accepted fact that India has
tremendous potential for development of tourism. The diversity of India's natural and
cultural richness provides the basis of a wide range of tourist products and
experiences, which embrace business, leisure, culture, adventure, spirituality, ecotourism and many other pursuits. Apart from acknowledging the traditionally
recognized advantages of developing tourism for the promotion of national
integration, international understanding, earning of foreign exchange and vast
employment generation, it can play a major role in furthering the socio-economic
objectives of nation.
The Ministry of Tourism adopted a multi-pronged approach in order to achieve this
growth. Providing a congenial atmosphere for tourism development, strengthening the
tourism infrastructure and hospitality related services, integrated development of
identified destinations and circuits, integrating elements of tourism, emphasizing on
culture and clean civic life marketing of tourism products I a focused manner along
with a branding exercise and 0positioning India as a high value destination in the new
key markets and giving thrust on the human resource development activities have
been the hallmarks of this strategy. The focus of product development in the States
also underwent a change by enhanced outlays for 'destination development up to an
amount of Rs. 5 crore and 'circuit development' up to an amount of Rs. 8 crore. A new
proposal was moved to allocate up to Rs. 50 crore for individual destinations with
high tourist footfalls in order to totally redesign the experience of the tourist through
greater organization and provision of civic facilities.
The important initiatives taken by the Government to improve the flow of foreign
tourists into the country and thereby increasing the country's share in the world
tourism included the following:1. Beginning of cruise tourism by an international shipping firm.
2. Direct approach to the consumers through electronic and print media through
the "Incredible India" Campaign called "Colours of India".
3. Creation of World Class Collaterals.
4. Centralized Electronic Media Campaign.
5. An integrated campaign in South East Asia to promote Buddhist sites in India.
6. Direct co-operative marketing with tour operators and wholesalers overseas.
7. Greater focus in the emerging markets particularly in the region of China,
South Korea, Japan and South East Asia.
8. Participation in over 185 Trade Fairs & Exhibitions all over the world.
9. Optizmizing Editorial PR and Publicity.
10. Use of Internet and Web marketing.
11. Generating Tourist Publications.
12. Re-enforcing hospitality programmes including grant of air passages to invite
media personnel and tour operators on familiarization tours to India to get first
hand knowledge on various tourism products.
13. Launching of Road Shows in key source markets of Europe, America, South
East Asia and the Middle East.
14. Focusing on growth of hotel infrastructure particularly budget hotels.
15. Enhancing connectivity through augmentation of air capacity and improving
road infrastructure to major tourist attractions.
16. Introduction of the Medical Visa.
17. Guidelines formulated for the classification of Time-Share Resorts, Serviced
Apartments, Guest Houses and Home-Stay accommodation.
Impressive strides were made in the field of Human Resource Development. The
Institute of Hotel Management continued to be the backbone of manpower training for
hospitality industry in the country. The Diploma courses offered by these Institute
were upgraded to a Degree course. The scheme of 'Capacity Building for Service
Providers' also continued to be implemented for providing basic skills to unorganized
sector service providers engaged in activities having direct interaction with the
tourists. The first Phase of the "Atithi Devo Bhava" Programme was completed during
which over 26,000 stakeholders in seven cities were trained.
The allocation of plan funds was raised from Rs.500.00 crore in 2004-05 to Rs.786
crore in 2005-06.
The new priorities and initiatives have been actuated with a sound backing of a
National Tourism Policy. With the significant positive trends in the year 2005, the
Tourism industry is poised for a brighter 2006.
India is located in the south of the Asian continent, bordering the Arabian Sea and the
Bay of Bengal. The country is slightly more than one-third the size of the United
States. The country's territory is measured at nearly 3.3 million square kilometers (1.3
million square miles) extending from the snow-capped Himalayan Mountains in the
north to tropical forests in the south. India shares more than 14,000 kilometers (8,800
miles) of borders with 7 neighboring countries. To the northwest are Afghanistan and
Pakistan; to the north are China, Bhutan, and Nepal; and to the east are Burma (also
known as Myanmar) and Bangladesh. A narrow channel of sea formed by the Palk
Strait and the Gulf of Mannar separates another neighbor, Sri Lanka, an island nation
with which southeast India shares strong cultural ties. The Indian mainland consists of
4 regions, namely the Himalayan Mountains, the plains of the Ganges and the Indus,
and the southern desert. The Himalayas, which contains the highest peaks in the
world, consists of 3 almost parallel ranges dotted with large plateaus and valleys,
some of which, like Kashmir and Kullu valleys, are vast, fertile, and of great natural
beauty. The plains of the Ganges and the Indus, about 2,400 kilometers (1500 miles)
long and on average about 280 kilometers (175 miles) wide, are formed by the basins
of 3 river systems of the Indus, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra Rivers. These fertile
basins are among the most densely populated areas in the world. India is composed of
25 states and 7 union territories. The top 5 most populated states are Uttar Pradesh
(140 million people), Bihar (86 million), Maharashtra (79 million), West Bengal (68
million), and Andhra Pradesh (67 million). The top 3 most populated union territories
are New Delhi (10 million), Pondichery (800,000), and Chandigarh (650,000).
The caste system (a centuries-old traditionally rigid social hierarchy which allows
little social mobility), though not officially sanctioned today, continues to divide
Indian society. The caste system has a historical basis in the economic organization of
Indian society, with different peoples or castes allocated to various occupations. Many
Hindus believe that people are born into a particular social status based on their
experiences in past lives and that good deeds can help a person scale the rungs of
caste, allowing movement up to a higher caste upon reincarnation in the next life. The
caste system continues to be a strong force, especially in rural India. In many Indian
villages, for example, one's caste influences what food one cooks or what sari one
wears (the garment worn primarily by women in southern Asia made up of several
yards of lightweight cloth). The dalits or "untouchables" are people of traditionally
poor households who may be peasants, laborers, or servants (and their ancestors as
well). Up to this day, many dalits are forced into menial and undesired occupations,
such as cleaning restrooms, sweeping streets, and disposing of the dead—all
considered "unclean" by orthodox Hindus. In the urban areas, the caste system is less
obvious, though it is still defended by many as a way to uphold social order. In recent
years, the government has taken serious measures to stamp out such age-old
discriminatory practices. It has, for example, enacted affirmative action measures that
recognize that some groups in society, such as the dalits, have been left far behind
and have suffered on account of the practice and custom of caste differentiation.
Transportation in India includes roads, railways, aviation, and coastal shipping. The
road network of India totals 2.7 million kilometers (1.3 million miles), making it one
of the largest national networks in the world. Only 40 percent of the road system is
paved, however. Nearly 63,000 kilometers (39,000 miles) of railroads are in operation
in India, transporting millions of passengers and millions of tons of freight daily.
Nearly 13,000 kilometers (8,000 miles) of Indian railroads function by electricity.
Coastal shipping is an energy efficient and comparatively cheaper means of
transportation, especially for bulk cargo. The country has the largest merchant
shipping fleet among the developing countries. India has 14,500 kilometers (9,000
miles) of navigable waterways, which includes rivers, canals, backwaters, and creeks.
Only about one-quarter of those waterways are navigable by large vessels, however.
There are 11 major ports and 139 minor ports along the Indian coastline. The civil
aviation sector is comprised of both private and public lines. Air India, Indian
Airlines, Alliance Air (a subsidiary of Indian Airlines), and various private air taxis
provide domestic and international air services. There are 343 airports, with twothirds having paved runways.
With respect to energy, India is a net importer. Among other fuels, it imports nearly
US$8 billion worth of petroleum annually. Though India constitutes nearly 17 percent
of the world population, it consumes only about 3 percent of the world's total energy,
or 12.2 quadrillion BTUs (British Thermal Units, a common means of expressing
energy as the production of heat) per year. On a per capita basis (12 million BTUs),
Indians consume more than 5 times less energy per year than the average world
citizen (65 million BTUs) and 28 times less than the average American (352 million
BTUs). With increasing economic development, however, these figures are likely to
rise significantly in the near future. Some 75 percent of India's electricity comes from
thermal power plants, which use coal or atomic energy to boil water and in turn
produce electricity. India has large domestic coal reserves and is the third largest coalproducing country in the world, behind China and the United States. More than half
(55 percent) of all energy consumption in India is produced by coal. Another third (31
percent) of energy needs is met by petroleum, and 7 percent by natural gas (the
country consumes about 8 billion cubic feet per year). Some 4 percent of energy
needs are met by renewable and traditional fuels (wood, for instance), 3 percent by
hydropower, and a mere 1 percent by atomic power (India operates 14 atomic reactors
with a combined annual generating capacity of about 2,700 megawatts). The
consumption of natural gas is expected to more than triple by 2010, reaching 2.7
trillion cubic feet per year. Despite increased reliance on natural gas, coal will
continue to be the dominant fuel for power generation in India. The country's
consumption of nearly 350 million tons in 1999 will likely increase by more than 40
percent by 2010, reaching just short of half a billion tons. Proven coal reserves are
estimated to be more than 80 billion tons. Much of India's coal reserves, however, are
not anthracite (which is clean-burning coal), forcing the government to import some
anthracite coal from Australia and New Zealand, much of it for use in the steel
Various government agencies oversee energy policy in India, including the Ministry
of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Ministry of Coal, the Ministry of Non-conventional
Energy Sources, and the Ministry of Power. The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons
(DGH) was set up in 1993 to oversee petroleum exploration programs, develop plans
for the state-owned oil enterprises and private companies, and oversee efficient
utilization of gas fields. Continued economic development and population growth are
driving energy demand faster than India's capacity for energy supply. Electricity in
India reaches about 80 percent of the country. The country faces an electricity
shortage conservatively estimated at 11 percent and as high as 18 percent during peak
demand. As a result, electricity blackouts are common. Furthermore, industry cites
power supply as 1 of the biggest limitations on progress. One estimate projects 8 to 10
percent annual growth in energy demand over the next 15 years. Most of this energy
will probably be imported via ship and pipeline. Oil consumption, for example, may
increase by 60 percent by 2010, climbing to approximately 3.1 million barrels per day
(b/d). Currently, as little as 750,000 b/d of oil is produced domestically, the majority
of which is from the Bombay High, Upper Assam, Cambay, Krishna-Godavari, and
Cauvery basins. The Bombay High Field is India's largest producing field, generating
an average of about 230,000 b/d. The potential for discoveries of offshore oil reserves,
particularly in deep water, is high. So far, exploration has taken place in only onequarter of India's 26 sedimentary basins. India's offshore basins cover approximately
380,000 square kilometers (147,000 square miles). India's off-and onshore basins are
estimated to contain as much as 30 billion tons of hydrocarbon reserves. To satisfy the
growth in energy consumption, the country is also increasing its nuclear power
capability via the construction of new reactors. Although India is trying to encourage
greater foreign participation in its atomic power program, its failure to sign the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT, an international treaty that prohibits
signatories from testing nuclear weapons) has inhibited investment and technical
support from Western firms. Russia has taken advantage of this scenario and has been
awarded permission to construct two 1,000 megawatt (MW) reactors at Kudankulam
in southern India scheduled to begin service in 2006 and 2008. India would like to
increase its atomic power capability by 2.7 times to 7,300 MW by 2007.
The country also has vast hydroelectric potential. Estimates place India's hydroelectric
potential at 86,000 MW, a mere one-quarter of which is being utilized. India plans to
build the world's largest hydroelectric plant on the Brahmaputra River. The dam is
expected to have a capacity of 21,000 MW and cost US$23 billion and be operational
by 2012. Furthermore, special attention is being paid to alternative energy sources
such as wind, solar photo-voltaic (PV) technologies, and biomass. India has abundant
wind resources, ranking fifth in the world in the number of wind power installations;
wind power installed capacity as of June 2000 was 1,175 MW. The Ministry of NonConventional Energy Sources has identified 192 potential sites for wind stations with
a total estimated potential of 20,000 MW. The ministry also estimates India's energy
potential from biomass at nearly 20,000 MW, 3,500 MW being from co-generation
plants using bagasse (a fibrous plant residue left over after the extraction of juice from
sugarcane) from sugar mills. Plans are also in the works to create a national electricity
grid, which would provide for easy power sharing among regions and even
neighboring countries. An impediment to the construction of large power plants has
been scrutiny by public interest groups, which have rightly cited the potential damage
to the environment caused by large hydroelectric dams.
India has probably the least adequate telephone system among industrializing
countries. In 1996, for instance, it had only 12 million telephones. The equivalent of 3
out of every 4 villages have no telephone service and only 5 percent of Indian villages
have long-distance service. Poor telephone service significantly impedes India's
commercial and industrial growth and penalizes the country in global markets.
Recently, several satellite earth stations (including 8 Intelsat and 1 Inmarsat) and
submarine cables to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were put into
service for long-distance communications.
The Indian economy presents a mixture of the traditional and modern. Prior to 1947,
the major sectors were agriculture, forestry, fishing, and textile manufacturing.
Currently, village farming, state agriculture, energy, manufacturing, mining, services,
and a flourishing information technology are the chief economic sectors of India.
Though agriculture employs the most people (186 million), the service sector, with a
labor force of 57 million, contributes the most to the country's income, accounting for
nearly half of India's GDP. Industry and manufacturing expanded rapidly during the
1990s, and information technology is a sector with very high expectations. The
information technology sub-sector of software experienced 70 percent growth in
1999. The CIA World Factbook estimated that agriculture accounted for 25 percent,
industry for 24 percent, and services for 51 percent of GDP in 2000.
The Indian economy is currently at a difficult stage. Despite the initiatives taken by
the government in deepening structural reforms and accelerating the privatization
process, some problems of growth will likely be faced in the near future. Because of
irregular rainfall for the second successive year, for example, agricultural growth was
low or absent in 2000. Industrial growth also slowed, and despite some efforts to open
the economy to private and foreign businesses, the sentiment for new investment has
not improved. The persistence of high international oil prices and the slowdown of the
global economy have compounded the problem. Although the major industries of
Gujarat have fortunately escaped the worst effects of the recent massive earthquake,
the impact of dislocations on the various sectors of the economy cannot be ignored.
Due to its wealth of cultural and recreational facilities, India has had a large tourism
industry. Tourism is India's fourth largest foreign currency earner. The top states for
tourist attractions are Kerala, Delhi, and Assam. The state of Kashmir used to have a
thriving tourism industry; however, the number of tourists has sharply declined due to
political unrest and extremist activities over the border dispute with Pakistan. Overall,
India's tourism in the past decade has been growing at an average rate of about 7
percent yearly. With about 2.25 million people per year, India's international visitors
constitute less than 0.5 percent of world's total number of international tourists. (Top
world tourism countries such as France and Spain receive as many as 50 million
visitors and generate tens of billions of dollars from tourism annually.) The income
generated from tourism in India is estimated to be a mere 1 percent of total world
spending of international tourists or US$3 billion per year. Indeed, more Indians
travel abroad (3 million per year) than tourists visit India. India's tourism industry is
hampered by an international perception of India as being very poor, politically
unstable, and requiring precautions against epidemic diseases, despite the attractions
of its beautiful historic sites, rich and varied cultures, and appetizing cuisine. The Taj
Mahal, for instance, is regarded as one of the architectural marvels of the world. The
country also attracts backpackers and adventurers who come for the local festivals, to
ride on India's famous railroads, or to see the holy Ganges River.
Scope of Study
India is a country with rich culture and heritage and a large visitor attractions to boast
of. India's cultural heritage and eco-tourism potential are the major consumer
preferences of the tourists, visiting India. Its diversity attracts to urists both foreigners
as well as its’ own citizens , to explore scenic beauty that it has to offer the world.
There is no other country in the world which offers such wide choice of destinations
like India. These include history tourism, adventure tourism, medical tourism
(Ayurveda and other forms of Indian medications), spiritual tourism, beach tourism
(India has the longest coastline in the East).According to a research, conducted by
Europe's leading travel magazine " Conde Nast Traveller" the top three tourist
destinations of the world are Italy, Australia and France. India has been ranked ninth
by this study report.
Tourism is the third largest net earner of foreign exchange for the country and one of
the sectors which employs the largest number of manpower . It is estimated that
tourism in India will contribute to 8.5 crore to GDP by 2020. The overall fund
allotment for the Tourism Industry in the 10t h Five year plan was Rs.2900 crores as
against Rs.750.00 crores in the 9t h Five year plan period. The Government of India
is heavily promoting tourism, focusing primarily on its resources and strengths and
innovative plans and strategies. With these boom in economies and thrust on tourism
it has become a priority sector in the states especially the southern part of India which
is globally known for exotic places which is reflected in higher budget allocations and
vibrant and vigorous promotion efforts.Over 15 years of history, internet has gained
widespread acceptance as a communication medium and information source.
According to Internet usage and mobile association of India, internet users in India as
on 2007 are 4.7 crore which is 3.7% of the total population. There are large number of
people who decide on their travel plans by searching online. Internet can provide
direct contact making it easier to create customized packages by linking with several
company’s website. The factors contributing to the success of travel website are lower
distribution costs, higher revenues and larger market share It also complements other
traditionally used information sources such as travel agencies. The tourism
development corporations of states are spending a lot of resources developing and
continuously improving their websites for making them attractive and user friendly.
It is seen as a fast moving sector influenced by individual choices about what to visit
and where to stay. So it is very important to evaluate the websites to improve the
experience of visitors visiting the site by overall value addition. There is research
done by individuals and organizations on improving the effectiveness of the websites
which mark ets destinations all over the globe. There are abundan ce of studies in the
past on role of ecommerce in tourism industry.
Tourism as a system with four components namely destination, marketing, demand
and travel, argued Mill and Morrison (2002) characterized the destination component
as consisting of attractions and events, facilities, infrastructure , transportation and
hospitality resources. Th e internet can be applied for all elements of destination mix,
but the author feels that most research has been focused on online marketing by travel
agents and hotels. Cano and Prentice (1998) proposed a communication concept for
design and management of websites for tourism businesses and presented tourism
websites d eveloped in Scotland.
The levels of planning and strategies used by Australian travel agencies investigating
the use of the web and the functionality of travel agencies websites, marketing
models used and types of information provided by websites is explained by Standing
and Vasudavan (2000).The characteristics of pleasure travelers were identified on the
basis of internet use Bonn(1998). People who use internet to seek travel information
were college educated and under the age of 45. They stayed in commercial
establishments and spent more money traveling. The author suggests that it is almost
impossible to overlook internet because of its advantages like accessibility,
convenience in updating, real time information service, interactive communication
and unique customization capabilities.
The destinations should be appealing to travelers who are likely to have greatest
economic impact and the internet has the p otential of being a viable tool to access
these market segments as suggested by Uysal(1994). Page design, managerial issues
and information content are the three main points in website dev elopment Hanna and
Miller (1997).The websites must be ‘tech nically sound, effective in their marketing
principles and customer friendly as stated by Ismail (2002) .
A study was conducted on understanding the user requirements, behavior and attitude
in visiting the tourism websites and user satisfaction levels and identified problems
for current tourism website development in China Jie Lu and Zi Lu(2004) . In their
study they have identified that there is no much correlation between number of
tourism websites and the number of tourists visiting that place. The authors argue that
the number of tourists visiting a particular destination is dependent on factors such as
reputation of lan dscapes, transport and real services rather than only on web
promotion. In their study they concluded that promoting tourism through website as
an promotional tool only partially contributes to the customer attraction in the tourism
Tourism websites in China ware classified by the type of website provider and the
level of online service Woodroof & Kasper (1998). Based on China s situation the
type of web site provider were identified as government tourism administrative
department, tourism agent, accommodation, tourist destination(attraction)
organizations , personal and IT network company. The type of online service includes
single type service by tourism supplier(such as hotel website only) , intermediary
service (such as tourism agency website), and regional comprehensive websites (such
as city website). Website evaluation research results can be categorized into four
classes. They are Application functionality evaluation ; Cost benefit analysis;
Customer (user) satisfaction assessment and Success factors identification. The
websites functionality evaluation focuses on online service functions provided by Ecommerce websites. Most such evaluation frameworks and models are from a
customer perspective to investigate the extent, scope and comprehensiveness of the
online offering. Cost benefit analysis is one of the popular methods to ev aluate an
information system. E-commerce application is a kind of information systems, many
researches have attempted to identify main cost benefit factors and conduct cost
benefit analysis for E-commerce applications such as Lu (2001) and Brown (2002).
The core cost factors identified in Lu (2001) include the expense of setting up Ecommerce, maintaining E-commerce, Internet connection, hardware/software and
rapid technology changes. The core benefit factors include accessing a greater
customer base, broadening market reach, lowering of entry barrier to new markets,
alternative communication channel, increasing services, enhancing perceived
company image and gaining competitive advantages. Customer satisfaction (u ser
satisfaction) is an important aspect to evaluate websites has prompted to explore how
to measure and model it. Customer satisfaction is positively related to the provision of
customer needs (Woodroof and Kasper, 1998). A set of criteria to assess customer
satisfaction as a part of website evaluation, including information content
satisfaction, usability satisfaction, security satisfaction, conv enience satisfaction ,
efficiency satisfaction and flexibility satisfaction was proposed by Lu and Zhang
(2002) . Usability satisfaction involves user satisfactio n in information up-to-date,
clear language style and links to appropriate resources. E-service website format
design, facilitated browsing, search engine provided, accessing speed and customer
control of a transaction process are considered as sub-criteria for convenience
satisfaction. Customer satisfaction has become one of the dominant factors for the
success of an E-commerce app lication.
Liu and Arnett (2000) proposed a framework to identify website success factors.
Four factors that are critical to website success were identified : information and
service quality, system use, playfulness and system design quality. In similar lines AlMashari and Al-Sanad (2002) listed a number of critical success factors for Ecommerce through analyzing several reported case studies of successful E-commerce
applications. These factors include user-friendly web interface, top management
support, maintaining strong links with customers and suppliers, powering website
with strong search engine, ensuring customer acceptance, and providing up-to-date
information. Except a handful of papers related to tourism , online destin atio n
marketing and comparative study on tourism related websites have received
insufficient attention.
Database Methodology
Tourism growth rates declined sharply in 2008 compared to 2007 and also compared
to the tourism boom seen over 2003-2008. The decline was due to the global
economic meltdown and the terror attacks in Mumbai in November 2008. Decline in
tourism was reflected by the much lower growth rates in international traffic and
receipts, departures, domestic tourism, as well as in all tourist service providing
sectors (accommodation, transport, car rental, travel retail etc.)
The Ministry of Tourism has responded speedily by introducing several steps to
revive tourism, notable ones include declaring 2009, ‘Visit India year’, offering a
variety of promotions to tourists in 2009 and incentives to travel retail agents, hotels
and other tourism service providers to develop tourism. The Ministry increased spend
on advertising campaigns (including for ‘Incredible India’ and the ‘Ahithi Devo
Bhava’ - Visitors are like God - campaigns) to reinforce the rich variety of tourism in
India. Another important area where it has focused is to aggressively promote India as
a safe tourist destination and to emphasise this it has undertaken several measures,
such as stepping up vigilance, setting up a special tourist police force in key cities and
at historically important tourist sites, as well as deploying increased manpower and
resources for improving security checks at key airports and railway stations.
Declining tourist traffic led to falling occupancies in the accommodation sector and
lower air passenger traffic. Many players in the air travel and accommodation sectors
responded with price cuts to sustain demand, however price competition intensified to
such high levels (e.g. in some sectors such as LCC’s) that many airlines found it
impossible to financially sustain themselves in an environment of falling demand and
rising costs. The overall airline industry is expected to post massive losses of Rs80
billion for 2008, and many small hotels have been unable to lower room tariffs to
compete with larger players with deeper financial pockets. To cope with growing
competition, most players are working aggressively to reduce their operational costs
and many airlines (including large national carriers) have approached the government
for a financial bailout. Other strategies adopted are to enter into temporary or
permanent partnerships with a view to share costs and benefit from joint advertising.
statistics on tourist numbers in India •
number of foreign tourists in 2006: about 4 million [AT Jan 07]
increase of tourist arrivals for the past 2 years: 13% annually [AT Jan 07]
tourist arrivals in India: 1995: 2.12 million -- 1999: 2.48 million -- 2000: 2.64
number of Britons visiting India: about 300,000 per year
foreign tourists visiting the Northern states of India: 60 percent
annual domestic tourists: 300 million (may 2004)
number of domestic tourists or travellers in 2002: 270 million (acc. to
Department of Tourism)(NOTE: the above two statistics seem extremely
high, so we assume the Dept of Tourism included all non-essential travel;
holidays, weekend trips, pilgrimages etc.)
growth of domestic travel from 2002 to 2004: 15 to 20 percent
growth of domestic travel within the past 4 years: about 30 percent (may
number of tourists visiting the Taj Mahal in 2003: over 3 million
(most visited Indian tourist attraction) [BBC Sep 04]
foreign exchange earnings from tourism: 2005: approx 230bn Rs (5.7bn
increase of 20.2% from 2004 [AT Jan 07]
foreign exchange earning previous years: 2000: 3.16 billion US dollar -2002: 2.96 billion US dollar
expected growth of Indian tourism industry: 10% annually over the next
(according to World Travel and Tourism Council) [AT Jan 07
advertisement budget of the government for promotion of tourism: 650 million
(recent increase by 60 % - "Incredible India" slogan) [2004]
annual passenger handling of Mumbai and Delhi airports combined: 22
million [2004]
number of passengers flying out of Delhi airport every night between 10 pm
4 am (the bizarre timing of most international flights): around 5,000
(apr 2004)
new branches of tourism in India: medical tourism, graveyard tourism,
slum tourism [AT Jan 07]
average spending of foreign tourist in 2005: Rs 6 lakh(1,470 USD) [AT Jan
people employed directly and indirectly by the tourism sector: almost 42
(or 8.78% of total employment) [AT Jan 07]
hotel occupancy in Delhi dec 03: 90 to 100 %
number of Indians travelling abroad on a holiday 2002: about 5 million
estimated total number of Indians travelling abroad 2004: about 6 million
number of Indians visiting Singapore in 2002: 375,000
number of Indians visiting the USA in 2002: 257,000
number of Indians visiting the UK in 2002: 220,000
number of Indian visitors to China: approx 170,000 (dec 2003)
number of Indians who are issued a visa to Britain: about 500,000 per year.
Plan of study
Website evaluation methods are an important tool to gather information for the
development and design of websites to ensure acceptance by the users. Keeping this
in mind exploratory research is conducted to find out what type of information is
looked for by visitors and the parameters which influence and motivate them to visit
the destination. A function is developed to evaluate the effectiveness of a website and
is used as a basis to evaluate select websites of south India. Effectiveness of a website
is a function of Information content, Interaction and Interchange functions, Customer
oriented webpage design, Advertising products and services, Ease of use, Technical
Quality, Website registration with user id and Promotional direction of the website are
the important parameters on the basis of which website is evaluated ( Jie Lu and Zi
Lu, 2004).Information content is the assessment of information provided on the
website. Information plays a key role in tourism purchase decision by making the
offer tangible, helping in mental imagery and reducing risk. Hanna J.R P and Millar
R.J (1997). Providing trustworthy, dependable and reliable information should be the
prime motto of tourism websites. Jie Lu and Zi Lu (2004) identifies lack of trust as
one of the main barriers for visitors not accepting online services because of a
negative past onlineexperiences. Information dissemination has three sub factors like
presentation, sharing and supporting. Presentation of information includes information
of attractions in and around the place , tourism related news , policies and having a
count of number of visitors visiting the site. Sharing of information consists of options
given to visitors to share ideas, experiences and information and take part in online
chats, consultation and email facilities. Allowing users to email requests and replying
questions on time is an effective way to attract online customers. The option of
language translation would be an added advantage. Support services includes online
queries, surveys, maps, directions regarding reaching destinations and call for
More and more tourists are utilizing internet and online resources for their in
formation needs regarding visiting places (Gursoy and Mc Cleary, 2004). Once the
tourist selects a destination , based on the information obtained from a variety of
sources including websites, it helps the tourist in tailoring a holiday to his or her
particular needs. The quality and quantity of information obtained during the decision
making process h as a positive impact on destination satisfaction ( Peterson, 1997 ;
Szymanski and Hise, 2000). A tourism destination is always a feel good factor. The
tourists depend on both internal (past experience and knowledge) and external
information (internet being one among them) to take a decision. When the internal
search provides sufficient informatio n for making a decision, external search is not
Tourists with previous experience of the destination, the effect of internet or website
may have on destination will b e small as the latter will be determined by the previous
knowledge of destination. Visitors with no previous destination experience, external
sources of information will be the ones providing the information the tourist need s
(Peterson, 1997) The greatest challenge to the website developers in case of tourist
seeking destination information is the amount of information overload which occurs
in internet users because of low cost of information search which leads the user to
undertake a more intensive search for information.(Biswas, 2004). The user suffering
from information overload becomes very selective with respect to the information
taken into consideration in the decision making process and the end result is the drop
in the quality of d ecision taken. Ease of use will be instrumental in averting the threat
of information overload from the internet using tourists. Interaction and Interchange
functions: Interactivity is the uniqueness with online marketing. Bender (1997)
defined interactivity helps the viewers of the website to “interact” with the
information that has been placed there. Users can control their viewing experience
within the limitations of available information. Information relevant to tourism is
presented such as train timetables, hotels and souvenir information, supporting
information such as maps and product catalogues need to be provided. Users are
provided email addresses in the website to allow them to make enquiries about
products and services by providing contact email. Online exchanging experience
would be a great enticing and motivating factor for visitors to visit the website on a
regular basis. E mail booking allows customers to make bookings via email but the
payment is still carried out using a conventional method or making online payment
with credit cards.
Webpage design: Visitors often find tourist websites via search engines, it is
important to grab their attention before they search for alternative websites and the
use of photography is a good first step toward this objective. Fantom (1999) suggested
a personal, relevant and appealing design of a site is the way to create a positive user
experience. According to Bender (1997) attractiveness in art an d friendliness in
function are essential in webpage design. Although most information the viewers seek
comes from the text, it is known that beautiful and striking layouts and images are
helpful to capture attention and generate interest. Features providing information
ranging from simple photographs to interactive video presentations will make the
website more attractive, interesting and realistic to visitors. Use of voice and
animation helps to make the information more informative and tangible. Website
search features and email connections improve functional value and interactivity by
add ing personalization to the information gathering process. Advertising products
and services: It involves publishing information about products and services about the
destination without price. It talks about the tourism activity in the place or destination
, information.
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long
as 75,000 years ago hominids (Homo Erectus) from about 500,000 years ago. The
Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the north-western part of the
Indian subcontinent from c. 3300 to 1300 BCE, was the first major civilization in
India. A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture developed in the
Mature Harappan period, from 2600 to 1900 BCE. This Bronze Age civilization
collapsed at the beginning of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the
Iron Age Vedic Civilization, which extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plains
and which witnessed the rise of major polities known as the Mahajanapadas. In one
kingdom, Magadha, Mahavira and Gautama Buddha were born in the 6th or 5th
century BCE, who propagated their Shramanic philosophies.
Almost all of the subcontinent was conquered by the Maurya Empire during the 4th
and 3rd centuries BCE. It subsequently became fragmented, with various parts ruled
by numerous Middle kingdoms for the next 1,500 years. This is known as the classical
period of India, during which India is estimated to have had the largest economy of
the ancient and medieval world, controlling between one third and one fourth of the
world's wealth up to the 18th century.
Much of Northern and Central India was once again united in the 4th century CE, and
remained so for two centuries thereafter, under the Gupta Empire. This period, of
Hindu religious and intellectual resurgence, is known among its admirers as the
"Golden Age of India." During the same time, and for several centuries afterwards,
Southern India, under the rule of the Chalukyas, Cholas, Pallavas and Pandyas,
experienced its own golden age. During this period aspects of Indian civilization,
administration, culture, and religion (Hinduism and Buddhism) spread to much of
The southern state of Kerala had maritime business links with the Roman Empire
from around 77 CE. Islam was introduced in Kerala through this route by Muslim
traders. Muslim rule in the subcontinent began in 712 CE when the Arab general
Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab, setting the
stage for several successive invasions between the 10th and 15th centuries CE from
Central Asia, leading to the formation of Muslim empires in the Indian subcontinent
such as the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire.
Mughal rule came to cover most of the northern parts of the subcontinent. Mughal
rulers introduced middle-eastern art and architecture to India. In addition to the
Mughals and various Rajput kingdoms, several independent Hindu states, such as the
Vijayanagara Empire, the Maratha Empire and the Ahom Kingdom, flourished
contemporaneously in Southern, Western and North-Eastern India respectively. The
Mughal Empire suffered a gradual decline in the early eighteenth century, which
provided opportunities for the Afghans, Balochis, Sikhs and the Marathas to exercise
control over large areas in the northwest of the subcontinent until the British East
India Company gained ascendancy over South Asia.
Beginning in the mid-18th century and over the next century, India was gradually
annexed by the British East India Company. Dissatisfaction with Company rule led to
the First War of Indian Independence, after which India was directly administered by
the British Crown and witnessed a period of both rapid development of infrastructure
and economic decline. During the first half of the 20th century, a nationwide struggle
for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress, and later joined by
the Muslim League. The subcontinent gained independence from the United Kingdom
in 1947, after being partitioned into the dominions of India and Pakistan.
India is the site of one of the famous civilizations of the ancient world, the others
being the Mesopotamian, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek and the Mayan (Central
America). The earliest known civilization in India dates back to about 3000 BC.
Discovered in the 1920s, it was largely confined to the valley of the river Indus
(which now flows through Pakistan and Ladakh, to name a few places) hence it
acquired the name the Indus Valley civilization. This civilization was predominantly
an urban concentrated in and around two principal towns, Mohenjodaro and Harappa,
the ruins of which still exist.
The History of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization in such
sites as Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, and Lothal, and the coming of the Aryans. These
two phases are usually described as the pre-Vedic and Vedic periods.
In the fifth century, large parts of India were united under Ashoka. He also converted
to Buddhism, and it is in his reign that Buddhism spread to other parts of Asia. It is in
the reign of the Mauryas that Hinduism took the shape that fundamentally informs the
religion down to the present day. Successor states were more fragmented.
Islam first came to India in the eighth century, and by the 11th century had firmly
established itself in India as a political force; the North Indian dynasties of the Lodhis,
Tughlaqs, and numerous others, whose remains are visible in Delhi and scattered
elsewhere around North India, were finally succeeded by the Mughal empire, under
which India once again achieved a large measure of political unity. Babur (14831530) is regarded as the founder of the Mughal Empire in India. His dynasty was
possibly the most famous political (royal) family, in medieval India.
Gol gumbaj, BijapurThe European presence in India dates to the seventeenth century
and it is in the latter part of this century that the Mughal Empire began to disintegrate,
paving the way for regional states. In the contest for supremacy, the English emerged
'victors', their rule marked by the conquests at the battlefields of Plassey and Buxar.
The British governed India for a period of about two centuries and brought about
revolutionary changes in the social, political and the economic life of the country.The
Rebellion of 1857-58, which sought to restore Indian supremacy, was crushed; and
with the subsequent crowning of Victoria as Empress of India, the incorporation of
India into the empire was complete. Successive campaigns had the effect of driving
the British out of India in 1947.
India earned its independence from the British on 15th August, 1947. But the British
army left India ultimately in 1950. The Indians celebrate 26th January, 1950 as the
Republic Day of India. On this day the Indian constitution was adopted.
Tourism in pre-independence phase
Stone Age
Isolated remains of Homo erectus in Hathnora in the Narmada Valley in Central India
indicate that India might have been inhabited since at least the Middle Pleistocene era,
somewhere between 200,000 to 500,000 years ago.Recent finds in Tamil Nadu (at c.
75,000 years ago, before and after the explosion of the Toba volcano) indicate the
presence of the first anatomically modern humans in the area.
The Mesolithic period in the Indian subcontinent was followed by the Neolithic
period, when more extensive settlement of the subcontinent occurred after the end of
the last Ice Age, or approximately 12,000 years ago. The first confirmed semipermanent settlements appeared 9,000 years ago in the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka in
modern Madhya Pradesh, India.
Early Neolithic culture in South Asia is represented by the Mehrgarh findings (7000
BCE onwards) in present day Balochistan, Pakistan. Traces of a Neolithic culture
have been alleged to be submerged in the Gulf of Khambat in India, radiocarbon
dated to 7500 BCE. However, the one dredged piece of wood in question was found
in an area of strong ocean currents. Neolithic agriculture cultures sprang up in the
Indus Valley region around 5000 BCE, in the Lower Gangetic valley around 3000
BCE, and in later South India, spreading southwards and also northwards into Malwa
around 1800 BCE.
Tools crafted by proto-humans have been discovered in the north-western part of the
subcontinent that have been dated back two million years. The ancient history of the
region includes some of South Asia's oldest settlements and some of its major
The earliest archaeological site in the Subcontinent is the palaeolithic hominid site in
the Soan River valley. Village life is first attested at the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh,
while the first urban civilization of the region began with the Indus Valley
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age in the Indian subcontinent began around 3300 BCE with the early
Indus Valley Civilization. It was centered on the Indus River and its tributaries which
extended into the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley, the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, Gujarat,
and southeastern Afghanistan.
The civilization is primarily located in modern day India (Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab
and Rajasthan provinces) and Pakistan (Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan provinces).
Historically part of Ancient India, it is one of the world's earliest urban civilizations,
along with Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river
valley, the Harappans, developed new techniques in metallurgy and handicraft
(carneol products, seal carving) produced copper, bronze, lead and tin.
The Mature Indus civilization flourished from about 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE marked
the beginning of the urban civilization on the subcontinent. The ancient civilization
included urban centers such as Dholavira, Kalibangan, Rupar, Rakhigarhi, Lothal in
modern day India and Harappa, Ganeriwala, Mohenjo-daro in modern day Pakistan.
The civilization is noted for its cities built of brick, road-side drainage system and
multi-storied houses.
Vedic period
The Vedic period is characterized by Indo-Aryan culture associated with the texts of
Vedas, sacred to Hindus, which were orally composed in Vedic Sanskrit. The Vedas
are some of the oldest extant texts, next to those of Egypt and Mesopotamia. The
Vedic period lasted from about 1500 BCE to 500 BCE, laid the foundations of
Hinduism and other cultural aspects of early Indian society. The Aryas established
Vedic civilization all over North India, and increasingly so in the Gangetic Plain. This
period succeeded the prehistoric Late Harappan during which immigrations of IndoAryan speaking tribes overlaid the existing civilizations of local people whom they
called Dasyus.
Early Vedic society consisted of largely pastoral groups, with late Harappan
urbanization having been abandoned. After the Rigveda, Aryan society became
increasingly agricultural, and was socially organized around the four Varnas. In
addition to the principal texts of Hinduism the Vedas, the core themes of the Sanskrit
epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are said to have their ultimate origins during this
period. Early Indo-Aryan presence probably corresponds, in part, to the presence of
Ochre Coloured Pottery in archaeological findings.
The kingdom of the Kurus corresponds to the Black and Red Ware and Painted Gray
Ware culture and the beginning of the Iron Age in Northwestern India, around 1000
BCE with the composition of the Atharvaveda, the first Indian text to mention iron, as
śyāma ayas, literally "black metal." The Painted Grey Ware culture spanning much of
Northern India was prevalent from about 1100 to 600 BCE.[20] The Vedic Period
also established republics (such as Vaishali) which existed as early as the sixth
century BCE and persisted in some areas until the fourth century CE. The later part of
this period corresponds with an increasing movement away from the prevalent tribal
system towards establishment of kingdoms, called Maha Janapadas.
Maha Janapadas
In the later Vedic Age, a number of small kingdoms or city states had covered the
subcontinent, many mentioned during Vedic, early Buddhist and Jaina literature as far
back as 1000 BCE. By 500 BCE, sixteen monarchies and 'republics' known as the
Mahajanapadas — Kasi, Kosala, Anga, Magadha, Vajji (or Vriji), Malla, Chedi, Vatsa
(or Vamsa), Kuru, Panchala, Machcha (or Matsya), Surasena, Assaka, Avanti,
Gandhara, Kamboja — stretched across the Indo-Gangetic plains from modern-day
Afghanistan to Bengal and Maharastra. This period was that of the second major
urbanisation in India after the Indus Valley Civilization.
Many smaller clans mentioned within early literature seem to have been present
across the rest of the subcontinent. Some of these kings were hereditary; other states
elected their rulers. The educated speech at that time was Sanskrit, while the dialects
of the general population of northern India are referred to as Prakrits. Many of the
sixteen kingdoms had coalesced to four major ones by 500/400 BCE, by the time of
Siddhartha Gautama. These four were Vatsa, Avanti, Kosala and Magadha.
Hindu rituals at that time were complicated and conducted by the priestly class. It is
thought that the Upanishads, late Vedic texts dealing mainly with incipient
philosophy, were composed in the later Vedic Age and early in this period of the
Mahajanapadas (from about 600 - 400 BCE). Upanishads had a substantial effect on
Indian philosophy, and were contemporary to the development of Buddhism and
Jainism, indicating a golden age of thought in this period.
It is believed that in 537 BCE, that Siddhartha Gautama attained the state of
"enlightenment", and became known as the 'Buddha' - the enlightened one. Around
the same time, Mahavira (the 24th Jain Tirthankara according to Jains) propagated a
similar theology, that was to later become Jainism. However, Jain orthodoxy believes
it predates all known time. The Vedas are believed to have documented a few Jain
Tirthankars, and an ascetic order similar to the sramana movement.
The Buddha's teachings and Jainism had doctrines inclined toward asceticism, and
were preached in Prakrit, which helped them gain acceptance amongst the masses.
They have profoundly influenced practices that Hinduism and Indian spiritual orders
are associated with namely, vegetarianism, prohibition of animal slaughter and ahinsa
(non-violence). While the geographic impact of Jainism was limited to India,
Buddhist nuns and monks eventually spread the teachings of Buddha to Central Asia,
East Asia, Tibet, Sri Lanka and South East Asia.
Persian and Greek conquests
Much of the northwestern subcontinent (present day Eastern Afghanistan and
Pakistan) came under the rule of the Persian Achaemenid Empire in c. 520 BCE
during the reign of Darius the Great, and remained so for two centuries thereafter.[25]
In 326 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor and the Achaemenid Empire,
reaching the north-west frontiers of the Indian subcontinent. There, he defeated King
Puru in the Battle of the Hydaspes (near modern-day Jhelum, Pakistan) and conquered
much of the Punjab.[26] Alexander's march East put him in confrontation with the
Nanda Empire of Magadha and Gangaridai Empire of Bengal. His army, exhausted
and frightened by the prospect of facing larger Indian armies at the Ganges River,
mutinied at the Hyphasis (modern Beas) and refused to march further East.
Alexander, after the meeting with his officer, Coenus, was convinced that it was better
to return.
The Persian and Greek invasions had important repercussions on Indian civilization.
The political systems of the Persians was to influence future forms of governance on
the subcontinent, including the administration of the Mauryan dynasty. In addition,
the region of Gandhara, or present-day eastern Afghanistan and north-west Pakistan,
became a melting pot of Indian, Persian, Central Asian and Greek cultures and gave
rise to a hybrid culture, Greco-Buddhism, which lasted until the 5th century CE and
influenced the artistic development of Mahayana Buddhism.
Maurya period
The Maurya Empire (322–185 B.C), ruled by the Mauryan dynasty, was
geographically extensive, powerful, and a political military empire in ancient India.
The great Maurya empire was established by Chandragupta Maurya and this empire
was flourished by Ashoka the Great. At its greatest extent, the Empire stretched to the
north along the natural boundaries of the Himalayas, and to the east stretching into
what is now Assam. To the west, it reached beyond modern Pakistan, annexing
Balochistan and much of what is now Afghanistan, including the modern Herat and
Kandahar provinces. The Empire was expanded into India's central and southern
regions by the emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara, but it excluded a big portion of
unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga which was won by Ashoka the
Great. Ashoka propagated Buddhism across the world and established many Buddhist
Chandragupta's minister Chanakya wrote the Arthashastra, one of the greatest
treatises on economics, politics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war, and
religion produced in Asia. Archaeologically, the period of Mauryan rule in South Asia
falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW). The Arthashastra and the
Edicts of Ashoka are primary sources of written records of the Mauryan times. The
Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath, is the national emblem of India.
Early Middle Kingdoms — The Golden Age
The middle period was a time of notable cultural development. The Satavahanas, also
known as the Andhras, was a dynasty which ruled in southern and central India
starting from around 230 BC. Satakarni, the sixth ruler of the Satvahana dynasty,
defeated the Sunga Empire of North India. Afterwards, Kharavela the warrior king of
Kalinga ruled a vast empire and was responsible for the propagation of Jainism in the
Indian Subcontinent. The Kharavelan Jain empire also had a formidable maritime
empire with trading routes linking it to Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam,
Cambodia, Borneo, Bali, Sumatra and Java. Colonists from Kalinga settled in Sri
Lanka, Burma, as well as the Maldives and Malay Archipelago. Kuninda Kingdom
was a small Himalayan state that survived from around the 2nd century BC to roughly
the 3rd century CE. The Kushanas migrated into north-western India in the middle of
the 1st century CE, from Central Asia, and founded an empire that eventually
stretched from Tajikistan to the middle Ganges. The Western Satraps (35-405 CE)
were Saka rulers of the western and central part of India. They were the successors of
the Indo-Scythians and contemporaneous with the Kushans who ruled the northern
part of the Indian subcontinent, and the Satavahana (Andhra) who ruled in central and
southern India.
Different empires such as the Pandyans, Cholas, Cheras, Kadambas, Western Gangas,
Pallavas and Chalukyas dominated the southern part of the Indian peninsula, at
different periods of time. Several southern kingdoms formed overseas empires that
stretched across South East Asia. The kingdoms warred with each other and Deccan
states, for domination of the south. Kalabhras, a Buddhist kingdom, briefly
interrupted the usual domination of the Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas in the South.
Northwestern hybrid cultures
The north-western hybrid cultures of the subcontinent included the Indo-Greeks, the
Indo-Scythians, the Indo-Parthians, and the Indo-Sassinids. The first of these, the
Indo-Greek Kingdom, founded when the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius invaded the
region in 180 BC, extended over various parts of present-day Afghanistan and
Pakistan. Lasting for almost two centuries, it was ruled by a succession of more than
30 Greek kings, who were often in conflict with each other. The Indo-Scythians was a
branch of the Indo-European Sakas (Scythians), who migrated from southern Siberia
first into Bactria, subsequently into Sogdiana, Kashmir, Arachosia, Gandhara and
finally into India; their kingdom lasted from the middle of the 2nd century BC to the
1st century BC. Yet another kingdom, the Indo-Parthians (also known as Pahlavas)
came to control most of present-day Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, after fighting
many local rulers such as the Kushan ruler Kujula Kadphises, in the Gandhara region.
The Sassanid empire of Persia, who were contemporaries of the Guptas, expanded
into the region of present-day Pakistan, where the mingling of Indian and Persian
cultures gave birth to the Indo-Sassanid culture.
Roman trade with India
Roman trade with India started around 1 CE following the reign of Augustus and his
conquest of Egypt, theretofore India's biggest trade partner in the West.
The trade started by Eudoxus of Cyzicus in 130 BCE kept increasing, and according
to Strabo, by the time of Augustus up to 120 ships were setting sail every year from
Myos Hormos to India. So much gold was used for this trade, and apparently recycled
by the Kushans for their own coinage, that Pliny complained about the drain of specie
to India:
"India, China and the Arabian peninsula take one hundred million sesterces from
our empire per annum at a conservative estimate: that is what our luxuries and women
cost us. For what percentage of these imports is intended for sacrifices to the gods or
the spirits of the dead?"
These trade routes and harbour are described in detail in the 1st century CE Periplus
of the Erythraean Sea.
Gupta rule
The Gupta Empire was an Ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from
320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja
Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and
prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the pursuit of scientific and
artistic endeavors. This period is called the Golden Age of India and was marked by
extensive achievements in science, technology, engineering, art, dialectic, literature,
logic, mathematics, astronomy, religion and philosophy that crystallized the elements
of what is generally known as Hindu culture. Chandragupta I, Samudragupta, and
Chandragupta II were the most notable rulers of the Gupta dynasty.
The high points of this cultural creativity are magnificent architectures, sculptures and
paintings. The Gupta period produced scholars such as Kalidasa, Aryabhatta,
Varahamihira, Vishnu Sharma, Vatsyayana and Prashastapada who made great
advancements in many academic fields. Science and political administration reached
new heights during the Gupta era. Strong trade ties also made the region an important
cultural center and set the region up as a base that would influence nearby kingdoms
and regions in Burma, Sri Lanka, Malay Archipelago and Indochina.
The earliest available Puranas are also thought to have been written around this
period. The empire came to an end with the attack of the Huna from Central Asia.
After the collapse of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century, India was again ruled by
numerous regional kingdoms. A minor line of the Gupta clan continued to rule
Magadha after the disintegration of the empire. These Guptas were ultimately ousted
by the Vardhana king Harsha, who established an empire in the first half of the
seventh century.
A.S. Altekar, regarded the caste of the Guptas as Vaishya on the basis of the ancient
Indian texts on law, which prescribe the name-ending with Gupta for a member of the
Vaishya caste, but this injunction was more often disregarded than followed. A
modern historian, K.P. Jayaswal suggested that the Guptas were Jats. His argument
was based on the Pune and Riddhapura copper plate grants of Prabahvatigupta, the
Vakataka regent and the daughter of Chandragupta II. In these two inscriptions, she
states that she belonged to the Dharana gotra and as it was not her husband's gotra, it
is the gotra of the Guptas. His view was endorsed by another modern historian,
Dasharatha Sharma, who added that the Jats of the Dharana gotra still exist in the
present-day Rajasthan another modern historian, H.C. Raychaudhuri, also accepted
that the Guptas belonged to the Dharana gotra. He also believed that they were
possibly related to Queen Dharini, the chief consort of Agnimitra but the basis of this
argument, the earlier accepted reading of the Riddhapura copper plate inscription may
be incorrect and the correct reading possibly indicates that the family of
Prabhavatigupta's mother, Kuberanaga belonged to this Dharana gotra. Recently, a
historian, Ashvini Agarwal, on the basis of the matrimonial alliances of the Guptas
with the orthodox Brahman dynasties, assumed that they belong to the Brahman caste.
However, recent excavations in Nepal and Deccan has revealed that Gupta suffix was
common among Abhira kings, and Historian D. R. Regmi, links Imperial Guptas with
Abhira-Guptas of Nepal.
Fa Xian was the first of the Chinese pilgrims who visited India during the reign of
Chandra Gupta II. He started his journey from China in 399 CE and reached India in
405 CE. During his stay in India up to 411 CE, he went on a pilgrimage to Mathura,
Kanauj, Kapilavastu, Kushinagar, Vaishali, Pataliputra, Kashi and Rajgriha and made
careful observations about the empire's conditions. Fa Xian was pleased with the
mildness of administration. The Penal Code was mild and offences were punished by
fines only. From his accounts, the Gupta Empire was a prosperous period.
The Chinese traveler Yijing provides more knowledge of the Gupta kingdom in
Magadha. He came to north India in 672 CE and heard of Maharaja Sri-Gupta, who
built a temple for Chinese pilgrims near Mi-li-kia-si-kia-po-no (Mrigasikhavana) who
lost their lives in epic battle. According to Yijing, this temple was "about 40 yojanas
to the east of Nalanda, following the course of the Ganga".
The Imperial Guptas could have achieved their successes through force of arms with
an efficient martial system. Historically, the best accounts of this comes not from the
Hindus themselves but from Chinese and Western observers. However, a
contemporary Indian document, regarded as a military classic of the time, the SivaDhanur-veda, offers some insight into the military system of the Guptas. The Guptas
seem to have relied heavily on infantry archers, and the bow was one of the dominant
weapons of their army. The Hindu version of the longbow was composed of metal, or
more typically bamboo, and fired a long bamboo cane arrow with a metal head.
Unlike the composite bows of Western and Central Asian foes, bows of this design
would be less prone to warping in the damp and moist conditions often prevalent to
the region. The Indian longbow was reputedly a powerful weapon capable of great
range and penetration and provided an effective counter to invading horse archers.
Iron shafts were used against armored elephants and hippos, and fire arrows were also
part of the bowmen's arsenal. India historically has had a prominent reputation for its
steel weapons. One of these was the steel bow. Due to its high tensility, the steel bow
was capable of long range and penetration of exceptionally thick armor. These were
less common weapons than the bamboo design and found in the hands of noblemen
rather than in the ranks. Archers were frequently protected by infantry equipped with
shields, javelins, and longswords.
The Guptas also had knowledge of siegecraft, catapults, and other sophisticated war
The Guptas apparently showed little predilection for using horse archers, despite the
fact these warriors were a main component in the ranks of their Scythian, Parthian,
and Hepthalite (Huna) enemies. However, the Gupta armies were probably better
disciplined. Able commanders like Samudragupta and Chandragupta II would have
likely understood the need for combined armed tactics and proper logistical
organization. Gupta military success likely stemmed from the concerted use of
elephants, armored cavalry, and foot archers in tandem against both Hindu kingdoms
and foreign armies invading from the Northwest. The Guptas also maintained a navy,
allowing them to control regional waters.
The collapse of the Gupta Empire in the face of the Huna onslaught was due not
directly to the inherent defects of the Gupta army, which after all had initially
defeated these people under Skandagupta. More likely, internal dissolution sapped the
ability of the Guptas to resist foreign invasion, as was simultaneously occurring in
Western Europe and China.
Scholars of this period include Aryabhatta, who is believed to be the first to come up
with the concept of zero, postulated the theory that the Earth moves round the Sun,
and studied solar and lunar eclipses. Kalidasa, who was a great playwright, who wrote
plays such as Shakuntala, which is said to have inspired Goethe, and marked the
highest point of Sanskrit literature is also said to have belonged to this period.
The flow of invasions from the Huns from central Asia aided in accelerating the
demise of the glorious Gupta dynasty rule in India, although the effects of its fall was
far less devastating than that of the Han or Roman at the same time. According to
historian's work,
“ The Gupta Empire is considered by many scholars to be the "classical age" of Hindu
and Buddhist art and literature. The Rulers of the Gupta Empire were strong
supporters of developments in the arts, architecture, science, and literature. The Gupta
Empire circulated a large number of gold coins, called dinars, and supported the
Universities of Nalanda and Vikramasila. ”
Chess is said to have originated in this period, where its early form in the 6th century
was known as catura ga, which translates as "four divisions [of the military]" –
infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry - represented by the pieces that would
evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. Doctors also
invented several medical instruments, and even performed operations. The Indian
numerals which were the first positional base 10 numeral systems in the world
originated from Gupta India. The ancient Gupta text Kama Sutra is widely considered
to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature written by the
Indian scholar Vatsyayana. Aryabhata, a noted mathematician-astronomer of the
Gupta period proposed that the earth is not flat, but is instead round and rotates about
its own axis. He also discovered that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight.
Instead of the prevailing cosmogony in which eclipses were caused by pseudoplanetary nodes Rahu and Ketu, he explained eclipses in terms of shadows cast by and
falling on Earth. These and the other scientific discoveries made by Indians during
this period about gravity and the planets of the solar system spread throughout the
world through trade.
Late Middle Kingdoms — The Classical Age
The Classical Age in India began with the Guptas and the resurgence of the north
during Harsha's conquests around the 7th century, and ended with the fall of the
Vijayanagar Empire in the South, due to pressure from the invaders to the north in the
13th century. This period produced some of India's finest art, considered the epitome
of classical development, and the development of the main spiritual and philosophical
systems which continued to be in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. King Harsha of
Kannauj succeeded in reuniting northern India during his reign in the 7th century,
after the collapse of the Gupta dynasty. His kingdom collapsed after his death.
From the 7th to the 9th century, three dynasties contested for control of northern
India: the Gurjara Pratiharas of Malwa, the Palas of Bengal and the Rashtrakutas of
Deccan. The Sena Empire would later assume control of the Pala Empire, and the
Gurjara Pratiharas fragmented into various states. These were the first of the Rajputs,
a series of kingdoms which managed to survive in some form for almost a millennium
until Indian independence from the British. The first recorded Rajput kingdoms
emerged in Rajasthan in the 6th century, and small Rajput dynasties later ruled much
of northern India. One Gurjar, Rajput of the Chauhan clan, Prithvi Raj Chauhan, was
known for bloody conflicts against the advancing Islamic Sultanates. The Shahi
dynasty ruled portions of eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, and Kashmir from
the mid-seventh century to the early eleventh century.
The Chalukya Empire ruled parts of southern and central India from 550 to 750 from
Badami, Karnataka and again from 970 to 1190 from Kalyani, Karnataka. The
Pallavas of Kanchi were their contemporaries further to the south. With the decline of
the Chalukya empire, their feudatories, Hoysalas of Halebidu, Kakatiya of Warangal,
Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri and a southern branch of the Kalachuri divided the vast
Chalukya empire amongst themselves around the middle of 12th century.
The Chola Empire at its peak covered much of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast
Asia. Rajaraja Chola conquered all of peninsular South India and parts of the Sri
Lanka. Rajendra Chola's navies went even further, occupying coasts from Burma
(now Myanmar) to Vietnam, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep,
Sumatra, and the Malaya in South East Asia and Pegu islands. Later during the middle
period, the Pandyan Empire emerged in Tamil Nadu, as well as the Chera Empire in
Kerala. By 1343, all these dynasties had ceased to exist giving rise to the Vijayanagar
The ports of South India were involved in the Indian Ocean trade, chiefly involving
spices, with the Roman Empire to the west and Southeast Asia to the east. Literature
in local vernaculars and spectacular architecture flourished till about the beginning of
the 14th century when southern expeditions of the sultan of Delhi took their toll on
these kingdoms. The Hindu Vijayanagar dynasty came into conflict with Islamic rule
(the Bahmani Kingdom) and the clashing of the two systems, caused a mingling of the
indigenous and foreign culture that left lasting cultural influences on each other. The
Vijaynagar Empire eventually declined due to pressure from the first Delhi Sultanates
who had managed to establish themselves in the north, centered around the city of
Delhi by that time.
The Islamic Sultanates
After conquering Persia, Islamic Caliphate incorporated parts of what is now Pakistan
around 720 CE. They were keen to invade India, which was the richest classical
civilization, with a flourishing international trade and the only known diamond mines
in the world. After several wars over three centuries between various north Indian
kingdoms and the Caliphate, short lived Islamic empires (Sultanates) were established
and spread across the northern subcontinent over a period of a few centuries. But,
prior to Turkic invasions, Muslim trading communities had flourished throughout
coastal South India, particularly in Kerala, where they arrived in small numbers,
mainly from the Arabian peninsula, through trade links via the Indian Ocean.
However, this had marked the introduction of an Abrahamic Middle Eastern religion
in Southern India's pre-existing Indian religions, often in puritanical form. Later, the
Bahmani Sultanate and Deccan Sultanates flourished in the south.
Delhi Sultanate
In the 12th and 13th centuries, Turkics and Pashtuns invaded parts of northern India
and established the Delhi Sultanate at the beginning of the 13th century, in the former
Rajput holdings. The subsequent Slave dynasty of Delhi managed to conquer large
areas of northern India, approximate to the ancient extent of the Guptas, while the
Khilji Empire was also able to conquer most of central India, but were ultimately
unsuccessful in conquering and uniting most of the subcontinent. The Sultanate
ushered in a period of Indian cultural renaissance. The resulting "Indo-Muslim" fusion
of cultures left lasting syncretic monuments in architecture, music, literature, religion,
and clothing. It is surmised that the language of Urdu (literally meaning "horde" or
"camp" in various Turkic dialects) was born during the Delhi Sultanate period as a
result of the inter-mingling of the local speakers of Sanskritic Prakrits with the
Persian, Turkic and Arabic speaking immigrants under the Muslim rulers. The Delhi
Sultanate is the only Indo-Islamic empire to stake a claim to enthroning one of the
few female rulers in India, Razia Sultan (1236-1240).
A Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur began a trek starting in 1398 to invade the reigning
Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud of the Tughlaq Dynasty in the north Indian city of Delhi.
The Sultan's army was defeated on December 17, 1398. Timur entered Delhi and the
city was sacked, destroyed and left in ruins; his army fell killing and plundering for
three days and nights. He ordered except for the Sayyids, the scholars, and the other
Mussulmans, the whole city to be sacked; 100,000 war prisoners, mostly Hindus,
were put to death in one day.
The Mughal era
The Mogul Empire was an Islamic imperial power that ruled a large portion of
Indian subcontinent which began in 1526, invaded and ruled most of Hindustan
(South Asia) by the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and ended in the mid-19th
century. The Mughal Emperors were descendants of the Timurids, and at the height of
their power around 1700, they controlled most of the Indian Subcontinent —
extending from Bengal in the east to Balochistan in the west, Kashmir in the north to
the Kaveri basin in the south. Its population at that time has been estimated as
between 110 and 130 million, over a territory of over 4 million km2 (1.5 million
square miles).
The "classic period" of the Empire started in 1556 with the accession of Jalaluddin
Mohammad Akbar, better known as Akbar the Great. It ended with the death of
Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, although the Empire continued for another 150 years.
During this period, the Empire was marked by a highly centralized administration
connecting the different regions. All the significant monuments of the Mughals, their
most visible legacy, date to this period which was characterised by the expansion of
Persian cultural influence in the Indian subcontinent, with brilliant literary, artistic
and architectural results.
Following 1725 the empire declined rapidly, weakened by wars of succession,
agrarian crises fueling local revolts, the growth of religious intolerance, the rise of
Maratha Empire as well as Durrani Empire and finally British colonialism. The last
king, Bahadur Zafar Shah II, whose rule was restricted to the city of Delhi, was
imprisoned and exiled by the British after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
The name Mughal is derived from the original homelands of the Timurids, the Central
Asian steppes once conquered by Genghis Khan and hence known as Moghulistan,
"Land of Mongols". Although early Mughals spoke the Chagatai language and
maintained Turko-Mongol practices, they were essentially Persianized. They
transferred the Persian literature and culture to India, thus forming the base for the
Indo-Persian culture.
Babur learnt about the riches of 'Hindustan' and conquest of it by his ancestor, Timur
Lang in 1503 at Dikh-Kat a place in Tansoxiana region. At that time, he was roaming
around as a wanderer after losing his principality Farghana. In his memoirs he wrote
that after he had acquired Kabul, (which was done in 1514), he desired to regain the
territories in Hindustan held once by Turks. He started his exploratory raids from
September 1519 when he visited the Indo-Afghan borders to suppress the rising by
Yusufzai tribes. He undertook similar raids upto 1524 and had established his base
camp at Peshawar.
In 1526, Babur defeated the last of the Delhi Sultans, Ibrahim Shah Lodi, at the First
Battle of Panipat. To secure his newly founded kingdom, Babur then had to face the
formidable Rajput Rana Sanga of Chittor, at the Battle of Khanwa. Rana Sanga
offered stiff resistance but was defeated due to treachery within his own ranks.
Babur's son Humayun succeeded him in 1530 but suffered major reversals at the
hands of the Pashtun Sher Shah Suri and effectively lost most of the fledgling empire
before it could grow beyond a minor regional state. From 1540 Humayun became a
ruler in exile, reaching the court of the Safavid rule in 1554 while his force still
controlled some fortresses and small regions. But when the Pashtuns fell into disarray
with the death of Sher Shah Suri, Humayun returned with a mixed army, raised more
troops and managed to reconquer Delhi in 1555.
Humayun crossed the rough terrain of the Makran with his wife. The resurgent
Humayun then conquered the central plateau around Delhi, but months later died in an
accident, leaving the realm unsettled and in war.
Akbar succeeded his father on 14 February 1556, while in the midst of a war against
Sikandar Shah Suri for the throne of Delhi. He soon won his eighteenth victory at age
21 or 22. He became known as Akbar, as he was a wise ruler, set fair but steep taxes.
He was born in a Hindu Rajput household. He was a more inclusive in his approach to
the non-Muslim subjects of the Empire. He investigated the production in a certain
area and taxed inhabitants one-fifth of their agricultural produce. He also set up an
efficient bureaucracy and was tolerant of religious differences which softened the
resistance by the locals. He made alliances with Rajputs and appointed Hindu
generals and administrators. Later in life, he also came up with his own brand of
religion based on tolerance and inspired by views from both Hinduism and Islam.
However, after his death this religion did not catch on but is still remembered for its
noble intentions of bringing people and minds together.
Jahangir, son of Emperor Akbar, ruled the empire from 1605–1627. In October 1627,
Shah Jahan, son of Emperor Jahangir succeeded to the throne, where he inherited a
vast and rich empire. At mid-century this was perhaps the greatest empire in the
world. Shah Jahan commissioned the famous Taj Mahal (1630–1653) in Agra which
was built by the Persian architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri as a tomb for Shah Jahan's
wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child. By 1700 the empire
reached its peak under the leadership of Aurangzeb Alamgir with major parts of
present day India, Pakistan and most of Afghanistan under its domain. Aurangzeb was
the last of what are now referred to as the Great Mughal kings.
The Mughal Empire was the dominant power in the Indian subcontinent between the
mid-16th century and the early 18th century. Founded in 1526, it officially survived
until 1858, when it was supplanted by the British Raj. The dynasty is sometimes
referred to as the Timurid dynasty as Babur was descended from Timur.
The Mughal dynasty was founded when Babur, hailing from Ferghana (Modern
Uzbekistan), invaded parts of northern India and defeated Ibrahim Shah Lodhi, the
ruler of Delhi, at the First Battle of Panipat in 1526. The Mughal Empire superseded
the Delhi Sultanate as rulers of northern India. In time, the state thus founded by
Babur far exceeded the bounds of the Delhi Sultanate, eventually encompassing a
major portion of India and earning the appellation of Empire. A brief interregnum
(1540–1555) during the reign of Babur's son, Humayun, saw the rise of the Afghan
Suri Dynasty under Sher Shah Suri, a competent and efficient ruler in his own right.
However, Sher Shah's untimely death and the military incompetence of his successors
enabled Humayun to regain his throne in 1555. However, Humayun died a few
months later, and was succeeded by his son, the 13-year-old Akbar the Great.
The greatest portions of Mughal expansion was accomplished during the reign of
Akbar (1556–1605). The empire was maintained as the dominant force of the presentday Indian subcontinent for a hundred years further by his successors Jahangir, Shah
Jahan, and Aurangzeb. The first six emperors, who enjoyed power both ‘’de jure’’ and
‘’de facto’’, are usually referred to by just one name, a title adopted upon his
accession by each Emperor. The relevant title is bolded in the list below.
Akbar the Great initiated certain important policies, such as religious liberalism
(abolition of the jizya tax), inclusion of Hindus in the affairs of the empire, and
political alliance/marriage with the Hindu Rajput caste, that were innovative for his
milieu; he also adopted some policies of Sher Shah Suri, such as the division of the
empire into sarkars, in his administration of the empire. These policies, which
undoubtedly served to maintain the power and stability of the empire, as the Hindu
populace had shown resistance to the Islamic conquest in its years in the Indian
subcontinent. These were preserved by his two immediate successors but were
discarded by Aurangzeb, who followed a more strict interpretation of Islam and
followed a stricter policy of intolerance to the practice of religions than his own.
Furthermore, Aurangzeb spent nearly his entire career seeking to expand his realm
into the Deccan and south India, Assam in the east; this venture sapped the resources
of the empire while provoking strong resistance from the Marathas, Rajputs, Sikhs of
Punjab, Ahoms of Assam. Ahoms in Assam successfully resisted the Mughal
invasions, the last battle being the Battle of Saraighat. It is interesting to note in this
regard that while the Mughals ruled India for a nearly three hundred years they never
ruled the complete geographical extent of the Indian subcontinent. The power was
mostly centered around Delhi which was for historical reasons considered a strategic
stronghold but there always existed strong independent Hindu kingdoms which
maintained their sovereignty and offered stiff resistance to Mughal expansion.
After Aurangzeb's death in 1707, the empire fell into decline. Beginning with Bahadur
Shah I, the Mughal Emperors progressively declined in power and became
figureheads, being initially controlled by sundry courtiers and later by various rising
warlords. In the 18th century, the Empire suffered the depredations of invaders like
Nadir Shah of Persia and Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afghanistan, who repeatedly sacked
Delhi, the Mughal capital. The greater portion of the empire's territories in India
passed to the Marathas, who sacked Delhi, reducing the once powerful and mighty
empire to just lone city before falling to the British. Other adversaries included Sikh
Empire and Hyderabad Nizams. In 1804, the blind and powerless Shah Alam II
formally accepted the protection of the British East India Company. The British had
already begun to refer to the weakened Emperor as "King of Delhi," rather than
"Emperor of India." The once glorious and mighty Mughal army was disbanded in
1805 by the British; only the guards of the Red Fort were spared to serve with the
King Of Delhi, which avoided the uncomfortable implication that British sovereignty
was outranked by the Indian monarch. Nonetheless, for a few decades afterward, the
BEIC continued to rule the areas under its control as the nominal servants of the
emperor, and in his name. In 1857, even these courtesies were disposed. After some
rebels in the Sepoy Rebellion declared their allegiance to Shah Alam's descendant,
Bahadur Shah Zafar (mostly symbolically, as he was just a figurehead for the purpose
of rebellion), the British decided to abolish the institution altogether. They deposed
the last Mughal Emperor in 1857 and exiled him to Burma, where he died in 1862.
Thus the Mughal dynasty came to an end, which formed a momentous chapter in the
history of India.
There are still many Mughals living in the Indian Subcontinent. The term Mughal in
the current socio-political context also does not have decisive meaning as the blood
lines of the original Mughals are now mixed with the local population and have
South-Asian identities which are stronger than any original Turkic or Mongoloid
A major Mughal contribution to the Indian Subcontinent was their unique
architecture. Many monuments were built by the Muslim emperors, especially
Shahjahan, during the Mughal era including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Taj
Mahal, which is known to be one of the finer examples of Mughal architecture. Other
World Heritage Sites includes the Humayun's Tomb, Fatehpur Sikri, Red Fort, Agra
Fort and Lahore Fort.
The palaces, tombs and forts built by the dynasty stands today in Delhi, Aurangabad,
Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Jaipur, Lahore, Kabul, Sheikhupura and many other cities of
India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. With few memories of Central Asia,
Babur's descendents absorbed traits and customs of the Indian Subcontinent, and
became more or less naturalised. The Mughal period would be the first to witness the
blending of Indian, Iranian and Central Asian customs and traditions.
The language spoken by the Mughals slowly evolved into a mixture of to a form of
Hindustani known as Urdu. Urdu language was written in Perso-Arabic script (known
as Nastaliq) and with literary conventions and specialised vocabulary being retained
from Persian, Arabic and Turkic; the new dialect was eventually given its own name
of Urdu. Compared with Hindi, the Urdu language draws more vocabulary from
Arabic, Persian and Turkic languages where Hindi draws vocabulary from Sanskrit
more heavily. Modern Hindi which uses Sanskrit-based vocabulary along with Urdu
loan words from Persian and Arabic, is mutually intelligible with Urdu.
Contributions such as:
* Centralised, imperialistic government which brought together many smaller
* Persian art and culture amalgamated with Indian art and culture.
* New trade routes to Arab and Turkic lands.
* The development of Mughlai cuisine.
* Mughal Architecture found its way into local Indian architecture, most
conspicuously in the palaces built by Rajputs and Sikh rulers.
* Landscape gardening
Although the land the Mughals once ruled has separated into what is now India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan their influence can still be seen widely today.
Tombs of the emperors are spread throughout India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. There
are 16 million descendants spread throughout the Subcontinent and possibly the
The Indian economy remained as prosperous under the Mughals as it was, because of
the creation of a road system and a uniform currency, together with the unification of
the country. Manufactured goods and peasant-grown cash crops were sold throughout
the world. Key industries included shipbuilding (the Indian shipbuilding industry was
as advanced as the European, and Indians sold ships to European firms), textiles, and
steel. The Mughals maintained a small fleet, which merely carried pilgrims to Mecca,
imported a few Arab horses in Surat. Debal in Sindh was mostly autonomous. The
Mughals also maintained various river fleets of Dhows, which transported soldiers
over rivers and fought pirates. Among its admirals were Munnawar Khan and
Muhammad Saleh Kamboh. The Mughals also protected the Siddis of Janjira. Its
sailors were renowned and often voyaged to China and the East African Swahili
Coast, together with some Mughal subjects carrying out private-sector trade. Cities
and towns boomed under the Mughals; however, for the most part, they were military
and political centers, not manufacturing or commerce centers. Only those guilds
which produced goods for the bureaucracy made goods in the towns; most industry
was based in rural areas. The Mughals also built Maktabs in every province under
their authority, where youth were taught the Quran and Islamic law (such as: Fatwa-eAlamgiri) in their indigenous languages, which later became very powerful religious
institutions in South Asia.
The nobility was a heterogeneous body; while it primarily consisted of Rajput
aristocrats and foreigners from Muslim countries, people of all castes and nationalities
could gain a title from the emperor. The middle class of openly affluent traders
consisted of a few wealthy merchants living in the coastal towns; the bulk of the
merchants pretended to be poor to avoid taxation. The bulk of the people were poor.
The standard of living of the poor was as low as, or somewhat higher than, the
standard of living of the Indian poor under the British Raj; whatever benefits the
British brought with canals and modern industry were neutralized by rising population
growth, high taxes, and the collapse of traditional industry in the nineteenth century.
Post-Mughal period
The post-Mughal era was dominated by the rise of the Maratha suzerainty as other
small regional states (mostly post-Mughal tributary states) emerged, and also by the
increasing activities of European powers (see colonial era below). The Maratha
Kingdom was founded and consolidated by Shivaji. By the 18th century, it had
transformed itself into the Maratha Empire under the rule of the Peshwas. By 1760,
the Empire had stretched across practically the entire subcontinent. This expansion
was brought to an end by the defeat of the Marathas by an Afghan army led by
Ahmad Shah Abdali at the Third Battle of Panipat (1761). The last Peshwa, Baji Rao
II, was defeated by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War.
Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, which was founded around 1400 CE by the
Wodeyar dynasty. The rule of the Wodeyars was interrupted by Hyder Ali and his son
Tippu Sultan. Under their rule Mysore fought a series of wars sometimes against the
combined forces of the British and Marathas, but mostly against the British with some
aid or promise of aid from the French. Hyderabad was founded by the Qutb Shahi
dynasty of Golconda in 1591. Following a brief Mughal rule, Asif Jah, a Mughal
official, seized control of Hyderabad declaring himself Nizam-al-Mulk of Hyderabad
in 1724. It was ruled by a hereditary Nizam from 1724 until 1948. Both Mysore and
Hyderabad became princely states in British India.
The Punjabi kingdom, ruled by members of the Sikh religion, was a political entity
that governed the region of modern day Punjab. This was among the last areas of the
subcontinent to be conquered by the British. The Anglo-Sikh wars marked the
downfall of the Sikh Empire. Around the 18th century modern Nepal was formed by
Gorkha rulers, and the Shahs and the Ranas very strictly maintained their national
identity and integrity.
Colonial era
Vasco da Gama's maritime success to discover for Europeans a new sea route to India
in 1498 paved the way for direct Indo-European commerce. The Portuguese soon set
up trading-posts in Goa, Daman, Diu and Bombay. The next to arrive were the Dutch,
the British—who set up a trading-post in the west-coast port of Surat in 1619—and
the French. The internal conflicts among Indian Kingdoms gave opportunities to the
European traders to gradually establish political influence and appropriate lands.
Although these continental European powers were to control various coastal regions
of southern and eastern India during the ensuing century, they would eventually lose
all their territories in India to the British islanders, with the exception of the French
outposts of Pondicherry and Chandernagore, the Dutch port of Travancore, and the
Portuguese colonies of Goa, Daman, and Diu.
The British Raj
The British East India Company had been given permission by the Mughal emperor
Jahangir in 1617 to trade in India. Gradually their increasing influence led the de-jure
Mughal emperor Farrukh Siyar to grant them dastaks or permits for duty free trade in
Bengal in 1717. The Nawab of Bengal Siraj Ud Daulah, the de facto ruler of the
Bengal province, opposed British attempts to use these permits. This led to the Battle
of Plassey in 1757, in which the 'army' of East India Company, led by Robert Clive,
defeated the Nawab's forces. This was the first political foothold with territorial
implications that the British acquired in India. Clive was appointed by the Company
as its first 'Governor of Bengal' in 1757. This was combined with British victories
over the French at Madras, Wandiwash and Pondicherry that, along with wider British
successes during the Seven Years War, reduced French influence in India. After the
Battle of Buxar in 1764, the Company acquired the civil rights of administration in
Bengal from the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II; it marked the beginning of its formal
rule, which was to engulf eventually most of India and extinguish the Moghul rule
and dynasty itself in a century. The East India Company monopolized the trade of
Bengal. They introduced a land taxation system called the Permanent Settlement
which introduced a feudal-like structure (See Zamindar) in Bengal. By the 1850s, the
East India Company controlled most of the Indian sub-continent, which included
present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh. Their policy was sometimes summed up as
Divide and Rule, taking advantage of the enmity festering between various princely
states and social and religious groups.
The first major movement against the British Company's high handed rule resulted in
the Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the "Indian Mutiny" or "Sepoy Mutiny"
or the "First War of Independence". After a year of turmoil, and reinforcement of the
East India Company's troops with British soldiers, the Company overcame the
rebellion. The nominal leader of the uprising, the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah
Zafar, was exiled to Burma, his children were beheaded and the Moghul line
abolished. In the aftermath all power was transferred from the East India Company to
the British Crown, which began to administer most of India as a colony; the
Company's lands were controlled directly and the rest through the rulers of what it
called the Princely states. There were 565 princely states when the Indian
subcontinent gained independence from Britain in August 1947.
During the British Raj, famines in India, often attributed to failed government
policies, were some of the worst ever recorded, including the Great Famine of 1876–
78, in which 6.1 million to 10.3 million people died and the Indian famine of 1899–
1900, in which 1.25 to 10 million people died. The Third Plague Pandemic started in
China in the middle of the 19th century, spreading plague to all inhabited continents
and killing 10 million people in India alone. Despite persistent diseases and famines,
however, the population of the Indian subcontinent, which stood at about 125 million
in 1750, had reached 389 million by 1941.
The Indian Independence movement
The physical presence of the British in India was not significant. Yet the British were
able to rule two-thirds of the subcontinent directly, and exercise considerable leverage
over the Princely States that accounted for the remaining one-third. The British
employed "Divide and Rule" in British India as a means of preventing an uprising
against the Raj.
In this environment of Hindu-Muslim disunity, the first step toward Indian
independence and western-style democracy was taken with the appointment of Indian
councilors to advise the British viceroy, and with the establishment of provincial
Councils with Indian members; the councillors' participation was subsequently
widened in legislative councils. From 1920 leaders such as Mohandas Karamchand
Gandhi began highly popular mass movements to campaign against the British Raj,
using largely peaceful methods. Some other revolutionaries adopted militant
approach; revolutionary activities against the British rule took place throughout the
Indian sub-continent. The profound impact Gandhi had on India and his ability to gain
independence through a totally non-violent mass movement made him one of the most
remarkable leaders the world has ever known. He led by example, wearing a
minimum of homespun clothes to weaken the British textile industry and
orchestrating a march to the sea, where demonstrators proceeded to make their own
salt in protest against the British monopoly. Indians gave him the name Mahatma, or
Great Soul, first suggested by the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. Subash Chandra
Bose, a great freedom fighter, had organised a formidable army to fight against the
British rule. Bhagat Singh was another Indian freedom fighter, considered to be one
of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement; he is
often referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh (the word shaheed means "martyr"). These
movements succeeded in bringing Independence to the Indian sub-continent in 1947.
One year later, Gandhi was assassinated. However, he did live long enough to free his
homeland and is thus recognised as the father of his nation.
Independence and Partition
Along with the desire for independence, tensions between Hindus and Muslims had
also been developing over the years. The Muslims had always been a minority, and
the prospect of an exclusively Hindu government made them wary of independence;
they were as inclined to mistrust Hindu rule as they were to resist the foreign Raj,
although Gandhi called for unity between the two groups in an astonishing display of
leadership. The British, extremely weakened by the World War II, promised that they
would leave and the British Indian territories gained independence in 1947, after
being partitioned into the Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan. Following the
controversial division of pre-partition Punjab and Bengal, rioting broke out between
Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims in these provinces and spread to several other parts of
India, leaving some 500,000 dead. Also, this period saw one of the largest mass
migrations ever recorded in modern history, with a total of 12 million Hindus, Sikhs
and Muslims moving between the newly created nations of India and Pakistan (which
gained independence on 15 and 14 August, 1947 respectively). In 1971, Bangladesh,
formerly East Pakistan and East Bengal, seceded from Pakistan. The histories of each
of these modern nations can be found on the respective pages shown above.
Tourism since 1947
After independence India has improved significantly in the tourism sector. India is an
enchanting destination with many captivating images, history and culture. Recent
trends indicate that India is fast emerging as the favored tourist destination of South
East Asia.
Improvements in road and rail infrastructure has made it much convenient for tourists
to travel to different parts of the country. The Golden Quadrilateral project will give a
further boost to the road infrastructure by linking the four main metros of India under
one mammoth highway project. Construction of pitched roads have also connected a
number of small tourist destinations with major towns and cities of India. This has
resulted in greater tourist inflow to these places. Infact, many lesser known tourist
destinations now figure prominently in the tourist map of India. The construction of
Expressways like Mumbai-Pune and Delhi-Noida have made road travel much faster
and safer in India.
Even the capital city of New Delhi is adding new feathers to its cap to attract tourists
in a big way. The ambitious Delhi Metro Rail Project on the lines of the 'London
Tube' is likely to be fully operational by 2008. Some sections of Delhi Metro have
already become operational.
Rail services have improved manifold with the introduction of fully air conditioned
Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains. In order to make local train travel within an
Indian state more comfortable, Jan Shatabdi trains have also been introduced. For the
convenience of foreign tourists only, Indrail passes have been introduced which
makes train travel for foreigners a hassle free business.
Air travel in India has also become very convenient in present times. Indian Airlines
and private operators like Jet and Sahara have introduced many schemes to attract
tourists. This includes co-branded credit cards in collaboration with major banks.
Indian Airlines and Jet Airways offer Apex fares while Air Sahara auctions seats
starting from Re.1. Infact, India has gone in for massive computerisation in the
railway and airlines sector. It is worth mentionable that hotel rooms in India can also
be booked or cancelled on line.
As a result of developments in infrastructure, travelling to and within India has
become much comfortable and safe.
Let us see some statistics of Indian Tourism
Foreign Tourists In India (Number)
283750 228150 274215 337345 385977 459489 532088 584765
February 262306 227529 262692 331697 369844 439090 498806 560658
248965 225558 218473 293185 352094 391009 444186 509926
185338 155378 160941 223884 248416 309208 333945 369677
151098 132998 141508 185502 225394 255008 267758 290785
176716 143100 176324 223122 246970 278370 310104 344526
224432 186432 225359 272456 307870 337332 377474 -
196517 161477 204940 253301 273856 304387 360089 -
September 162326 151721 191339 226773 257184 297891 325893 October
181605 212191 260569 307447 347757 391399 440715 -
November 209685 243566 290583 385238 423837 442413 510987 December Total
319271 417527 479411 541571 575148 -
2282738 2073025 2726214 3457477 3918610 4447167 4977193 2660337
Percentage Changes in foreign tourists arrival
2002/01 2003/02 2004/03 2005/04 2006/05 2007/06 2008/07
February -13.3
September -6.5
November 16.2
December -
International Tourists Arrivals to India
Sri Lanka
Region/ Country
South Korea
Few Facts
Tourists inflow from Australia
In the last three years the tourist arrivals from Australia to India have almost doubled
to a record figure of 1,00,000. However India aims to double tourist inflow from
Australia to two lakh in the next three years.
Tourists inflow from Britain
Every year about 3000,000 tourists from Britain visit India for both business as well
as leisure.
Tourists to India spend more..
Tourists to India spent $ 372 on their visa cards in the year of 2005. This is a 25% rise
from the year 2004 thereby, making India the fastest growing Asia -Pacific market for
the International tourist spending. According to the World Travel and Tourism
Council , the Indian tourism demand will grow at an annual 8.8 % over the next ten
years, fueled by higher incomes and lower air fares.
Earnings on Tourism
In 2005 India earned US $ 6.9 billion from inbound foreign tourists, which is more
than twice the US $3.1 billion earned during the year 2002. According to the latest
balance of payments figures released by the Reserve Bank Of India, 2005 was the
year of fastest growth in forex inflows from foreign travel, during which inflows went
up 36 %.
Leading Tourist destination
With nearly 140 three and two star hotels, Kerala has turned into a major hot spot for
foreign tourists. However Tamil Nadu hold the second position in attracting foreign
Mode of transport
Air continued to be the predominant mode of travel for the tourists coming to India.
However arrivals by sea were negligible.
Age- Group factor An average foreign tourist is between age group of 20-40 years.
The tourism centers of India can be classified into four categories depending on the
geographical position of them. India is full of tourist center starting from North to
South and East to West.
Eastern Zone
East India is a home to many fascinating touring destinations. While witnessing the
eastern parts of India, the tourists can enjoy their holidays in many hill stations like
Darjeeling, Manali, and Gangtok. Orissa, which is a part of incredible India, is known
from the ancient times for its religious and cultural heritage. Arunachal Pradesh that is
in the eastern parts of India is abundant with lush green forest. It is also known as the
“Land of Dawn-lit-Mountains” that receives the first sunrays in India.
Tours to Bihar
The eastern Indian state of Bihar has an indelible place in Indian history of the ancient
and medieval period. A seat of ancient civilisations, the state has jealously preserved
her heritage for the benefit of upcoming generations. Undoubtedly, a tour to have a
glimpse of the
preserved heritage would be a rewarding experience.
The sacred river Ganga, cutting Bihar from west to east, bestowed Bihar with such
fertility that a host of political and cultural civilisations flourished at different times in
history. The name 'Bihar' is derived from 'Vihara', meaning monastery.
The state has been a major religious centre for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Lord
Buddha attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya sitting and meditating under the Bodhi
tree. The Mahabodhi temple of the place is visited by devotees from all over the world
in large numbers. A descendant of the original Bodhi tree still flourishes in Bodhgaya.
Nalanda had the renowned Buddhist university in the 5th century AD. The ruins of
Nalanda are still a captivating sight. At Vaishali, Lord Mahavira was born and Lord
Buddha delivered his last sermons and announced his Mahaprayan. Rajgir is where
both Lord Mahavira and Lord Buddha spent considerable period of their lives.
Pawapuri, sacred to followers of Jain community is the place where Lord Mahavira
had breathed his last.
The list does not end there. Champaran in north Bihar figures prominently in the
freedom struggle of India. It is from here that Mahatma Gandhi launched a strong
movement against Britishers. Aurangabad in south Bihar is another place of historical
importance. Vikramshila has the ruins of a Buddhist university and Sasaram has the
tomb of Afghan emperor Sher Shah Suri. Patna, the capital city of Bihar and birth
place of tenth Sikh Guru, Govind Singh also holds a lot of promises for tourists.
The best buys of Bihar include decorative pieces made out of stone and beadjewellery. Local handicraft and handloom products are also very attractive. Tilcoot-a
kind of sweet, is famous
all over the state.
Bihar can be reached easily by air, rail and road. Travelling to the various tourist
destinations within Bihar is also a hassle free affair. It is true that Bihar had failed to
develop her infrastructure adequately in the past hampering the growth of tourism
sector. However, things have vastly improved now. On the north, Bihar shares
international boundary with Nepal. To its east and west are the states of West Bengal
and Uttar Pradesh. To the south of Bihar is the
newly carved out state of Jharkhand.
A state of tremendous religious importance, a tour to Bihar shall be a great spiritual
Excotic Cities- Rajgir, Vaishali, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya
Temples- Bodhi Temple, Ma Mundeshwari Temple, Vishnupada Temple
Forts and Monuments-,Pathar Ki Masjid , Palamu Fort, Padri Ki Haveli, Munger
Fort, Martyrs Memorial, Maner Fort, Tomb of Shamsher Khan, Lomas Rishi Cave,
Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, Kesaria Buddhist Stupa, Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall,
Golghar, Fort Vishal , Agam Kuan, Agam Kuan, Raj Mahal, Rambhar Stupa ,
Ratnagarh, Rohtasgarh Fort, Samosharan, Shanti Stupa, Sher Shah Suri Masjid, Sher
Shah Suris Mausoleum , Sonbhandar Caves.
Tours to West Bengal
The eastern Indian state of West Bengal is regarded as a land of great diversity. This
diversity is not confined to her geographical features alone. It stretches to her
demographic pattern and culture also. A canvas of many shades, tourists could have a
glimpse of the serene rural landscape, the skyscrapers of big cities, the picturesque
hill stations of the north and scenic beaches down West Bengal's south. And when it
comes to festivals, West Bengal celebrates them in a way unmatched by any other
state of India. Bengalis are also expert in making delicious sweets.
Known in earlier times as Vanga, West Bengal has a rich history. Many dynasties
ruled and vanished in the soil of Bengal. The 13th century saw Bengal coming under
Islamic rule and later developing into a prominent place of trade and commerce under
the Mughals. Bengal is also regarded as the first region of India to come under British
rule. It is from Bengal that British extended their rule to the rest of India and made
Kolkata (Calcutta) the initial capital of India. West Bengal is also the birth place of
Nobel prize winner Rabindra Nath Tagore and world famous film director Satyajit
Ray. Mother Teresa adopted Bengal as her home.
Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal is one of India's four metropolitan cities. The city
has many beautiful monuments dating back to the British period. The Victoria
Memorial, Birla Planetarium and Howrah bridge of Kolkata are among its best
attractions. Shantiniketan is a famous university town in West Bengal having gained
popularity for its association with Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. From the plains,
tourists can go to higher altitudes where the snow clad mountains of the picturesque
hill station of Darjeeling awaits them. The beauty of the hill station enthralls all who
visit the place. In close proximity are a few other hill stations namely
Kalimpong,Kurseongand Mirik.
The Sunderbans Delta in West Bengal's south is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger. The
fact that Sunderbans can only be seen through the river route travelling by boat further
adds to the thrill of visiting the place. A state with a long coastline, West Bengal also
has some scenic beaches like Falta, Shankarpur, Digha and
Sagar Islands.
West Bengal adorns a new look during the Durga Puja
celebrations in the month of October. The festival, celebrated
with pomp and gaiety, attracts tourists from all parts of India
and even abroad. Bengal is particularly famous for sweets
and fish delicacies.
West Bengal is bound by the states of Sikkim, Assam,
Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand. West Bengal also shares
international boundary with Bhutan and Bangladesh. The state also has a long coast
washed by the waters of Bay of Bengal. The vast majority of the people in the state
are Bengalis. Sherpas, Gorkhas and Paharis reside mostly in the hilly areas of the
West Bengal is one Indian state where tourists cannot complain of monotony. Her
attractions are diverse and mesmerizing.
When one thinks about the king of jungle, the first thought that flashes in the mind is
the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger. And the Sundarban National Park is the only natural
habitat of the king of kings – Royal Bengal tiger. Besides being a national park, the
Sundarban is also a tiger reserve, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a Biosphere
Reserve. Sundarban is also the largest Mangrove forest in the world. The most unique
feature of Sundarban is the combination of jungle and water. One can easily spot a
tiger swimming ate river.
Sundarban National Park
Sundarban National Park is located in 24 Paraganas district, south-east of Kolkata,
India. It is a part of the Gangetic delta at the border of the Bay of Bengal. The
Sundarban was declared as tiger reserve in 1973, a wildlife sanctuary in 1977, and
finally a national park on 4th May, 1984. Sundarban is the world largest delta and
estuarine forest. It is also a host for migratory bird during the winters.
Wildlife in Sundarban National Park
The Sundarban is famous for its Royal Bengal tiger. Apart from the great Royal
Bengal tiger, the Sundarban is famous for its population of crocodiles. The dense
forest of Sundarban is rich in flora and fauna. In fauna, the Sundarban is the proud
habitat of Chital Deer, jungle cat, Rhesus Monkey, common grey mongoos, hundreds
of varieties of fishes, small Indian civet, red fiddler crab, little porpoise, hermit crab,
Gangetic dolphin, Indian fox, spotted deer, wild pig, Indian flying fox, fishing cat, etc.
In flora, the most magnificent is the flaming red leaves of Genwa, which gives a
special look to the Sundarban forest. The other attractions include red blooms of
Kankara, yellow blooms of Khalsi, dhundal, Passur, and many more. Climate : The
climate in Sundarban is rainy and on the higher side of humidity due to the presence
of the Bay of Bengal. The temperature varies from 200 C to 350 C. During May and
September-November, there is possibility of storm.
Best time to visit : The best Time to visit Sundarban National Park is from September
to mid-March. The climate during this period remains predictable and comfortable.
Getting there :
By Air - Dum Dum, in Kolkata, is the nearest airport of the Sundarban. The Dumdum
airport is located some 112 kilometers from the Sundarban.
By Rail -The nearest railway station is the Canning. It is located some 48 kilometers
from Sundarban.
By Road -The nearest roadways to Sundarban are from Namkhana, Sonakhali,
Raidighi, Canning and Najat.
By Water -Water is by far the best medium to visit Sundarban. Waterways to
Sundarban can be availed from Namkhana, Sajnekhali, Raidighi, etc. One can best
enjoy the flamboyances of Sundarban by taking the cruises through waterways while
enjoying the water life and delicious traditional as well as modern Bengali dishes with
special attractions like fish and prawns. M. V. Chutrarekha and M. V. Madhukar are
the best available luxury cruises to Sundarban.
The most important and organized hill resort in Eastern India is Darjeeling which lies
686 kms from Calcutta perched at a height of 2134 meters with a backdrop of the
mighty snow clad Himalayan Peaks.
The mighty Kanchenjunga peak overlooks the town from where one can get a clear
view of the peak on a sunny day.The world's highest peak The Everest can also be
seen from near the town.
Re-discovered by the British in Calcutta, every year at the beginning of summer, the
Viceroys of India and after 1911 the Lieutenant Governors of Bengal would move
lock, stock and barrel to Darjeeling. Its the British who rapidly developed Darjeeling
into a pleasant resort. In the 1840’s Tea Plantation was introduced in the area.
Darjeeling "orthodox" tea is now famous and among the most expensive in the world.
Darjeeling is an abrupt change from the plains and Calcutta. The population is Nepali,
Lepcha, Tibetan and Bhutia. Surrounded by Tea Plantation a popular hill station since
British established it as a rest and recreation centre for its troops in mid 1800.
Getting There
By Air The nearest airport is Bagdogra, 90 kms away from Darjeeling. Bagdogra is
connected by Indian Airlines and some private airlines from Delhi, Calcutta and
By Rail The most convenient railhead is New Jalpaiguri, 8 kms away from Bagdogra
airport and it is connected by several fast and superfast trains linking NewDarjeeling
Tour, India Tour Packages, Tours to India, India Tours Jalpaiguri to Delhi, Patna and
Calcutta. Rail journey in the "Toy Train" often crisscrossing the motor road and
passing through bazaars is a memorable experience. This mini railway has been in
existence since 1878, takes 8 hours to Darjeeling from New Jalpaiguri.
By Road Darjeeling is accessible to all automobiles but in particular the 80 kms drive
to Darjeeling from Jalpaiguri or Bagdogra through the picturesque road winding
through the dense green forests and terraced tea gardens, has the promise of a
memorable experience. There are regular bus services between Siliguri, Calcutta,
Patna and Phuntshoelling.
Places Of Interest
The Tiger Hill : About 11 kms from Darjeeling is at an altitude of 2,555 mts and
provides a fine view of the mighty Everest and Kanchenjunga peaks.
Ghoom : is the station close by, from where one can take the toy train back to
The Senchal Lake : close by is the source of drinking water for the city.
The Lebona Race Course : About 8 kms from the centre of the city and some 325 mts
below the town, is one of the smallest and highest race course of the world. On
BURCH HILL to the north stands the ‘Shrubbery’ the residence of the Governor of
West Bengal.
The Lloyd's Botanical Gardens : One of the oldest in the region, is just below the
main Market Motor stand. It has rare collection of Himalayan flowers.
Zoological Park : The nearby Zoological Park specializes in high altitude wild life Yaks, Himalayan Black Bears, Pandas and also Siberian Tiger.
Happy Valley : The tea estate of Happy Valley is one of the best in Darjeeling.
The Darjeeling Ranjeet Valley : passenger ropeway is 8 kms at the North point, about
3 kms from the town. The ropeway connects Darjeeling to Singla Bazar on the
Ranjeet river at the bottom of the valley.
Kolkata, known earlier as Calcutta, is one of the four metropolitan cities of India. The
capital of eastern Indian state of West Bengal, Kolkata is today the most important
city of eastern India. The city was also the political capital of India in preindependence period. A lot of credit for building Kolkata goes to the British East
India company. Not surprisingly, Kolkata has some of the finest buildings built during
the British period. Some of the landmarks of Kolkata like Victoria Memorial and
Howrah Bridge are famous all over the world. Kolkata of today is a blend of tradition
and modernity. Cynics look at Kolkata as a crowded and noisy place but optimists
regard it as a real city of joy. In fact, this incredible city has a lot to offer to tourists.
Best Season to Visit : September-April
Sightseeing at Kolkata Victoria Memorial : The Victoria Memorial has some of the most memorable artifacts
and collections from the British days. Now converted to a museum, the building was
built using white marbles from Jodhpur as a memorial to Queen Victoria. The
architecture of Victoria Memorial is very impressive.
Indian Museum : Established in the year 1814, this is the oldest museum in India. It
has some of the rarest collections of archeological importance. Over 2000 year old
coins have been kept in this museum. The museum is housed in a beautiful building.
Birla Planetarium : One of the largest planetariums in the world, the internal diameter
of the planetarium tomb is 82 feet. The planetarium has a capacity to seat 500 people
and conducts regular shows in Hindi, English and Bengali languages.
Howrah Bridge, Tours to India, India Tours, India TourHowrah Bridge : The Howrah
Bridge is an example of excellent British engineering techniques. The bridge is 450
meters long and hangs without any towers in the river. Handling over 100,000
vehicles in a day, Howrah Bridge connects Kolkata and Howrah over river Hooghly.
Reaching Kolkata Air : Kolkata has an international airport. Regular flights operate to N.S.C.
International airport at Dumdum from all major national destinations and many
international destinations.
Rail : Kolkata has two major railway stations-Howrah and Sealdah. The metropolitan
city is well connected to the rest of the country through the rail network.
Road : An excellent road network connects Kolkata to the rest of West Bengal and
India. It is worth mentionable that the Golden Quadrilateral project will connect all
the four metros of India through world class roads.
Kalinga, as Orissa was known in ancient times, witnessed a lot of bloodbath when
Emperor Ashoka waged a fierce battle to capture the kingdom. Devastated by the
bloodshed, Ashoka denounced warfare and adopted Buddhism. The calmness that
prevailed thereafter still winds through the air of Orissa. The state has preserved most
of the temples and monuments built at different times in history by different rulers. As
a result, the landscape of present day Orissa is dotted with magnificent temples, some
of which dates back to thousands of years.
But exotic Orissa does not remain content with its display of temples. Situated on
India's eastern coast along the Bay of Bengal, the green valleys, blue hills, lush green
forests and scenic beaches of the state also have a magical impact on tourists. The
capital city of Bhubaneshwar has over 500 big and small temples that stand testimony
to its glorious past. For the presence of such a large number of temples,
Bhubaneshwar is also called 'temple metropolis of India'. The 11th century Lingaraja
temple is one of the best examples of ancient Orissan temple architecture. Konark,
some 64 kms away from Bhubaneshwar has the world famous Sun temple. Built in
the form of a chariot, seven horses are shown pulling the mammoth chariot fitted with
24 large wheels. The temple has also been declared an UNESCO World Heritage site.
Puri, near Konark, is regarded as one of the four sacred Hindu pilgrimage centres for
the presence of the Jagannath temple. The imposing 65 metre tall building was built in
the 12th century.
Orissa Travel
Tourists are also attracted to the golden beaches of Orissa namely Chandipur and
Gopalpur. The beaches of Puri and Konark are also visited in large numbers.
Orissa does not let down wildlife enthusiasts either. Nandan Kanan on the outskirts of
Bhubaneshwar is India's largest lion safari park. The park also has a botanical and
zoological garden. The presence of around three dozen white tigers further adds to the
attraction of the park. Some 320 kms from Bhubaneshwar in Mayurbhanj district,
Simlipal is another wildlife sanctuary having a rich variety of flora and fauna.
Among Orissa's oldest heritage are the caves of Udaigiri and Khandgiri dating back to
2300 years. The 113 caves, created by Jain monks, have exquisite rock cut images of
that period.
The naturally gifted artisans of Orissa have filled the markets of the state with their
exquisite products. A tour to Orissa would remain an incomplete affair if tourists fail
to pick some of the state's best buys. Be it the silverwork of Cuttack, coloured wall
hangings of Pipli, the intricate paintings of Raghurajpur or the glorious hand woven
fabrics of Sambalpur, the list of attractions is virtually endless.
Orissa's staple is mainly rice and curry. But there are many delicacies both in the
vegetarian and non-vegetarian categories which should not be missed by tourists
visiting the colourful state.
Puri is located on the Bay of Bengal coast in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. The
place is at a distance of 60 kms from Bhubaneshwar, Orissa's capital city. Puri is
regarded as sacred by Hindus for the presence of Jagannath temple. Puri is also
popular for its white sandy beach. Tourists visit Puri in thousands to pay obeisance at
Jagannath temple and take part in the annual Rath yatra festival. This place of
religious significance is also called 'Sri Purusottama Dham'. Due to its proximity to
state capital Bhubaneshwar, tourists find it very convenient to travel to Puri.
Best Season to Visit : October-April
Sightseeing at Puri The Jagannath Temple : The Jagannath temple of Puri is famous all over the world.
The Jagannath Temple is regarded as one of the four most important Hindu
pilgrimage sites. The magnificent temple was built in the 12th century and the
structure of the temple is 65-meter high. The adjoining Nata Mandir and Bhoga
Mandir were built two centuries later. However, non-Hindus are not allowed to enter
the Jagannatha temple premises.
Gundicha Ghar : The Gundicha temple is also an important temple of Puri. Legend
has it that this temple is the home of Lord Krishna's aunt 'Gundicha'. This temple is
very closely associated with Rath Yatra in Puri. During the course of Yatra ceremony,
Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are ceremoniously taken out in wooden
chariot (Rath) from Jagannath temple to Gundicha Ghar.
Chilika Lake : Chilika is Asia's largest freshwater lake spread over an area of 1100 sq
km The lake is at a distance of 50 kms from Puri. A rich variety of aquatic fauna is
found in Chilika lake. Dolphins are also found in the lake. During winters, migratory
birds in very large numbers come to Chilika.
Reaching Puri Air : Bhubaneshwar is the nearest airport from Puri at a distance of 56 kms. Flights
are available to Bhubaneshwar from all major destinations of India.
Jaganath Puri, Tours to India, India Tours, India TourRail : The railway station at Puri
is a major railway station well connected to many cities and towns of India.
Road : Puri is well connected to the rest of Orissa and Kolkata by road.
Temple city of Konark is located in eastern Indian state of Orissa. Konark's distance
from Puri and state capital Bhubaneshwar are 35 kms and 65 kms respectively.
Located on the Bay of Bengal coast , Konark is famous all over the world for the Sun
temple.Also called the Black Pagoda, Sun temple is now listed as a World Heritage
site by UNESCO. Tourists coming to the temple city also visit the picturesque beach
of the place.
Best Season to Visit : September-April
Sightseeing at Konark Sun Temple : The magnificent Sun temple is a World Heritage site. The structure of
the temple is like a huge chariot. It has 24 wheels pulled by seven straining horses.
There is a three-tiered pyramidal roof on top of the temple. The chariot represents
seven days of the week and 24 hours of the day. The sculptures and carvings of the
temple try to depict every aspect of life. This includes scenes from the court, civic life
and war.
The Archeological Museum : The museum is located near the Sun temple. The
museum has many beautiful sculptures and carvings from the ruins of the Sun
Temple. The museum gives a lot of information on the history of Konark and the Sun
The beautiful beach of Konark is also worth a visit. Many tourists come for bathing at
the beach or spending some leisure time.
The Sun temple of Konark has been so magnificently built that it is regarded as one of
the best examples of temple architecture anywhere in the world. Dedicated to the Sun
God or Surya, this temple has now been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
According to mythological tales, the Sun temple was constructed by Samba, the son
of Lord Krishna. Samba suffered from leprosy for a long time due to a curse given by
his father. After long 12 years of penance, he was cured at this place by Surya or Sun
God. Samba built the Sun temple in his favour. But depending on scientific historical
evidences, it is believed that Narashimhadev I had constructed the temple in mid-13th
Also called the Black Pagoda, the Sun temple of Konark has been designed in the
form of a chariot of the Sun God, taking him to the heavens. The chariot has 24 huge
wheels and is driven by seven horses. It is mentionable that the seven horses mark
seven days of the week while 24 wheels mark the hours of the day. Each of the 24
wheels is about 10 feet in diameter having sets of spokes and exquisite carvings. At
the entrance of the temple are two lions. There are a number of steps leading to the
main entrance of the temple. The main sanctum was 229 feet high while the audience
hall is128 feet high. Unfortunately, the main sanctum housing the presiding deity has
fallen off. The audience hall still remains intact.
The base of the temple, its walls and roof have many exquisite carvings. There are
images of animals, men, warriors on horses and many others. Three images of Sun
God have been created in such a way that they are well positioned to catch the sun
rays at dawn, noon and sunset.
Suntemple Orissa, Tours to India, India Tours
The Sun temple covers an area measuring 857 feet by 540 feet. Aligning to the eastwest direction, the temple is surrounded by casuarina plantations and other types of
trees. Many parts of the temple are now in ruins.
Sikkim Travel
The natural beauty of tiny Sikkim attracts tourists in large numbers. The snow clad
Himalayan mountain ranges and virgin forests gives the landscape a mesmerizing
look. Cut off from the din and bustle of the modern world, Sikkim is the perfect
destination for tourists
to rest and recreate in the midst of Himalayas.
One of India's smallest states, Sikkim is strategically located above eastern Indian
state of West Bengal. The state shares its boundary with three countries-Nepal in the
west, Bhutan in the east and China in the north. The state has an interesting history.
Established in 1642, Phuntsog Namgyal was the first ruler of Sikkim who was
recognized by Dalai Lama as the first chogyal (temporal and spiritual king). The
rulers of Nepal and Bhutan made many attempts in the past to annex Sikkim. But the
rule of Namgyal dynasty prevailed in spite of the adventures of neighbouring
kingdoms. During British rule in India, Sikkim was given the status of a princely state
but the Britishers had full trading rights. After India's independence, Sikkim initially
remained an Indian protectorate having autonomous status. But an overwhelming
majority of Sikkim's population favoured merger with India and Sikkim
became the 22nd state of India on May 15, 1975.
Picturesque Sikkim has a myriad of tourist attractions. Capital Gangtok is one of
eastern India's most picturesque hill stations. The prime attractions of the hill station
are snow clad mountains, rich flora and magnificent Buddhist monasteries. Other than
the natural beauty and places of religious importance, the orchid garden of Gangtok is
one of its kind in the state. It has 454 different varieties of orchids. In north Sikkim, a
visit to Chungthang is a rewarding experience. Chungthang is the origin of river
Teesta with great scenic beauty. Other attractions in northern Sikkim are Yumthang,
Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary and
Kanchenjunga National Park.
Khecheopalri Lake of Sikkim is held in high reverence by the people of Sikkim.
Considered sacred by Hindus and Buddhists, it is believed that the water of the lake
has medicinal properties. A noticeable phenomenon is that even birds do not permit
dead tree leaves to float on its waters. The Temi tea garden is the only tea garden of
Sikkim but produces tea of a very high quality. The garden has been planted on a hill
slope. Some of the other picturesque destinations of Sikkim located in high altitudes
are Pelling, Namchi and Tendong Hills.
South Sikkim is most ideal for trekking and mountaineering. Both professionals and
amateurs in the field belonging to different parts of the world visit Sikkim routinely to
take part in the expeditions.
Sikkim also offers a range of shopping choices for tourists. They include carved
furniture, traditional clothes, Lepcha weave bags, carpets and durries with intricate
designs. Wooden and bamboo artifacts are also among the best buys of the state.
The population of Sikkim mainly consists of Bhutias, Lepchas and Nepalis. The best
time to visit Sikkim is between the months of October and March. Located in high
altitudes, the temperatures dip sharply during winters. With luck on their side, tourists
may also be able to enjoy snowfall during winters.
Rumtek Monastery
Rumtek Monastery Sikkim INdia, Tours to India, India TourLocation : On the
outskirts of Gangtok (24 kms away) in the state of Sikkim.
Festivals Celebrated : Two of the most important events are held every summer and
winter. In the months of February and March, a festive ten-day practice of the
Mahakala Protector is held. This is followed by the traditional sacred lama dance of
Mahakala on the 29th day.The Tibetan New Year involves many cultural and spiritual
festivities lasting for 3-8 days. All these events provide an unique opportunity for both
practitioners and the general public to learn and enjoy the sacred culture maintained
by lamas.
His Holiness the Sixteen Gyalwa Karmapa fled from Tibet in the year 1959 due to
Chinese pressure. He was given a formal invitation by Choegyal (Dharma King) of
Sikkim to settle in the state. His Holiness accepted the invitation of royal family and
came to Rumtek to settle permanently.
Since then, the Rumtek Monastery has become one of the most important seats of the
Kagyu lineage. The monastery became the international Kagyu headquarters during
the life of His Holiness. The monastery is also the residence of a new generation of
Kagyu masters.
The Rumtek Monastery, also known as the Dharma Chakra Centre has a well
structured main shrine temple and monastery with monks' quarters. The Karmapa also
resides in the quarters. Other structures include a retreat centre, a monastic college, a
nunnery, stupas, a protector's shrine and other establishments.
The construction of Rumtek Monastery had started in the year 1962. It took three
years for completion of the monastery. The then king of Sikkim had passed away. But
the foundation stone of the new monastery was laid by the new King of Sikkim. The
general secretary for His Holiness carried out the construction exactly in accordance
with the instructions of His Holiness.
Painted Doorway of Rumtek Monastery, Tours to India, India ToursThe monastery is
covered with beautiful murals and traditional Tibetan style paintings. It is worth
mentionable that Rumtek monastery is the first monastery built in India according to
traditional designs thus becoming a model for many other monasteries built later in
the country.
Assam Travel
Swami Vivekananda had once said that next only to Kashmir, Assam is the most
beautiful place in India. Regarded as the gateway to the north east, Assam is the
second largest state of the region. Also called 'the land of green valleys and blue hills',
picturesque Assam is particularly famous for her tea gardens, the one-horned rhino
and the mighty river Brahmaputra. The landscape of the state is dotted with many
monuments and temples of historical period. A state with an abundance of forest
cover, Assam also has five national parks and around half a dozen other wildlife
sanctuaries. Another aspect that separates Assam from the rest of Indian states is the
rich composite culture of the state. Assamese constitute the majority of the state's
population but the state has over two dozen other big and small tribal groups with
many of them having their own language, script, dance forms and traditions. Hence,
Assam is also called a mosaic of cultures.
The information available on the ancient history of Assam is less as compared to
medieval and modern periods. Assam was mentioned as 'Kamarupa' or 'Pragjyotish'
during the period of the epics. The most prominent of the earlier dynasties was the
Varman dynasty having started its rule from 400 AD. The Ahoms came to Assam in
about 1228 AD. The Ahom rule, a bright period in the history of Assam, saw the
construction of many temples and monuments besides a general upliftment of the
infrastructure of the state. The Ahom rule weakened in the early 18th century and the
Burmese sensed an opportunity to invade Assam. This forced the British to interfere
resulting in the signing of Treaty of Yandaboo in 1826. A lot of credit for establishing
tea gardens and oil exploration in Assam goes to the British. After independence, the
states of Meghalaya and Mizoram were carved out of Assam.
The commercial capital of Assam, Guwahati has many beautiful temples including
Kamakhya temple, Nabagraha, Umananda, Dol Gobinda and Basistha Ashram. The
Sankardev Kalakshetra displays the artistic excellence of Asam and the rest of north
eastern states. Hajo near Guwahati is sacred to followers of three religions-Hinduism,
Islam and Buddhism. Majuli in upper Assam is the world's largest river island.
Sivasagar and Jorhat preserve many of the legacies of Ahom period in the form of
temples and monuments. Tezpur is renowned for archeological ruins and ancient
temples. Haflong in lower Assam is the only hill station of the state.
Kaziranga is the most famous wildlife sanctuary of the state. It is home to more than
half of the world's one horned rhino population. Other national parks of Assam are
Nameri, Manas, Orang and Dibru-Saikhowa. There are many picnic spots along the
banks of mighty river Brahmaputra.
Assam is also a state where festivals are celebrated with pomp and gaiety. Bihu,the
main festival of the state has three varieties-rongali ,bhogali and kongali falling in
January, April and October respectively. Durga Puja is also celebrated in a big way in
the state. Coupled with these are the festivals of many tribal groups of the state
keeping the atmosphere of the state festive for most part of the year.
The exquisite handloom and handicraft products of the state made largely of cane and
bamboo are among the best buys of the state.
In the midst of forests, mountains, rivers and lush green tea gardens, destination
Assam is sure to be a captivating tourist attraction.
India boasts itself as a reservoir of rich wildlife treasure. Wildlife in India is an ideal
showcase of varieties of flora and fauna. Wildlife in India ranges from the majestic
tigers, giant elephants, and beautiful peacock to name only a few. All these species
finds wild life sanctuaries in India as a secure asylum to continue their life-activities
without any kind of resistance. Almost all state in India possesses wild life sanctuaries
and national parks to provide natural shelter to the India wildlife. Kaziranga National
park, in Assam is a renowned homeland of the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros.
Undoubtedly, it is one of the largest secured wildlife areas in India. Though, onehorned rhinoceroses populate the Kaziranga National Park, but it also includes many
mammals, which includes tigers, panthers, elephants and bears, and thousands of
Kaziranga National Park
The Kaziranga National Park is a renowned national park that was established in the
year 1908. In December 1985, this national park was enlisted as a part of world
heritage site. The Kaziranga National Park is situated on the bank of the great
Brahmaputra River. It stretched to a large area of 430 sq km. It touches the nearby
districts namely Golaghat and Nagaon, the two district of Assam. Figure depicts the
Kaziranga National Park includes 52 % of grass land and 29 % of moist mixed
deciduous forest, which make the place more precise to exhibit wildlife.
Wildlife in Kaziranga National Park
The Kaziranga National Park is the famous breeding grounds of the one-horned
Indian rhinoceros. Besides one horned rhinos the park provides habitat to a large
population of tigers, elephants, leopards, gaur, sloth bear, Rhesus macaque, Common
Langur, Capped langur, sambar, wild boar, python etc. In fact, figure reveals that the
Kaziranga National Park holds the highest density of tigers among protected areas
throughout the entire globe. Kaziranga National Park is the home to rare and exotic
birding paradise. Some of them are namely little egret, tuffed duck, fish eagle, spot
billed pelican, pheasant, cormorant, black necked adjutant stork, and jungle fowl, etc.
Picturesque Guwahati on the banks of mighty river Brahmaputra is the capital of
north-eastern state of Assam. It is also called the 'gateway to the north-east'. Guwahati
was formerly known as Pragjyotishpur (the City of Eastern Light). The diverse
landscape of this beautiful city includes mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, forests,
traditional buildings of older period and modern structures. Furthermore, it is a place
having many beautiful temples. Guwahati houses the political capital of the stateDispur. Many other tourist attractions of north-east can be reached only from
Best Season to Visit : September-April
Sightseeing at Guwahati Kamakhya temple : The Kamakhya temple atop the Nilachal hills attracts tourists in
large numbers. The temple is one of the most sacred among the tantrik shrines of
Shakti worship in the whole world. The temple was built in the 10th century AD by
the Koch king Naranarayan. The Ambubachi Mela(Fair) held during the monsoon
season in the temple premises also attracts devotees in large numbers.
Umananda Temple : Umananda is regarded as the smallest river island in the world.
At the very centre of the tiny island is Umananda Shiva temple. The beautiful temple
built during the Ahom period can be reached only through motor boats and public
ferries.The temple is visited in large numbers.
Guwahati Zoo, India Tour Packages, Tours to India, India Tours, India TourGuwahati
Zoo and Zoological Gardens : The zoo at Guwahati is the largest natural zoo in India.
Different animal and bird species including Assam's famed one -horned rhino could
be seen in the zoo. There is also a museum and a beautiful zoological garden within
the zoo premises.
Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra : The Kalakshetra is the newest addition to the many
attractions of Guwahati. Built in the 1990's, the artistic excellence of Assam and rest
of the north-eastern region is displayed here. There are eateries, places of worship,
emporiums and open air theatres within the sprawling Kalakshetra premises.
Other attractions worth a visit in Guwahati are Nabagraha temple, Basistha Ashram,
Karmanasha Islands and Dol Gobinda temple.
Reaching Guwahati Air : Flights are available to Guwahati from many destinations of India including the
metropolitan cities.
Rail : Guwahati is well connected with the rest of India through a good railway
Road : Guwahati can also be reached through road transport from the West Bengal
side. From Guwahati, regular bus services are available to most places of Assam and
the north-eastern region.
Arunachal Pradesh Travel
Covering an area of 83,743 sq. km, Arunachal Pradesh is the largest of the seven
states constituting the north eastern part of the country. A state full of hilly terrain and
an abundance of dense forests, thinly populated Arunachal Pradesh lies in the extreme
east of India. The rivers have created broad valleys in the state. The mighty river
Brahmaputra enters Arunachal territory from Tibet and flows into Assam. One of the
wettest states of India, Arunachal receives as much as five hundred centimetres of
rainfall. This accounts for the large number of rivers and lakes in the state apart from
dense forests. The main rivers of the state are Kameng, Subansiri, Siang, Lohit and
Tirap. Arunachal as a tourist destination is most ideal for those who love adventure
filled holidays in high altitudes and thick forests.
Known as the 'Land of Dawn-lit-Mountains', the rays of the morning sun kiss
Arunachal first of all Indian states. Perched on top of low flat hills, capital Itanagar
offers a serene ambience and has a lovely climate. The Buddhist temple and
Jawaharlal Nehru Museum are among the best attractions of Itanagar. Tawang is a
picturesque hill station located in very high altitudes. A place with a breathtaking
beauty, Tawang also has one of the biggest monasteries of India. The monastery has
an 18 feet high gilded statue of Gautam Buddha. The monastery is a treasure trove of
Tibetan Buddhist culture. Parasuramkund near Itanagar is a major pilgrim centre of
Arunachal. People from all over India visit this place of pilgrimage to take a holy dip
in the lake which is believed to cleanse all sins of the past.
With a dazzling array of flora and fauna, beautiful rivers and lakes, every place of
Arunachal has something to offer to tourists. Other attractions of the state are
Bomdila, Tipi, Ziro, Daporijo, Along, Pasighat, Roing, Anini, Tezu, Hayuliang,
Namsai, Miao and Changlang. It may be mentioned that charming Arunachal also
boasts of over 500 varieties of orchids.
The climate of Arunachal is moderate. There is a sharp fall in temperature during
winters. The state also experiences snowfall during winters.
Arunachal Pradesh is another north eastern state with a rich composite culture. There
are over 20 major tribal groups speaking their own language, following their own
traditions and celebrating their own festivals. The handicraft and handloom items of
Arunachal are also unique in nature. Made largely of cane, bamboo and wood, the
exquisite products have a distinct stamp of the state.
Arunachal Pradesh does not have an airport. The nearest airport is Lilabari in Assam
located at a distance of 67 kms from state capital Itanagar. Helicopter services from
Guwahati to Naharlagun are also available. Through roadways, Arunachal Pradesh
can be entered from Tezpur in Assam. Regular bus services are available from
Guwahati and Tezpur to the state. Tourists desirous of visiting Arunachal shall have
to obtain an Inner Line Permit from the Arunachal Government office at Delhi or
Located in India's extreme east, Itanagar is the capital of north-eastern state of
Arunachal Pradesh. Also known as the 'Land of the Dawnlit Mountains', Itanagar is
spread over an area of 2,500 acres. Perched on top of low flat hills, Itanagar offers a
serene ambience and has a lovely climate. The capital city is divided into two partseach 10 kms apart from the other. The older one has been named Naharlagun. There is
a significant influence of Tibetan culture in Itanagar.
Best Season To Visit : October-April
Sightseeing in Itanagar Buddhist Temple : The yellow-roofed Buddhist temple atop a small hillock is among
the best attractions of picturesque Itanagar. The temple is surrounded by wellmaintained gardens. The main shrine is located behind the stupa. The Dalai Lama has
planted a tree here during his visit to the temple. The residence of the Governor of the
state is near the temple.
Gayker Sinyi : Also known as the Ganga lake, this is a small lake situated in the midst
of dense forests on the outskirts of Itanagar. It is a popular picnic spot where many
varieties of orchids remain in full bloom.
Jawaharlal Nehru Museum, Tours to India, India Tours, India TourThe Jawaharlal
Nehru Museum : This museum has an impressive collection of tribal art, instruments
and religious objects. A visit to the museum is very educative as one can understand
the socio-cultural heritage and lifestyle of the people of Arunachal Pradesh from the
objects stored in the museum.
There are many beautiful places in Arunachal Pradesh that can be approached from
Itanagar. River rafting can also be undertaken in nearby places like Kameng,
Subansiri, Siang and Dibang.
Reaching Itanagar Air : The nearest airport from Itanagar is Lilabari airport in Assam which is located at
a distance of 67 kms from Itanagar. Lilabari is a small airport and flights operate only
from a few destinations.
Rail : The nearest railhead from Itanagar is North Lakhimpur in Assam at a distance
of 60 kms.
Road : Bus services are available to Itanagar from Guwahati and other state capitals of
north-eastern region.
Western Zone
West India tour offers a wide range of attraction to the tourists of the entire globe.
There are many fascinating sites that the tourists can admire in the states of
Maharasthra and Goa. The wildlife sanctuaries and the hill stations of these states
have never failed to allure the travelers. There are many exotic beaches in Goa, where
the tourists can enjoy their holidays.
Maharashtra Travel
Tour the vivid and vivacious Maharashtra. An amalgam of modern and antiquity,
Maharashtra tourism is a fascinating experience. Plan a tour to Maharashtra and visit
its major sites offering some most splendid views. Maharashtra tour packages will
guide you through your tourism in Maharashtra and will make your travel trip to
Maharashtra comfortable and enjoyable.
On your tourism to Maharashtra, visit the splendid Gateway of India, the serene
Marine drive, the adventurous Elephanta caves, the exquisite Ajanta and Ellora and
the wild Pench National Park. Mumbai – the capital city of Mahashtra is the most
cosmopolitan city of India. This dreamland and film capital of India promises an
exhilarating tour to the tourists.
Enjoy tour to the Wildlife Sanctuaries and Parks in Maharashtra. The sylvan beauty,
salubrious climate of Wildlife Sanctuaries and Parks in Maharashtra makes for an
excellent travel trip. On your tour to Wildlife Sanctuaries and Parks watch Tigers,
Bisons, Crocodile, Gawa, Neelgai, Wild Deer, Sambar and many rare migratory birds.
Wildlife tour packages to Maharashtra offers you to indulge in a profusion of
adventurous activities. Come tour Maharshtra and explore the nature’s treasure in the
wildlife of Maharashtra.
Travel Maharashtra and tour its tranquil hill stations. The charming hill stations of
Maharashtra are set amidst the rising Western Ghats and along the coastline and offer
tourists’ numerous breath-taking sights. Matheran, Khandala, Lonavala, Panchgani,
Mahabaleshwar, Amboli and several other hill stations in Maharashtra – all promises
a mesmerizing travel trip. Plan a tour to the exotic hill stations in Maharashtra and
refresh yourself.
Travel Maharashtra and tour its numerous pilgrimage centres. Thousands of devotees
and tourists throng the sacred pilgrimage centres of Maharashtra. Pilgrimage tour
packages of Maharashtra offers tourists a divine experience, the memories of which
are cherished throughout their lives. Travel to Ashtavinayaka, Shirdi, Haji Ali, Haji
Matang, churches of Bassein and Mumbai, synagogues of Pen and Alibag; Jain and
Buddhist temples, on your tourism in Maharashtra.
Discover the wonderful beaches of Maharashtra with Maharashtra tour packages. Sun
bathe on the golden beaches of Maharashtra and indulge in exciting water sports
activities at the serene beaches of Maharashtra, while on your trip to Maharashtra.
Dahanu- Bordi, Mandwa-Kihim, Shriwardhan, Velneshwar, Vengurla- Malvan,
Marve, Manori & Gorai - Maharashtra is blessed with some of the finest beaches
which makes it an ideal travel trip.
Mumbai formerly known as Bombay is the commercial center of India. A city is
highly visited for its entrepreneurs, concrete towers, historical significance, clubs,
discos, cricket, Bollywood and more. Charles II of England has received Bombay as
dowry in 1661. A cool Mumbai tour will come with the exploration of a wide number
of renowned travel destinations of the place.
A tour to Mumbai gifts its visitors a young, fresh and rejuvenated felling thus can also
be called as the Las Vegas of India. The city never sleeps; here every night is festival
night. Mumbai is the hub of movie-linked business and thus provides corporate
visitors as well as the holidaying vacationer the right ambience and all the
supplementary facilities to cherish. Mumbai tour packages include an unfolding of all
the cities sightseeing with a lavish stay.
Sightseeing in Mumbai The Gateway of India : The Gateway of India was constructed in the year 1924 is the
greatest tourist halt of Mumbai. The Gateway of India is the monument stood
testament to British Supremacy.
Elephanta Island : Elephanta Cave Island - The Elephanta Island was the capital of the
powerful coastal kingdom and the mine of caves from 6th century. When the
Portuguese took control of the island, they named it after a monolith of an elephant.
Prince of Wales Museum : Prince of Wales Museum is one of the best museums the
country was structured in the year 1914 and surrounded by all the beautiful
landscapes of Mumbai. A wise collection of painting, art, old fire arms and rare coins
in Prince of Wales Museum makes the spot a worth destination to tour.
Marine Drive, Tours to India, India Tours, India Tour
Marine Drive : It is also known as the Netaji Subash Chandra Marg, a bustling
waterfront walkway. Every evening thousands of visitors make their cool visit to
Marine Drive to see its stunning sunset. Marine Drive runs from the Nariman point to
the foot of Malabar hill, is built on the land reclaimed along the Arabian shore.
Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus : It is the most imposing Building in Mumbai where
countries first train rolled out. It is formerly known as the Victoria Terminus and thus
there remains a statute of queen Victoria at the entrance of the terminus. It looks like a
church than a railway station.
Haji Ali Mosque : Haji Ali Mosque is placed at the end of the long walkway jutting to
the Arabian Sea. There was a white tomb of saint Haji Ali, a wealthy Muslim. Saint
Haji Ali died in Mecca and his casket amazingly drifted to the spot where the Mosque
was built.
Chowpatty Beach : It is in the heart of film city Mumbai. Chowpatty beach is a
preferred place for public meeting and rallies. Thus the spot is altered into a hub of
Jain Temple : The Jain temple is dedicated to the first apostle of Jains, Adinath. It is a
white marble building, decorated with painting and incidents from the life of
National Gallery of Modern Art : National Gallery of Modern Art has a wide range of
collection of prominent contemporary Indian arts. The National Gallery was housed in
the building of Sir Cowasji Jehangir Hall, is a travel destination of nationwide
Hanging Gardens : Hanging Garden is laid on the top of Malabar Hill provide a
magnificent view of the city. The Hanging Garden or Ferozshah Mehta is a genuine
tourist halt since 1881.
Best Time to Visit : October to March is the ideal time to visit Mumbai. Though the
place can be explored in any time of the year.
Reaching Mumbai :
Air : Mumbai is India’s the busiest International Airports and served by all major
International airlines. Mumbai is linked by all the major cities in India with frequent
daily flights.
Rail : Mumbai is connected with all the prominent cities of India by rail. Regular rail
services link Victoria Terminus and Mumbai stations to all the parts of India.
Road : Road connection of Mumbai is very smooth and effective. The place is
connected by major national Highways to almost every nook and corner of the
Gateway of India
Tadoba National Park
Located in the district of Chandrapur, the Tadoba National Park is well-known for its
tigers. It is in fact a tiger reserve also. It has a good population of lions, the emperor
of the jungle. The most famous species is the Asiatic lion. The name of this national
park is derived from the name of a local God “Taru”. According to the legends, the
supreme Taru was killed in an epic fight with a tiger. The Tadoba National Park is
rightly referred to as the 'Jewel of Vidarbha'.
Covering an area of over 650 kilometers, the Tadoba National Park is a picturesque
place to visit for the nature lovers. The king of the jungle, the bears, the leopards
inspire awe of any nature lover. Stunning wildlife, fabulous flora and fauna, and
supreme natural beauty make this place a mind blowing tourist destination. The
wildlife lovers spend the best time of their life here. It is such a nice place to visit that
many people refer it the heaven of jungle.
Wildlife in Tadoba National Park:
The Tadoba National Park shows a great variety of flora and fauna. The major flora
found in Tadoba National Park includes Salaia, Zizphus, Bamboo, Bel, Tendu, Casia,
Helicteres, species, Kauriculata, hair, Dhawda, Sal, Babul, Bija, Terminenalia Hiwar,
Palas, Teak, etc.
The fauna in Tadoba National Park is also quite remarkable. This place is famous for
the tiger and lion, the supreme power of the jungles. The other most commonly found
species include Sloth Bear, Leopard, Samber, deer, Wildbore, Four-horned antelope,
Barking deer, Jungle Fowl, Hyaena, Wild Boar, Wild Dog, Blue Bull, Chinkara, Bear,
Crocodile, etc.
Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Caves Bombay Located just 10 km away from the Gateway of India at
Mumbai are the cave temples of Elephanta island. These caves house rock cut temples
dating back to the 5th century CE. The caves of Elephanta are a great tourist attraction
in the vicinity of the Mumbai meteropolis.
Scooped out of solid rock, the Elephanta Caves date back to 600 AD, and beckon
more visitors each year than the entire city of Mumbai. No doubt, this place
reverberates with the spiritual energy of India. These rock cut temples dedicated to
Shiva Mahadeva are rich in sculptural content. The cave complex is a collection of
shrines, courtyards, inner cells, grand halls and porticos arranged in the splendid
symmetry of Indian rock-cut architecture, and detailed with exquisite stone sculptures
of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. It is situated on Gharapuri Island in Mumbai's
harbour, about an hour's boatride from the Gateway Of India. At the entrance to the
caves is the famous Trimurti, the celebrated trinity of Elephanta : they are - Lord
Brahma the Creator, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and Lord Shiva, the Destroyer.
Unfortunately, many of the sculptures inside have been damaged by iconoclastic
Portuguese rulers who took potshots at Hindu Gods with their rifles. And yet
somehow, nothing has disturbed the sublime beauty of this place for centuries.
The entire cave temple complex covers an area of about 60000 square feet and it
consists a main chamber and two lateral ones, courtyards and several subsidiary
shrines. The entire temple is akin to a huge sculpture, through whose corridors and
chambers one can walk. The entire complex was created through a process of rock
removal. Elephanta Caves Bombay
Reaching Elephant Caves Air : The nearest airport is at Mumbai.
Rail : Nearest railhead is also at Mumbai.
Road : One can reach Mumbai by road from the neighbouring states, from where one
can take a boat ride to the cave temples.
Boat : Motorboats take passengers from Appollo Bunder near the Gateway of India.
Goa Travel in India
Travel Goa, the coastal paradise popular for its silver sand beaches, cosmopolitan
lifestyle, fenni, fairs and festivals. Fairs and Festivals are a part of life in Goa. Come
& Enjoy your travel to Goa and be part of the festivity.
Tour Goa and experience the best time of your life. Travel to the charming cities of
Goa, marked with sun-kissed beaches, Latin styled red roofed houses. The cities in
Goa provides breath-taking sights to the tourists. The unique architecture of Panjim,
the old-worldly charm of Margao, the colourful bazaars, the lively culture, the tasteful
cuisine, all together mesmerizes the tourists on their tour to Goa. All the cities of Goa
are distinct in their own sense and offer an enchanting experience.
People generally visit this small state to laze around the beautiful beaches and indulge
in the water sports. Beaches of Goa are much ahead of other beaches in India in terms
of popularity and the facilities that are available here. The beautiful beaches of Goa
are the best place in India to laze around in the winters and hence thronged by
thousands during the winters.
Goa is a paradise for those who love water sport. The long coastal area offers a
wonderful opportunity to indulge in all sorts of water sport activities.
In all, the temperate climate, the bracing sea, the ampleness of sights, the wide
possibilities of water sports, the inviting surroundings and much more, makes Goa
one of the most selected tourist destinations in India.
Colva beach is situated about 40 kms from Panaji, the capital of Goa. Colva beach is
also at a distance of 2km from the Benaulim beach where tourists often go to have
some quiet moments. Tourists come to Colva beach just to laze, laze and laze. Just
gather your collection of interesting books and head for Goa's Colva beach. You can
enjoy the day reading the book with just the murmurs of the sea to disturb you. Many
tourists love to go to the Goa Colva beach to experience a change from the crowded
Anjuna or Calangute beaches. Colva beach in Goa is one beach which is generally
less crowded. There are many shacks lined up along the Colva beach which serves the
delicious Goan cuisine with some innovative cock-tails. Sit in one of those shack,
relish the mouth-watering food while looking at the vast sea in front of you
Sightseeing at Colva Beach
Nossa Senhora de Merces (Our Lady of Mercy) : Church The church is famous for its
annual religious event - Fama of Menino Jesuse (Child Jesus) - since the 17th century.
The predominantly Catholic community celebrates it on the third Monday of October
every year. It is one of Goa’s most popular feasts and a big fair is held on the
Colva BeachThe Bull Fight : From early October to late May, from 4 pm onwards,
one can see the bull fights at Benaulim. On the beat of taped Konkani music, the
bullfights are usually held in an old rice field with no fences or barricades just outside
a village.
On the Beach : While taking a stroll on the Colva Beach, silver carpets of bangdde
(mackerels) can be viewed shimmering on the golden sands for drying. Fishermen’s
motor trawlers can be seen anchored in a line offshore. Visitors are seen in colourful
dresses, coming either for a walk or ‘for a change of air’. Several tourists can be seen
having a sunbath on the golden sands. The trinket stalls and the drink stands on the
golden sands under the moonlight make the evening on the Colva Beach truly
Reaching Colva Beach :
Air : The nearest airport to reach Colva beach in Goa is at Dabolim, which is 29 km
away from Panaji and 68 km from Colva.
Rail : The nearest railway station to reach Colva beach in Goa is at Karmali, 11 km
away from Panaji. Panaji is 40 km away from Colva.
Road : One can easily reach the Colva Beach from any part of Goa, regular bus
services are available.
Anjuna is a small village in North of Goa and Anjuna Beach is located about 18 km
away from Panaji the capital of Goa. Popularly know as the Freak capital of the
World, Anjuna Beach in Goa is one of the most crowded beaches of Goa. Goa Anjuna
beIt claimed popularity for its Trance Parties and the Hippies who tried to synthesize
the spiritual traditions of the East and the art, ideas and the music of the West.
Sometime in the late 1950s to mid-1960s, the area was "discovered" by a group of
travelers, including "Eight Finger Eddie," and a small international psychedelic scene
began to meet there to party during the dry season. Ever since then, Anjuna beach
Goa has become just the right place for lazing holidaymakers.
Mascarenhas Mansion : Mascarenhas Mansion located near the Anjuna Beach is a
proud monument with rich and classic balconies. The L-shaped seat along the length
of the porch is of expensive wood. It has some of the finest stained glass floral
Wednesday Flea Market : Wednesday Flea Market Every Wednesday, at around 11
a.m., Anjuna breaks into a riot of colours. Tourists in large number starts pouring into
the beach for their best buys. You can find every thing of your choice, from a used
paperback to a haircut. The flea market at Anjuna is a heaven for hardcore shoppers
and good bargainers, to bid on wonderful blends of Tibetan, Kashmiri and Gujarati
trinkets and handicrafts, European snacks, cassettes of a noisy brand of music called
'Goa Trance', artificial ornaments carvings and T-shirts. And, if you are interested in
The Acid House Party : Anjuna is also known for its fullmoon (acid house) parties. Held for and by young tourists,
these parties attracts thousands of tourists from all around.
The trance party with dance, frolic, and merriment goes all
Anjuna Beach - Excursions : Close to the Anjuna are the
Chapora Fort and the Albuquerque Mansion. To the east is a
mountain. Visiting them are worthwhile.
Reaching Anjuna
Air : The nearest airport is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from Panaji and 47 km
from Anjuna. Rail : The nearest railway station is at Karmali 11 km away from Panaji
and 29 km from Anjuna.
Road : There are buses every hour to Anjuna from Mapusa . For tourists arriving from
Mumbai, Mapusa is the jumping-off point for the northern beaches.
Vasco da Gama, 29-km by road southwest of Panjim, sits on the narrow western tip of
the Marmagoa (also known as Mormugao) peninsula, overlooking the mouth of the
Zuari River. Acquired by the Portuguese in 1543, this strategically important site was
formerly among the busiest ports on India's west coast.
It remains a key shipping centre, with container vessels and iron ore barges clogging
the choppy river mouth, but holds nothing of interest for visitors, particularly since
the completion of the Konkan Railway, when Goa's main railhead shifted from here to
Margao. The only conceivable reason one might want to come to Vasco is to catch a
bus to Dabolim airport, of Bogmalo beach, 8-km southeast.
Sightseeing at Vasco-da-Gama –
Bogmolo Beach : The sandy beach at the end of the cove would be even more
picturesque were it not for the monstrous multi-storey edifice perched above it.
A Former Fishing Village, Today's Tourist Hangout
The village is still present at Bogmalo, complete with a tiny-whitewashed Chapel and
gangs of hogs nosing through the rubbish, but its environs have been transformed.
Pricey café-bars blaring Western music have crept up the beach, while the clearing
below the hotel is prowled by assiduous Kashmiri handicraft vendors.
Compared to other beaches of Goa, Bogmalo is still a small-scale resort. As long as
one hasn't come to Goa to get away from it all or party all night, then one'll find
Bogmalo congenial enough. The beach is clean and not too crowded, the water
reasonably safe for swimming, and there are plenty of places to eat, drink and shop.
If, on the other hand, one is looking for somewhere not yet, on the package tourist
map, one'll be better off further south, at the far end of Colva Beach or beyond.
The Naval Aviation Museum : The Naval Aviation Museum The first naval museum
in Asia was inaugurated at Dabolim, Vasco in 1998 and opened for public from the
19th October 1998. The museum showcases the history of Indian Naval Aviation,
various aircrafts, weapons, sensors, safety equipment, rare photographs depicting
Goa's liberation and artifacts. more.
Reaching Vasco-da-Gama :
Air : Dabolim, Goa's airport, lies on top of a rocky plateau, 4-km southeast of Vasco
Rail : Vasco is laid out in a grid, bordered by Marmagao bay to the north, and by the
railway line on its southern side, which is well linked to all the major cities of India.
Road : Vasco da Gama is well connected by well defined roads to all the major cities
of the neighbouring states.
Margao, the capital of the Salcete province, houses many commercial establishments.
Margao is Goa's second largest city and commercial metropolis of Salcete taluka in
South Goa. It still retains the atmosphere of Goa’s Portuguese colonial past, and is
ideally connected to the rest of the Indian by rail. Margao is the headquarters of South
Goa District and is regarded as the main commercial city of Goa. It is famous for its
ancient cultural heritage and traditional customs of the people of Goa. Margao is
known for its bazaars and restaurants, bus stands and railway stations. The
picturesque Colva beach is just 5 km away from Margao.
Sightseeing at Margao Holy Spirit Church : Places of interest in Margao are the Holy Spirit Church erected
in 1565 with the outstanding cross built in front of the church.
Jorge Barreto Park : The large rectangular 'Jorge Barreto' Park in front of the colonialstyled building with its arched corridors is a remarkable feature, worth seeing.
Market of Margao : Margao's famous market presents the agricultural produce of the
entire South Goa. The most notable of these is the 'Sat Burnzam Ghor', which
originally had seven roofs. Thsi is one very ideal place to know about the market
culture of Goa.
Monte ChurchMonte Church : The 'Monte Church' situated on a little promontory is
another attraction worth visiting here. This place is an ideal point to get a bird's eyeview of the city below and the Arabian Sea, beyond.
Other Attractions : Chandreshwar Bhutnath Temple and the Rachol Seminary are also
worth visiting in Margao.
Reaching Margao :
Rail : Margao's new Train station, the only stop in Goa for quite a few long distance
express services on the Konkan Railway, lies 3 kms south of the town centre.
Road : Local private buses to Colva and surrounding villages make stops at various
places inside the town. Long distance buses to Panaji, Vasco and destinations outside
Goa, stop and leave from the main Kadamba Bus Stand, 3 km away on the outskirts of
the town.
Nightlife in Goa
Goa NightlifeThough, Nightlife is not so popular in India, it is very much accepted in
Goa, which bears much of the Portuguese culture and tradition. One time Portuguese
Colony, Goa is the best place in India to visit, if you love to fun & frolic through out
the day and the night. Nightlife in Goa is exciting and there are many ways to spark
up the evening.
The people of Goa are fun lovers and it is very common to find families going out for
a night of fun & merriment. There are places where, almost every third house has a
bar-cum-restaurant. The place may not be anything very special, usually just a room
in the house that has been opened to the public with a couple of chairs and a table. But
the atmosphere is excellent - totally relaxing and extremely favourable to an enjoyable
night out with friends and family. Most of the places serve exquisite seafood and
other Goan delicacies and have well stocked bars. Titos, which is right on the beach in
Goa are the hottest place to visit and to be seen at in Goa today. There's also a new
discotheque 'The Beachotheque' where you can dance the night away. You can also
check out Lidos in Dona Paula. But, if you are in the mood to dance to the tempo of
the ocean, get together with your group of friends, some food and drink and hit the
beach. No doubt, you will surely have a special night with the shimmering sand, the
soothing moon and the bracing waves!
Discos / Night Clubs in Goa THE ALCOVE :Over Looking Ozran Vagator Beach (Open Till Midnight)
TEMPTATIONS :Red Cab Inn, Below Starco's Crossroads, Vagator Beach (Open Till
TITO'S :Baga Beach (Open Till 10.00 pm)
ZIGGY'S :Colva Beach (Open Till 10.00 pm)
JOHNNY COOL'S :Colva Beach (Open Till 10.00 pm)
MEN MAR :On the Vasco Road Serves: Snacks, Beers & Lasis (Open Till 10.30 pm)
LIDO'S :At Dona Paula Beach (Open Till 10.30 pm)
Casinos in Goa
If you keep interest in Casinos then there are numerous in Goa, which are open
through out the night. Some even provide snacks and drinks in between.
Casinos in Goa
CHANCES :Cidade De Goa resort, Dona Paula Beach, Near Panjim
LAS VEGAS :Leela beach, Mabor, South Goa Candolim Beach, Off Main Road
Bars & Pubs SHORES BAR : Anjuna Beach, (Open Till 11.00 pm)
GURU BAR :Anjuna Beach, Near Shores Bar, (Open Till Midnight)
PETE'S BAR : Calangute Beach (Open Till 10.00 pm)
ANGELA P. FERNANDES :Calangute Beach (Open Till 10.00 pm)
BOB'S INN :Between Calangute & Candolim (Open Till 10.00 pm)
DYLAN'S BAR : Palolem Beach (Open Till Midnight)
FOUND THINGS : A Bar Cum Restaurant, Palolem Beach (Open Till Midnight)
CLISHER : North of GTDC Tourist Resort, Behind Baga Beach Specialty: Fresh
Seafood, Breakfasts Specials And Cold Beer
DINKY : Beside the steps to the Baga Beach Specialty: Standard Seafood and Beer
BOM SUCCESSO : Candolim Beach on the Fort Aguada Road
FLORENTINE : Saligao, Off the Calangute-Sangolda-Porvorim Road, Near Villa
PALM AND SAND : Sinquerim beach, Off Fort Aguada Main Road
PLANTER'S : Calangute, Just before Main Market Square
RONIL ROYALE : Baga Beach, On Calangute-Baga Road
SOUZA LOBO : On the Calangute Beach Front
TAMARIND TREE : Dom Francisco In Candolim Beach, On Main SinquerimCalangute Road
TATOPHANIE :Baga Beach, On Calangute-Baga Road
ALEX :Baga Beach, End of Road
Goa BarsBRITTO'S : Baga Beach, End of Road
CASA PORTUGUESA : Baga Beach, On Calangute-Baga Road
DROP ANCHOR : Baga Beach, End of Road
INFANTARIA PASTELARIA : Near St John's Chapel, Calangute-Baga Road
LAFREMICH : Capt Lobo's Beach Hideaway, Baga Beach
ST ANTHONY'S : Baga Beach, End of Road Specialty: Good seafood.
TITO'S :Baga Beach, Off Calangute-Baga Road
21 COCONUTS : Candolim Beach, On the Main Road
ZAPPA BEACH SHACK : Candolim Beach, Off Main Road
Goa Party
GoaParties are a part of life in Goa. When we talk about Goa, its hard to forget the
parties of Goa. The Goa Parties are the most enthralling and compelling of activities,
one can enjoy while one is in Goa. The rave parties or the trance parties of Goa are
world famous, which are enjoyed by people from all the parts of the world. Tourist
come to Goa to be part of these parties which are more than any get together.
Rave (Trance) Parties in Goa
Rave parties in Goa are a major tourist attraction. Rave Parties in Goa are the most
popular entertainment forms, which tourists from all around the world love to enjoy.
Goa rave parties are famous parties through out the world. The origin of rave parties
in Goa can be traced back to the 1960's, which began with an inflow of hippies.
Earlier, thousands of foreigners and hippies crowded Goa's beaches in drugged and
drunken state, who thronged the beaches and partied the night away.
But, today the nature of these rave parties has changed and has generated a new king
of music called Goa Trance, which is played through the nights. "Trance Parties" that
spawned the music called Goa-Trance since the mid-nineties, if not earlier, have
become a big fashion among young foreign tourists in regions of the North Goa
coastal belt. Now elite kids from Mumbai and Delhi or elsewhere are joining the beeline to these beach events. Goa is an outgrowth of techno that is characterised by
multi-layered fused lines and sub-bass rhythms. Rave parties are held every night
around the time of New Year and Christmas, and have been under control ever since
Goa Tourism decided to promote up market tourism over backpackers in Goa. Rave
parties are full of dance, music and fun, and can be engaging pass times for tourists.
So if you want some fun and entertainment of your own, get on a bike and ride off
into the night in Goa. But, don't forget to stay away from drugs.
Southern Zone
The South India tour provides a wide range of tourism place. The fascinating places
of south India include the fabulous hill stations and temples. Also, the tourists can
witness the wildlife in the southern parts of India. The monuments in south India has
never failed to allure the travelers, since time immortal. Madras is a bustling
cosmopolitan city, which adds feathers of beauty to the southern parts of India.
During the south India tour, the tourists can witness the exotic beaches of the Goa and
Kerala. There are many resorts that ensure comfortable stay while enjoying holidays
in these beaches.
Kerala Travel
Welcome to Kerala – the tropical paradise and often referred as the ‘God’s own
country’. Travel to Kerala, located in the southwestern tip of the Indian peninsula is
one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Kerala is bound by the Arabian
Sea on the west, Karnataka on the North and Northeast, and Tamil Nadu on the east.
The Malabar Coast of India is the site of Kerala location. Geographical Kerala is a
part of the coastal belt with the hill ranges known as the Western Ghats running along
the length of Kerala. Kerala has a coastal belt with sandy beaches and palm fringed
shores. The seaside Kerala location, makes it a pleasant holiday destination, with
sunny beaches and serene backwaters. The hill ranges of Kerala have hill stations,
wildlife sanctuaries, tea estates and spice plantations. Geographical Kerala exhibits
diversity in climate within the compact Kerala location on the Malabar Coast of India.
Geographical Kerala is a tropical region, with weather being pleasant for most of the
year. Humidity increases during the monsoon season. The location of Kerala gives it
an unique climatic and geographic features.
On your tour Kerala, take up a travel ride to the tranquil Kerala backwaters or take a
tour of Kerala’s palm-fringed beaches. Serene yet enjoyable, the emerald backwaters
of Kerala are best explored on the traditional thatch-roofed houseboats. Travel to the
panoramic cities of Kerala or visit the lush green tea gardens or wildlife sanctuaries of
Kerala and discover the true colours of nature’s beauty. Travel to nature-bounty land
of Kerala for an experience to savour for lifetime.
The truly magical Kerala is also the best destination to undergo Ayurveda treatments.
Travel to Kerala to rejuvenate and relax yourself and make your tourism in Kerala a
complete satisfaction. Tour the captivating cities of Kerala with Kerala tour packages
on your tourism to Kerala.
Rejuvenate your senses and indulge in natural therapy treatments on your tour to
Kerala. Explore the nature’s wonders with tour packages of Kerala.
Travel to magnificent wildlife sanctuaries and parks in Kerala. Characterized by rich
flora and fauna, Kerala wildlife sanctuaries and parks are nature lover’s paradise.
Watch some rare animals and migratory birds while touring Kerala’s wildlife
sanctuaries and parks. Periyar, Idukki, Thekkady or Kumarakom, each wildlife
sanctuary is unique in its own sense and all are worth visiting while travelling Kerala.
A trip to Kerala will offer you breathtaking surroundings, pristine backwaters and
beaches of immense natural beauty. Travel to the fascinating Kerala, experience the
pampering Ayurveda health treatment in Kerala and explore the tranquil Kerala
backwaters and other cultural attractions of Kerala. Kerala tour packages offer tourists
a range of tour packages and guides them in their quest to delve the
nature’s wonders.
Kerala Backwaters
Kerala backwaters play a predominant role in the industry of Kerala
tourism. Kerala is overwhelming with the natural beauties thus a
famous travel destination all through out the year. Kerala backwaters
can be said as the best blessing of nature. The backwaters shores are the
famous picnic spot for enchanters. Kerala backwaters have a wide
network of exquisite channels, lakes, deltas and lagoons of near about
44 rivers in the Arab sea. The only means of the transportation to these backwaters is
Kerala has more than 900 km-interlinked waterways, rivers, lakes, and inlets that
comprise of Kerala backwaters. The Kerala backwater tour includes a cool unfolding
of all historic and modern town and the natural gateways of Kerala. The lake
Vembanad is the largest backwaters of Kerala stretches about 83 kms. The backwaters
of Kerala are the lines between the interior ground and the sea. To explore the beauty
of backwaters the visitors are suggested to take a rented boat that will move in a
standard speed.
Major backwater Regions
Kuttanad : Kuttanad a popular Kerala backwater spot also known as “Rice Bowl of
Kerala” is categorized by its green landscape. Kuttanad is crisscrossed waterway that
runs with the bright green fields of paddy, the fields of cassava, yam and banana. The
attracting feature of Kuttanad backwaters is that many of these meadows lays below
the sea level.
Kollam : Kollam is placed just 70 km from Kerala’s Capital Triruvananthapuram. It is
a majestic harbor on the Shore of Ashtamudi Lake. This enthusiastic journey from
Kollam to Alappuzha needs a minimum of eight hours. Kollam is popular among the
travelers as the "Gateway to Kerala’s Backwaters".
Vembanad Lake : Vembanad Lake of Kerala is one of the largest freshwater lakes of
Asia. It is a huge reservoir and a prime ecological resource wrapped by dense green
vegetation. Vembanad Lake is a fascinating holiday destination offers its visitors a
wild opportunity of boating and fishing.
Alleppey (Alappuzha) : Alleppey or Alappuzha is better known as the “Venice of the
East” for its outstanding waterways and canals. Actually the earlier name of
Alappuzha was Alleppey, popular for organizing Nehru Trophy Snake Boat every
Triruvananthapuram : Triruvananthapuram the latest name of Trivandrum is the
capital of Kerala. The visitors are lured with the historic and modern attractions of
Triruvananthapuram with Kerala Backwaters. This spot can also be said as the
starting dot of Kerala Backwaters destinations.
Kumarakom : Kumarakom is a renowned Backwater destination of Kerala placed in
the majestic Vembanad Lake. The refection of blue backwater of Kumarakom and the
surface of Vembanad Lake is enchanting and able to garb thousands of tourist
attention every month. Kumarakom is the perfect vacation spot needs a calm
exploration while unfolding Kerala Backwaters.
Kottayam : Kottayam is a fascinating Backwater purpose of Kerala affluent with all
the sightseeing of churches and temples. Kottayam is wrapped with some innate
beauties of nature. Where the visitors will be amazed to see the scenery enfolded
around Kottayam on his tour to Kerala Backwater. The tourist of Kottayam
Backwaters has also some other remains to grab as the ruins of old palaces made by
the ruler of Kottayam.
Best seasons to visit : The most favorable time to unfold the Kerala Backwaters is
from October to March. The visitors can also make their calm exploration to Kerala
Backwaters in any time of the year.
Shop in the nearby areas : The
handicrafts as bell metal goods, coir
and masks are worth buying stuffs
normally get back to home with a
carved wooden elephant souvenirs, assorted
goods, sandalwood brass, conch case, painting
of Kerala. The visitors of Kerala Backwaters
plentiful memorable stuff with an everlasting
Kerala Houseboat Cruise
Since ancient times Kerala has used its lake and canals as a water network for
transporting men and material. Being aboard a houseboat is a tranquil, stressless
adventure where you will see the beautiful Kerala keep passing by. The cruise down
the mystical backwaters of Kerala is indisputably an experience of a lifetime.
The Kerala Houseboat Features –
Beside being an cultural heritage, the houseboats of Kerala offer an innovative
holiday idea. The country houseboat in Kerala is referred to as 'Kettuvallam'. These
eco-friendly houseboats are made from local materials like bamboo poles, coconut
fibre, ropes, bamboo mats, carpets etc. Usually houseboats are the giant country crafts
that are as long as 60 to 70 feet.
While aboard the houseboat in Kerala you may enjoy the facilities of a star
categorised hotel. Basically the houseboats are well appointed with an open lounge,
one or more bath attached bedrooms and a kitchenette. A Kerala houseboats are
generally manned by a crew, consisting of a cook, guide and oarsman. Lazing and
relaxing on the sun decks is one of the most popular activities on the houseboats in
Kerala. Traditional lanterns take up the place of electricity on the houseboats in
Kerala. On the houseboats you may enjoy the serene surroundings along with
savouring the traditional specialities of Kerala. Fresh seafood adds to the sumptuous
meals available on the houseboats.
Kerala Houseboats On the Way You Will See –
A boat ride into the countryside offers a close look at rustic village life- skifffishermen launching their cockleshell boats, large flocks of domesticated ducks
waddling down to the water from thatched houses on the banks. Women, neck-deep in
water, with their waist-length hair heaped in a crown, catching fish with their feet,
aimless cattle grazing in lush pastures, white lotuses floating here and there in small,
shallow ponds.
The tourists on the houseboats may relive the authentic life in the villages of Kerala.
These houseboats or the taxis on the backwaters of Kerala pass through several towns
and villages of Kerala. The Vembanad Lake forms the largest backwater stretch in
Kerala. You may enjoy Alappuzha, Kottayam and Kochi on the houseboat while
enjoying backwaters of Kerala. Altogether, Houseboats in Kerala are great options for
short breaks and getaways.
Tamil Nadu Travel
Surrounded by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in the north and Kerala in the west,
Tamil Nadu is a picturesque land known for its beauty, spread so lavishly here and
there. The eastern and western tips of the state are defined by the Point Calimere and
Mududmalai wildlife sanctuaries while northern extreme is Pulicat Lake and the
southernmost tip ends in Kanyakumari.
Travel to Tamil Nadu – Eden of tourism delight. The beautiful beaches, the
magnificent temples, picturesque wildlife sanctuaries, colourful festivals and a
plethora of panoramic sites make Tamil Nadu tourism an enthralling experience.
Tamil Nadu is the magnificent land of temples and a paradise for all art-lovers. A
blend of ancient and modern world, Tamil Nadu offers you myriad of breathtaking
sights. Tour Tamil Nadu and relish its natural beauty.
Travel to Kerela and have an enthralling experience. Tour to the land of 1000 temples,
Madurai – home of the majestic Meenakshi temple. From the charming hill stations of
Ooty and Kodaikanal to the stunning rock carvings of Mahabalipuram – Tamil Nadu
is an awesome place with salubrious climate and the architectural excellence of the
temples and monuments. Travel Tamil Nadu with Tamil Nadu tour packages and visit
the captivating cities of Tamil Nadu and relish the magnificence of the temples and
beaches here.
Travel to the breathtakingly beautiful beaches of Tamil Nadu. Known for their vast
stretch of creamy sand, shimmering clear blue water and numerous surfing
opportunities, the beaches of Tamil Nadu will make your tour an enchanting
experience. Marina Beach, Kanyakumari Beach, Mahabalipuram Beach,
Rameshwaram Beach or Covelong Beach are bestowed with spectacular view of the
sun-rise and sun-set and attracts innumerable tourists from all over the world. Travel
to Tamil Nadu and tour its alluring beaches which are ideal for tan-seekers and
adventure lovers.
Travel to the ecologically rich wildlife sanctuaries & parks of Tamil Nadu. The
wildlife of Tamil Nadu is fascinatingly varied and diverse with rich flora and fauna.
Rejuvenate your adventurous spirits on tour to the wild Tamil Nadu. Discover the
fascinating mysteries of nature with a wildlife tour package of Tamil Nadu. Travel to
Anmalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, Kalakadu Wildlife
Sanctuary, Mundanthurai Tiger Sanctuary, Kunthakulam Bird Sanctuary, Mudumalai
Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary and The
Viralimalai Sanctuary on your wildlife tour to Tamil Nadu.
Besides, Tamil Nadu is a land of myriad colourful festivals. The grandeur and
festivity would surely make your tour to Tamil Nadu delightful. The festivals of
Tamil Nadu are a unique experience and a visual treat for tourists travelling Tamil
Plan a tour to Tamil Nadu and travel to numerous temples, beautiful beaches, diverse
wildlife sanctuaries and a profusion of other monuments. From the Meenakshi
Temple to Rock Fort Temple; from Ooty to Chennai; from Marina Beach to Covelong
Beach; from Bharatnatyam to Kanjeevaram Sarees – Travel to Tamil Nadu is truly
Ooty, also known as Ootacamund or Udhagamandalam, which lies 7,349 ft above sea
level in the Nilgiris, is known as the Queen of southern hill resorts of India. Situated
in the Nilgiris, this famous hill station is at the junction of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and
Karnataka, three southern states of India.Ooty, as it is popularly known, spreads over
an area of 36 sq miles, and the temperature ranges from 25 degree celsius in summers,
to near freezing in winters. It offers spectacular scenic beauty and salubrioud climate.
The lush vegetation and the lavender-blue sheen of the mountains here offer a
promising and peaceful rejuvenating summer.
Sightseeing at Ooty :
Botanical Gardens : Laid out in 1847, the Government Botanical Gardens is the most
beautiful jewel on the crown of the "Queen of Hill Stations". There are over 650
species of plants housed in the garden. The fossil of a tree trunk believed to be 20
million years old is preserved here. The garden spread over 22 hectares possess lush
green lawns, six sections comprising varieties of tree species, variety of ferns,
fashioned beds, an Italian formal garden, flowering plants, house ferns, orchids and
Ooty Lake View : The lake is another major attraction and boating is very popular
here. The artificial lake, shimmering under the gentle sun is a popular site for the
tourists. Pony rides are available along the road skirting of the lake.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary : Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary offers a leisurely ride
on elephant-back through its forest trails, with a view of varied flora and fauna, as
well as ever-changing symphonies of birdsong.
Botanical Gardens - Ooty Art Gallery : It is situated about 2 km from Ooty on way to
Mysore. The Art Gallery has various collections of contemporary paintings, items of
tribal objects, district's ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts
of Tamilnadu.
Nasiyan Jain Temple : Nasiyan Jain Temple is located on Prithvi Raj Road and
devoted to the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabhdeoji. The temple is greatly revered by
the Digambar sect of Jains. There is a museum alongside the temple. The construction
of the temple began in 1864 and opened to the public in 1895.
Best Season to Visit : Through out the year.
Reaching Ooty
Air : Coimbatore, 105 km from Ooty, is the nearest airport. Indian Airlines has flight
to Coimbatore from Bangalore, Cochin and Chennai. The Blue Mountain Express to
Ooty is from Mettupalayam (47 km).
Rail : Mettupalayam at a distance of 40 kms is the nearest railhead. Ooty has its own
railhead at a distance of 8 kms, which receives only toy trains.
Road : All the important towns of Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka are connected to
Ooty by road.
Chennai, (formerly Madras) the first city of Tamil Nadu, is a comparatively a new
city. The erstwhile villages of Mylapore, Triplicane, Ezhambur (Egmore) etc. all now
a part of Chennai, have a recorded historical past centuries older than Chennai.
Chennai, the present gateway to the South of India, is itself, however, only about 350
years old.
Chennai, the fourth largest city in India, is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. The
city has a decidedly colonial charm to it. The place has a fine manifestation of
tradition and modernity. Among the many attractions of the city is the Madras Snake
Park where over 500 species of snakes and reptiles are on display.
Sightseeing at Chennai Marina Beach : This expansive beach is Chennai's most famous tourist attraction. In
Chennai, this is one ideal place for a laid back holidays. The beach is thronged
through out the year by several thousand tourists, both domestic and international.
The composed climate, the whispering sea, the shimmering sun and the soft sand are
all that will make you beach holidays perfect.
Kapaleeshwar Temple : This ancient shrine dedicated to Shiva is centrally located and
among the area’s most popular landmarks. Lord Siva once pinched off one of the
heads of Brahma to arrest his pride. A crestfallen Brahma came to this place, installed
a Siva Lingam and did penance. The Lingam is known as Kapaleeswarar. This temple
is known for a panacea from many troubles.
Detail of Kapaleeshwara TempleNational Art Gallery : Tenth century paintings,
religious statues and relics occupy one building while the other contains mostly
modern works. Located in Egmore, the National Art Gallery is housed in a building
built in 1906 in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The building itself is a work
of art and was originally intended to be the Victoria Memorial and Technical Institute
but was made the National Art Gallery in 1951. On exhibition are 10th and 13th
century bronzes, 16th and 18th century Rajasthani and Mughal paintings, 17th century
Deccani paintings and 11th and 12th century Indian handicrafts.
Fort St. George : Built by the British East India Company in 1640, this walled
military structure contains numerous important landmarks. This is one very striking
structure of Chennai, a must visit.
Best Season to Visit : Through out the year, but best is between October and March.
Reaching Chennai Air : Chennai has domestic as well as international airports. The Kamaraj Domestic
Airport and the Anna International Airport are located at Tirusulam, at a distance of
20 km from the city.
Rail : The city of Chennai is also well connected to all the major cities in India
through a wide network of railways. The main railheads are Madras Central and
Road : The city of Chennai is also well connected to all the major cities in Tamil
Nadu and other neighboring states through an excellent road network.
Kanyakumari Tours
Referred to by the British as Cape Commorin, Kanyakumari in the state of Tamil
Nadu is located at the southern most tip of the peninsular Indian. The small temple
dedicated to Kanyakumari, or the youthful form of the primeval energy Shakti
(Mother Goddess) is located on the seashore, in the town known by the same name.
Kanyakumari is the point of confluence of three oceans - the Bay of Bengal, the
Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. This well-known Hindu pilgrimage center, is
famous for its beautiful sights of sunrise and sunset over the waters.
Kumari Amman
Located on the shore, the Kumari Amman or the Kanyakumari Temple is dedicated to
a manifestation of Parvati, the virgin goddess who did penance to obtain Lord Shiva's
hand in marriage. The temple and the ghat, beautifully situated overlooking the shore,
draws tourist from all over the world. The diamond nose-ring of the deity is famous
for its sparkling splendour.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Erected in 1970, this memorial is dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, the greatest social
reformer and saint of modern India. Swamy Vivekananda had meditated on the rock
where the memorial stands today at the end of 1892 before his departure for Chicago
to participate in the World Religius' Conference in 1893. A meditation hall also
adjoins the memorial.
Gandhi Memorial
Gandhi Memorial, built in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, this is the spot where the
urn containing the Mahatma's ashes was kept for public viewing before immersion. In
the shape of a central Indian Hindu temples, the memorial was so designed that the
first rays of the sun fall on the exact place where the pot was kept.
Best time to visit : October to March
Reaching Kanyakumari
Air : The nearest airport is at Trivandrum (80 km). It is directly connected with
Bangalore, Mumbai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, and Chennai by regular flights.
Tours to Kanyakumari Rail : Kanyakumari is connected to Trivandrum, Delhi, and
Mumbai by broad-gauge railway network. Tirunelvelli (80 km) is the other nearest
railway junction and can be reached by road via Nagarkoil (19 km).
Road : Kanyakumari is connected by road to Trivandrum (86 km), Nagarkoil (19 km),
Tirunelvelli (91 km), Tiruchendur (89 km), Tuticorin (129 km), Rameshwaram (300
km), Courtallam (130 km), Madurai (242 km), Thekkady (358 km), Kodaikanal (362
km), Palani (370 km), Ootacamund (576 km), Cochin (309 km), and Coimbatore (478
Lakshadweep Island
The Lakshadweep island lie on the Arabian Sea. A timeless undiscovered treasure
comprising 36 reefs and coral atolls - untouched and unspoilt. Very little is known
about them and this adds to the sense of adventure for visitors.
The first glimpse of the island is about one and half hours flight from Cochin airport
to the mainland Agatti. Everything you expect of a tropical paradise is here: Deserted
sandy beaches, stretches of coconut palm trees, endless sunshine and above al the
clear blue waters of the coral lagoons.
Sightseeing at Lakshadweep
Kavaratti : About 404 kms. from Cochin, Kavaratti is a beautiful calm lagoon and
forms an ideal spot for water sports, swimming and basking on warm sandy beaches.
The Ajara and Jamnath mosques (of the 52 on the island) have the best woodcarving
and the former has a particularly good ceiling carved out of driftwood.
Kalpeni : Kalpeni is at a distance of about 287 kms. from Cochin. It is known for its
scenic beauty with the small islets called Tilakkam & Pitti and an uninhabited island
on the north called Cheriyam. A striking feature of Kalpeni atoll is the huge storm
bank of coral debris along the eastern & southeastern shoreline. Here, one can swim,
reef-walk or water sports on kayaks, sail boat and pedal boat.
Agatti : Agatti is about 459 kms. from Cochin. It is 6 kms. long and 1000 meters wide
at the broadest point. Agatti presents a breathtaking spectacle of amazing coral reefs,
turquoise blue lagoons, silvery beaches and lush green coconut palms that sway to the
rhythm of the sea. There are facilities for Kayaking, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving,
Excursions on Glass-bottomed Boats, Sail boats and Fishing trips.
Kadmat : Kadmat is about 407 kms. from Cochin. Land area of Kadmat is 8 Km long
and 550 m wide at the broadest point. The best attractions at Kadmat are the long
sandy beaches and the sand banks on the southern tip for sunbath. The place is ideal
for a real holiday that brings you away from the busy crowd, hustle and bustle of city
Bangaram : Bangaram is located at a distance of 459 kms. from Cochin. An
undomesticated island, Bangaram is one of the islands open to foreign tourists. It has
been ranked among the best hideaways of the world. The teardrop-shaped island has
superb beaches and beautiful lagoons. There are numerous adventures like scuba
diving, snorkelling and deep sea fishing in which you can engage yourself.
Minicoy : Located 398 kms. from Cochin. Minicoy is the southern most island in
Lakshadweep. It is about 10.6 kms. long, the second largest island, the first being
Andrott. Half moon shaped, it has one of the largest lagoons. Viringili is the small
islet seen to the south of Minicoy.
Reaching Lakshadweep : This place is well connected by Air from
Cochin(International Airport). Indian Airlines operates its daily flight to Agatti except
Sundays. The flight details are as follows. IC 502 COCHIN/AGATTI 0800 HRS/0935
Climate : From 27 to 32 degree celsius during September to March. From 30 to 33
degree celsius in April and May. The monsoon period is from 15 may to 15
Entry Permit :
All tourists require to obtain a entry permit to get in the island and to obtain the
permission one has to furnish the following details at the time of booking. Full Name
as mentioned in the passport.
Passport Details.
Date and place of issue of the passport.
Date of Expiry.
LakshadweepPermanent Address.
Date and Place of Birth.
Note: One has to spend a night at Cochin to get entry permit to Lakshadweep if one
lands in Cochin only but if one is touching Delhi anytime before coming to
Lakshadweep then the permit can also be obtained from Delhi and in that case one
does not have to stay overnight in Cochin just to get the permit. The office remains
opens from Monday to Friday every week.
Karnataka Travel
Travel to Karnataka is a land of fragrance - fragrance of enchanting perfume of sandal
and agarbathis, the aroma of fresh roasted coffee beans, the head fragrance of the
Mysore Mallige and thousands of roses blossoming. The Kannada-speaking state of
Karnataka formerly known as Mysore, has a finely balanced mix of natural attractions
and superb historic architecture.
Situated in the southern part of India, the province of Karnataka spreads over the
Deccan Plateau. At 300B.C., it had formed the southern tip of Mauryan empire. Its
boundaries enlarged or receded swaying to the drum beats of history & today it
accounts for a sixteenth area of India & has a population of about 45 million. Its
language is Kannada & its people are known as kannadigas. The three distinct regions
are a narrow coastal area along Arabian Sea; high hills, the Western Ghats; &
sprawling plains towards the east.
Tour Karnataka in South India that offers you a lot in terms of tourist attractions such
as landscaped gardens, the world famous Jog falls, the Mysore Palace, the stone
temples located in Belur, the beaches in Malpe and Karwar and a lot more.
Travel to Karnataka known for its ancient and medieval heritage, which is still
reflected in the South Indian temple architecture. The central and southern area of the
state is known for its medieval architecture with liberal influences from Islamic
architectural styles. Sravanabelgola is an important Jain pilgrimage center, visited by
thousands of pilgrims every year.
Enjoy the fairs and festivals of Karnataka that celebrate life in all its infinite variety.
Most of them are exclusive to the state and reverberate with colur and gaiety. Every
hamlet and village, every town and city has its own calendar of events to be
In order to make the travel tour to Karnataka even more joyful, choose just the right
kind of accommodation ends in the various cities of Karnataka. You may take your
pick from a range of luxury and budget hotels in Karnataka besides the star
categorized accommodation hotels around the landmarks of Karnataka offer
panoramic view of the landmarks through their suites.
Bangalore Tour
Bangalore is the principal administrative, cultural, commercial and industrial centre
of the state of Karnataka. The city, which is spread over an area of 2190 sq km, enjoys
a pleasant and equable climate throughout the year. It is now home to more than 250
high-tech companies. Including homegrown giants like Wipro and Infosys. The
continuos technology boom has made Bangalore the Silicon Valley of India.
Also known as the Garden City of India, Bangalore is a beautiful city filled with the
tranquillity of its greenery. The Lalbagh garden is particularly beauliful and well laid
out. It has one of the largest collections of exotic Indian Tropical and Sub-tropical
vegetation, Lakes and Lotus-filled pools. Cubbon park, Bull temple, Mysore arts &
crafts centre are worth visiting.
Sightseeing at Bangalore :
Vidhana Soudha : An imposing edifice housing the State Legislature and the
Secretariat of Karnataka, this is one of the best-known landmarks of Bangalore.
Tipu’s Palace : Built in 1791, Tipu Sultan’s summer retreat is a two-storied ornate
wooden structure with fluted pillars, cusped arches and balconies. It now houses a
museum that contains artefacts relating to the Hyder-Tipu regime.
Bangalore Tour - Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace Bangalore Palace : Modelled on the
lines of the Windsor Castle in England, the Bangalore Palace flaunts turreted parapets,
battlements, fortified towers and arches. Entry to the palace is restricted.
Lalbagh Gardens : Take a stroll in this 240-acre park, which is home to India’s largest
collection of rare tropical and sub-tropical plants, as well as many centuries-old trees.
It contains one of Kempegowda’s watch towers, a surreal lawn surrounded by Snow
White and the Seven Dwarfs, an ornamental clock, a beautiful lake, a topiary park, a
charming wooden bandstand and a glasshouse modelled on London’s Crystal Palace.
Cubbon Park : Cubbon Park provides Bangaloreans with over 300 acres of sprawling
greenery in the heart of the city. The park houses the State Library, an impressive, red
Gothic structure, and is dotted with fountains, statues, flowering trees and shady
Government Museum : Acclaimed as one of the oldest museums in the country, this
museum houses an amazing collection of archaeological objects, including stone
carvings, pottery, weapons, paintings, coins, textiles, sculptures, inscriptions, stone
carvings and weapons.
Gavi Gangad Hareshwara Temple : Built during Kempegowda’s reign, this unique
cave temple contains a granite moon; sun-disc monoliths; a stone umbrella; a
Shivalinga; and three cave passages. Every year, during Makara Sankranthi, this cave
temple witnesses a strange phenomenon when a ray of light passes precisely through
the horns of the stone bull outside the temple and illuminates the deity inside the cave.
Bangalore Tour - Glass House at Lalbagh Botanical Gardens Best Season to Visit :
Through out the year.
Reaching Bangalore Air : Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad,
Madras,Mumbai, Trivandrum.
Rail : Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Guwahati, Madras, Mysore, Delhi, Trivandrum.
Road : Bangalore is well connected to all the major cities of India by road.
Mysore in the south Indian state of Karnataka is a city of palaces, gardens, shady
avenues and sacred temples and retains some of the old world charms with its many
institutions that propagate Carnatic Classical music and dance. Mysore city was the
capital of the old royal Mysore province. The word Mysore expands to
"Mahishasurana Ooru" which means the town of Mahishasura. The story goes that the
demon Mahishasura was killed by godess Chamundeshwari atop the Chamundi hill
near Mysore, from which it derived its name. Ever since, the Mysore royal family
have worshipped Chamundeshwari as the palace deity. Hills dedicated to her stand at
the eastern end of Mysore town today.
Sightseeing at Mysore
Chamundi Hills : Situated at the top of 1,100 ft high Chamundi Hills, is the temple
dedicated to the Goddess Chamundeshwari, the royal family's patron deity. One may
reach the temple either through a 13 km drive or climb the 1,000 stone steps. Near the
temple is the gigantic statue of Mahishasura, the demon that had been killed by the
Goddess Durga. Midway up along the stone steps, is the 300 year old 4.8 m
monolithic statue of Nandi Bull, chosen mount of Lord Shiva. Its main attraction is its
size and the amazing craftsmanship of its ornaments - from its delicate anklets to the
awesome pendant bell around its neck.
Srirangapatnam : 15 km from Mysore, Srirangapatnam has many captivating sites
including the summer palace of Tipu Sultan, which was built in 1784 in the IndoSaracenic architecture. It also boasts a small museum displaying Tipu's trivia such as
a gold-embroidered tunic, old paintings and a coin collection. Then, there is Gumbaz,
the mausoleum of Tipu Sultan and his father, Hyder Ali. Another famous place to
visit is Jami Masjid. The slender minarets of this mosque are visible from several
Brindavan Gardens : Brindavan Gardens has watercourses bordering the wellmanicured steps of these world famous terrace gardens. Musical fountains with soft
coloured lights are sites of attraction here.
Chamundi Temple - Mysore Lalitha Mahal Palace : The snow-white Lalitha Mahal,
the guesthouse of Wodeyar rulers was built in the 1930s. The attraction of the palace
is a staircase of Italian marble branching off from a landing to reach the first floor
hall. Now, converted into a prestigious hotel of the India Tourism Development
Corporation, Lalitha Mahal is surrounded by lush green lawns and stately trees.
Mysore Palace : Built in & around 1897 AD in Saracenic style, the Mysore Palace is a
find composition of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. Designed by an English
architect, the palace was built in place of an earlier palace burnt down in 1897 and
was completed in 1912. The entire palace is tastefully shaped with massive gray
granite stones, beautiful and colourful gem stones, paintings etc. There is a temple
within the royal courtyard, from where the Dussehra procession starts in the month of
October. The museum of the palace houses a collection of musical instruments,
children's toys, many paintings, costumes and weapons belonging to the Maharaja's
Best Season to Visit : Through out the year.
Reaching Mysore
Air : The nearest airport is in Bangalore, 140 km from Mysore, which has daily flights
to most of the important cities in India.
Rail : Mysore is well connected with regular trains to most of the metros like Delhi,
Mumbai, and Chennai. The railway station is almost 2 km from the city center.
Road : Mysore has a good network of roads connecting it to the other important cities
of the region.
Andhra Pradesh
Travel to Andhra Pradesh - the Kohinoor of India. Andhra Pradesh is the fifth largest
state of India, irrigated by the Godavari rivers and is aptly termed the Rice Granary of
India. Andhra Pradesh is renowned for its legendary nawabi dynasties, for the
magnificent Tirupati Temple, rich literature, vibrant Kuchipudi dance and colourful
Andhra Pradesh - an intricately woven tapestry of a culturally rich past with a brilliant
future, and a present that reflects what has gone by and what is going to be. No
wonder then, it’s the most captivating tourist destination of the millennium. Its luring
beaches, its sacred places of worship, its lush green forests, its enticing cuisines and
its hospitable people wait for you. Discover Andhra Pradesh - a land rich in
everything worth living for.
Andhra Pradesh has preserved its ancient charm and variegated facets of the culture of
the Mauryas, Pallavas, Cholas, Satavahanas, Chalukyas and Vijayanagar. On your
tourism to Andhra Pradesh, take a tour to the magnificent Charminar at Hyderabad –
the city of pearls, Golconda Fort – a tour of this fort transports you to the bygone era
and the ancient shrine of Tirupati – the most visited pilgrim centre of India.
Hyderabad, the city of Nawabs, the Vishkhapatnam, the port city with its endless
stretch of sand beaches, are some of the destinations, which will make a delightful
Tour to Andhra Pradesh – a land of heterogeneous history. On your tour to Andhra
Pradesh, you must visit the famous Charminar, Salar Jung Museum, Golconda Fort in
Hyderabad and Buddhist viharas at Nagarjunasagar. Also travel to the wildlife and
bird sanctuaries of Nagarjunasagar, Kolleru, Manjira, Kawal and Papikonda.
Travel to the temples of Andhra Pradesh and know more about its history, art &
sculptures and philosophy. The diverse style of architecture of the temples of Andhra
Pradesh are specimen of its diverse historical past. A must visit on your tour to
Andhra Pradesh is the Tirupati - most revered and most visited pilgrimage centre in
India. The temples of Andhra Pradesh will astonish you with their excellence of
craftsmanship. Plan a tour to Andhra Pradesh and visit the temples, which would
entice you to explore the beauty of this wonderland.
All of these and more will make your travel to Andhra Pradesh truly exhilarating.
Plan a tour to Andhra Pradesh and relish the unspoilt charm of its surroundings.
Fondly called the 'city of Nawabs' Hyderabad offers a captivating combination of
tradition and trend to the tourists and travellers. Hyderabad is one of the most rapidly
growing cities of India. The IT hub in Southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is
easily accessible. Regular flights, frequent trains and the excellent road network make
Hyderabad a great travel destination.
Sightseeing at Hyderabad
Charminar : This is the landmark structure of Hyderabad. Located in the heart of the
city the galleries and arches of Charminar are of great importance to the tourists. The
Charminar is the hub of the city, has four wide roads radiating in the four cardinal
directions. The four minarets command the landscape for miles. The structure is
square, each side measuring 100 feet, with a central pointed high arch at the center.
The whole edifice contains numerous small decorative arches arranged both vertically
and horizontally.
Mecca Masjid : Close to the Charminar stands the Mecca Masjid, begun by
Muhammad Qutb Shah in 1617 and completed by Quranzeb in 1693. It is a grand
edifice with a huge courtyard, which can accommodate nearly ten thousand men at
Falakuma Palace : Another tourist attraction in Hyderabad is the Falakuma palace.
The palace was home to the last Nizam and stores the most expensive art objects,
tapestries and carpets, in addition to the largest single-man collection of diamonds.
Husain Sagar Lake : Between Hyderabad and its twin city Secunderabad lays the
Husain Sagar Lake. This large artificial lake offers breathtaking views of Naubat
Pahad, a hilltop crowned by the Birla temple.
Mecca Masjid - Hyderabad Golconda Fort : The majestic and imposing monument
which lies on the Western outskirts of Hyderabad city - Golconda Fort, unravels with
it the 400 years of the rich cultural heritage of this city. Golconda has been known as
famous center for diamonds, and the diamond mines boast of some of the most
renowned diamonds in the world. The Kohinoor originally belonged to Golconda as
did the Darya-I-Noor, the Orloff, the Pitt, and the great table of the Nizam. This
massive fort is 11 km in perimeter and its walls are 15 to 18 ft high. The whole fort is
built in granite and is flanked by 70 ramparts and 8 huge gates.
Best Season to Visit : Through out the year.
Reaching Hyderabad
Air : Hyderabad is connected by air with Ahemdabad, Bhubaneshwar, Kolkotta,
Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Tirupati and Visakhapatnam.
Rail : Hyderabad / Secunderabad are connected by rail with major cities.
Road : Hyderabad is also well-connected by National Highways. It is connected by
road to Banglore(590 km), Visakhapatnam(667 km), Chennai(671 km), Goa (698)
km, Mumbai (713 km).
Tirupati is a fascinating temple town in Chittor district of Andra Pradesh. It is situated
at the foot hills of Tirumala. According to the Hindu mythology, Tirumala is the
abode of Lord Venkateshwara. It is well connected to major cities in Andhra Pradesh
through a well maintained broad highway.
Fact File:
Population: 253327 (2001)
Altitude: 161 metres.
Languages: Hindi, English, Telegu
Location : Tirupati is situated in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh. It is located at
an altitude of 531 feet above the sea level. This fascinating city is located at Tirumala
Hills. The Tirumala Hills comprises of seven peaks.
Climate : Tropical type of climate prevails in Tirupati throughout the year. Like other
places this pilgrimage place enjoys three seasons, i.e. summers, winters and
monsoons. In the summers, the temperature rises to a maximum of 45º C and falls to a
minimum of 35º C. In the winter, temperature varies between minimum of10º C to 18º
C maximum.
Sights of Attractions :
Sri Venkateswara National Park : Admire the rare species of amimals in the Sri
Venkateswara National Park. It is a fascinating sanctuary located at 10 km from
Chandragiri : Chandragiri is situated at a distance of 11 km from Tirupati. Here you
can view the fascinating fort that dates back to 1000 AD. Admire the citadels, palaces
and temples that had been the place of the royal family only.
Suruttappalli : View the fascinating temple sited on the banks of Arani River. This
temple is dedicated to Lord Siva.
Best Season to Visit : October to May
Reaching There :
By Air : The nearest airport to Tirupati is Renigunta. It is 10 Kms from Tirupati.
By Train : The nearest railway junction to Tirupati is Renigunta. It is 10 Kms from
By Bus : Tirupati is well connected to Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Chennai, Bangalore
and Visakahpatnam through excellent roadways.
Vishakhapatnam, formerly known as Vizag, along the eastern coast of present-day
Andhra Pradesh previously belonged to the Dutch, who were among the first
Europeans to make their presence felt in India. A quiet fishing town with little or no
infrastructure till the early 1920s, Vishakhapatnam was established by the British and
was opened to sea-going vessels in 1933. Since then it has been a medium - sized port
town, serving to the requirements of the Deccan Plateau and the eastern parts of the
country. Known as Waltair under British rule, Vishakhapatnam was also seen to be of
strategic importance by the military who set up base here.
Vishakhapatnam is the right spot where one can find the charm of Andhra. From lakes
to cool beaches, from beautiful hill ranges to caves and valleys enclosures,
Vishakhapatnam possess them all. A visit to Vishakhapatnam will definitely be
exciting, enriching and enlivening experience with all its enticing beaches, caves and
Sightseeing at Vishakhapatnam
Kailasagiri : Kailasagiri is settled on a hilltop and is a must to visiting place for all
people visiting Vishakhapatnam. The charming hill on the seafront, affords a breath
taking scenic view, especially towards Bheemunipatnam.
Rishikonda Beach : About 8 km from Vishakhapatnam is the Rishikonda Beach, a
golden, virgin beach, braced by the sun-warmed sea.
Ramakrishna Beach : One of the prettiest beaches on the Eastern Coast is the
Ramakrishna beach, which is a favourite resort for tourists visiting Vishakhapatnam.
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park : The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park is situated in
Vishakhapatnam amidst the picturesque eastern ghats of India, enclosed by hills on
either sides and Bay of Bengal on the east.
Best Season : August to October and January to March
Reaching Vishakhapatnam
Simahachalam Temple - Vishakhapatnam, India Tours, Tours to India, India TourAir
: Vishakhapatnam has an airport. Indian Airlines flies to Vishakhapatnam daily from
Mumbai, Kolkatta, Hyderabad and Chennai.
Rail : Vishakhapatnam is the centre point for the trains going between Chennai and
Howra and Howrah and Secunderabad. It is well connected by rail to all the important
places in and outside the state.
Road : National Highway No.5 (Howrah to Chennai) passes through Vishakhapatnam.
The Vishakhapatnam to Steel Plant - Anakapalli Road is most modern 4 Line
Highway spans 45-km. The APSRTC runs buses and private buses connect major
cities of the state and the cities in the neighboring states of Orissa and Madhya
Pradesh with Vishakhapatnam.
Vijayawada is an important port city situated in south India and is considered to be
the cultural capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The biggest railway junction in the
South Central Railway leading to major cities like Chennai, Calcutta, Delhi and
Hyderabad, Vijaywada is full of the tourists coming from all over. Being a busy port
and a major junction on the Calcutta-Chennai railway line, this city has emerged into
an important industrial centre.
Situated at the head of the Krishna Delta, Vijayawada, at a distance of 70 km from the
sea and is surrounded by bare granite hills. The place is famous for its rock mountains
and the rivers that cut through them. Vijayawada is famous for its delicious mangoes
and pickles as also its delicious, spicy cuisine. Attractions in and around the city
include the Mogalrajapuram caves, the Kanakadurga Temple, the Prakasam Barrage
and Gandhi Hill.
Sightseeing at Vijayavada
Prakasam Barrage : Established in 1957, the Prakasam Barrage is an impressive
1223.5 m long, modern regulator and road bridge that continues across the river
Krishna. Its beautiful lake and the three canals that run through the city give
Vijayawada a Venetian look.
Mogalrajapuram Caves : About 5 km from Vijayawada are the Mogalarajapuram
caves having three cave temples, dating back to the 5th century AD. Out of the 3 cave
temples built here only one is still in better condition with the idols of Lord Nataraja,
Vinayaka and others. The Ardhanareeshwara Murthy found here is considered the
only one of its kind in south India.
Hazrathbal Mosque : Hazrat Bal Mosque, a site of religious significance in
Vijayawada. A holy relic of Prophet Mohammad is kept here and displayed once a
Kanaka Durga Temple : Kanaka Durga, goddess of power, riches and charity is
considered as the presiding deity of Vijayawada. The temple is set on the Indrakiladri
hill. The deity in the Kanaka Durga temple is regarded as Swayambhu (selfmanifested), hence is considered very powerful. It is said that Adi Sankara visited this
temple and installed the Sri Chakra here.
Temple in Vijayawada, Tours to India, India Tours, India Tour Akkana and Madanna
Caves : En-route to the Kanaka Durga Temple are the rock-cut caves dedicated to
Akkana and Madanna, who were ministers in the court of Abdul Hasan Tanashah in
the 17th century AD. A short distance away is another cave that dates back to the 2nd
century BC, which hosts the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.
Malleswaraswami Temple : Close to the Kanaka Durga temple is the shrine of
Malleswara Swamy on the Indrakiladri hill. Mallikarjuna or the Malleswara as he is
known in the Puranas is said to have been installed by Yudhishthira, the eldest of the
Panch Pandavas, as a token of their victory of the South.
Vijayeswara Swami Temple : The Vijayeswara temple is set on the Indrakiladri hill in
Vijayawada. The installation of Vijayeswara is said to have been done by Arjuna, to
commemorate his victory with Lord Shiva in the form of 'Kirata' (hunter).
Best Season to Visit : October to March
Reaching Vijaywada
Air : Viyaywada is connected by Hyderabad & Visakhapatnam.
Rail : The City is well connected to important cities.
Bus : Regular bus service from important cities.
Formarly a French colony which has settled in the early part of the 18th century.
Places of interest are Sri Aurobindo Ashram Auroville - the brain child of the mother
and designed by French Architect roger Anger, AuroVille was meant to be an
experiment in international living where man and women could live in peace and
progress harmony with each other above all creeds.
Sightseeing at Pondicherry :
Aurobindo Ashram : The main building encompasses the houses of Shri Aurobindo
and The Mother (Mirra Alfassa, a French woman who accepted Aurobindo as her
spiritual mentor and guide and later became his most important disciple). In the
courtyard are the samadhis of Aurobindo and The Mother where their mortal remains
have been enshrined. The worth visiting at the Ashram complex are the International
Education Centre, guest houses, libraries and the cottage industries.
Pondicherry Beach : The beaches are the best place to relax in Pondicherry.The 1500
metre long beach that borders the town on the eastern side is clean and is an ideal
place for swimming and sun bathing. There are two monuments of historical
significance on the beach. One is the 4m. tall statue of Mahatma Gandhi and the other
is the War Memorial, built by the French in commemoration of the soldiers who died
in the First World War. The Light House which stands 29m. high is further down the
beach and is over 150 years old.
Churches in Podicherry : There are several of churches that are worthy of a visit. One
of the most beautiful is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus located on South
Boulevard. It is built in the Gothic style and has three stained glass panels in a
corridor behind the altar which exhibits the life of Christ. The Eglise de Notre Dame
des Anges on Rue Dumas was built in 1865. The church has an oil painting of Our
Lady of Assumption that was donated by Napoleon III. The Eglise de Notre Dame de
Lourdes situated in Villiyanur on the outskirts of Pondicherry is built on the same
pattern as the Basilica at Lourdes in France.
Temples in Podicherry : There are many temples in Pondicherry that were erected by
the Cholas between the 10th and 12th centuries. Most of them are dedicated to the
local goddesses of the villages where they were built. There are also quite a few
temples dedicated to Lord Vinayaka or Ganapathy.
Auroville : It is about 10 km from the city centre. The place has been converted into a
lush green cover from a highly eroded area, by 25 years of sheer hard work.
Auroville, at the moment, is formed of several communities, scattered along the
border of Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu.
Church in PondicherryReaching Pondicherry
Air : Nearest Airport - Madurai and Chennai.
Rail : nearest railhead are at Madras, Villupuram. Another way is to take a train from
Bangalore to Cuddalore.
Road : Cane be easily reach from any of the neighbouring states. Pondicherry is best
accessible by road from Chennai, Bangalore and even from Kerala.
Best Season to Visit : Any time of the year.
Northern Zone
The northern part of India has many tourist places which are famous for the tourism in
North India. North India includes Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi,
Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir states of India and offers
wildlife, pilgrimage, cultural, adventure, Ayurveda meditation and train tourism in the
famous tourist places of India.
Rajasthan Travel
Travel to Rajasthan - the Desert Jewel of India. Rajasthan in the northern part of India
is a royal, vibrant and exquisite land caressed by the sun kissed sand and desert.
Travelling Rajasthan is unique in terms of people, costumes, culture, customs,
dialects, cuisine, music and dance and these are a reflection of its colourful past.
Explore Rajasthan tours where royal charm and chivalry is still well preserved.
Savour the royal experience with Rajasthan Tour packages and visit the magnificent
palaces, invincible forts and mansions. Each city, fort, palace in Rajasthan has its own
story to narrate and will transport you to the bygone era. Travel to Rajasthan which is
famous for its art & craft, particularly handicraft. Rajasthan is the ultimate destination
offering something to suit the tastes of every single traveller.
Rajasthan is a land of superlatives, everything over here is amazingly beautiful,
impressive and captivating! The state is well linked with the rest of the country and
can be easily approached from Delhi and Bombay. Fast trains, direct bus and air
connections make travel easy and comfortable in the royal state of Rajasthan.
Rajasthan Tour packages offer a wide range of accommodation options to suit every
pocket. Whether you stay in lavish heritage palace or a guesthouse, Rajasthan Tour
packages will make your tour to Rajasthan a memorable experience.
Travel to Rajasthan, the most contrasting topography from arid lands to lush green
forests or wetlands. Tour Rajasthan, an exotic state where tradition and royal glory
unite in a riot of colours against the vast backdrop of sand and desert. Tour to this
abode of kings, Rajasthan, one of the most exotic locales for tourist world over.
Rajasthan travel offers lifestyle and a great place to pamper you in period hospitality.
A tour to this wonderland - Rajasthan will leave a lasting impression on your mind.
One visit is not enough to arrest the real essence of this magical land - Rajasthan.
Capital of Rajasthan also known as Pink City, surrounded on all sides by rugged hills
crowned with forts and enclosed by embattled walls. Visit to City Palace which now
houses a museum containing rare manuscripts, paintings, and an armoury, the
observatory with a sundial 90 ft high, the museum is amidst the Ram Niwas Palace
gardens founded in 1876 with a large collections of antiques, the Palace of Winds, a
landmark of Jaipur made of Pink Sandstone and of unique design.
Amber 12 Kms from Jaipur, lies Amber with an old palace overlooking the lake at the
entrance to rocky mountain grove, built in 17th century, the palace is a distinguished
specimen of Rajput Architecture.
Sightseeing at Jaipur City Palace : The magnificent City Palace is in the centre of the Pink City of Jaipur,
enclosed by high walls and set amidst fine gardens and courtyards. Since it was built
by Jai Singh in 1728 it has been the principal residence for the Maharajas of Jaipur
and the successive rulers have each added to it. The major attractions in the palace are
- Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Diwan-I-Khas, Dilkusha Mahal, Moti Mahal,
Sheesh Mahal and Krishna Mahal, all of which are adorned with exquisite colours and
Jaipur City PalaceAmber Fort : Situated on the crest of a hill seven miles north of
Jaipur is Amber, capital of the Kuchwaha Rajputs from 1037 to 1728. The city-palace
is protected by towering outer walls, a further wall runs for miles along the hills
surrounding the palace. For many, the most memorable part of a trip to Jaipur is the
journey up the palace ramparts, through a succession of vast gates, on the back of a
painted elephant – Maharaja style. Inside are the ruins of a once great palace, a
wonderful example of Rajput architecture, with Mogul influences.
Hawa Mahal : (Palace of the Winds) Hawa is Jaipur’s most remarkable attraction.
Built in 1799, it is situated on the edge of the City Palace complex overlooking one of
the city’s main streets and was constructed to offer the women of the court a vantage
point, behind stone-carved screens, from which to watch the activity in the bazaars
below. The five-storey building is shaped like a crown adorning Lord Krishna’s head
and contains over 900 finely screened windows and balconies.
Reaching Jaipur Air : Well connected by air to Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Calcutta, Delhi, Jodhpur,
Mumbai, Udaipur.
Rail : Well connected to Delhi, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Abu Road, Jodhpur, Chittorgarh,
Indore, Bikaner, Udaipur by its own railhead.
Road : Jaipur is well connected to all major towns of India by road.
Mount Abu
Mount Abu - The only hill station in Rajasthan is situated in south-west end of
Rajasthan.It has stunning array of exquisite Dilwara Jain Temples dating back 11th13th centuries ,making it a popular pilgrimage centre. Delwara Jain Temples, are
sheer elegance in marble, dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras. Places to see are
Gaumukh Temple( a natural spring flowing through a sculpted cow’s head ), Adhar
Devi temples and Nakki lake. Museum at the Raj Bhawan is a collection of
archaeological excavations dating back to 8th-12th century A.D. It also has Jain
bronze carvings,brass works etc. Sunset point provides a spectacular sight of the
setting sun and hills are covered in the golden glow can be viewed from here. Other
popular spots include Honeymoon point, which also offers a view of sunset, the Crags
and the Shanti Shikhar. Trevor’s Tank, named after the British engineer who
constructed it is a delight for bird-watchers with densely wooded hills that are a haven
to pigeons, peacocks and partridges. Achalgarh is an impressive fort with some
beautiful Jain Temples enclosed within.
Best Season to Visit : February to June, September and December.
Reaching Mount Abu Mount Abu and Nakki Lake Air : Udaipur is the nearest airport. Daily flight form
Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur are available to Udaipur.
Rail : Abu Road is the nearest railway station and is about 22 kms from Mount Abu.
And well connected with Ahemdabad, Jaipur, Mumbai and Jodhpur.
Road : Rajasthan Roadways run very comfortable deluxe buses from Jaipur and Abu
Road to Mount Abu. It is also connected by road to Delhi, Udaipur, Ajmer, Bundi and
Uttar Pradesh Travel
"I had been to other countries - in Europe, Asia and the Middle East - but none of
them had provided even half as much variety, or so much to see and experience and
remember, as this one State in northern India. You can travel from one end of
Australia to the other,but everywhere on that vast continent you will find that people
dress in the same way, eat the same kind of food,listen to the same music. This
colourless uniformity is apparent in many other countries of the world,both East and
West. But Uttar Pradesh is a world in itself." - Ruskin Bond.
Uttar Pradesh is one of the most ancient and diverse states of India with numerous age
old cities. Uttar Pradesh boasts of a rich culture, history and heritage, displaying some
most inspiring and exemplary monuments of the world. Whether one is on a spiritual
trip, or looking for some adventure, or just on a curiosity trip, Uttar Pradesh has
something to offer to every single traveller. Situated in the northern part of India,
Uttar Pradesh has the exception of being the most populous state of India. In terms of
area, it is the fourth largest, among all the states.
Uttar Pradesh is the kaleidoscopic land where the multi-faceted Indian Culture has
flourished from times immemorial. Endowed with a diversified topography and many
cultural variance, Uttar Pradesh, has been the area of activity since ancient times.
Garlanded by the two sacred rivers of the Hindus - the Ganga and the Yamuna, Uttar
Pradesh is one of the most revered holy land of the Hindus. Surrounded by states like
Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh is
accessible from almost all the corners of India.
The world renowned majestic monuments, mystical mountains & lakes, the perennial
rivers, fertile soil and the religious fervour that it evokes, have contributed numerous
golden chapters to the annals of Indian History. Peppered with various holy shrines
and religious places, full of euphoric festivals, Uttar Pradesh also plays a vital role in
the politics, education, culture, industry, agriculture and tourism of India.
Uttar Pradesh is a place of gods and goddesses, a land which has an ancient and
glorious history. Uttar Pradesh - the land of Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavir and
Ashoka; the land where the great Mughals had engraved numerous landmarks of
history is one of the most sought after destination for tourists in India. Uttar Pradesh is
a land dotted with countless shrines and pilgrimage which hold a special significance
in the lives of the Indian people.
Housing the most impressive and the most captivating monument - the Taj Mahal at
Agra, Uttar Pradesh is the most visited states of the Indian Union. Apart from Taj
Mahal, there are innumerous other monuments and structures of yesteryears, which
make Uttar Pradesh one of the most richest states of India for housing some very
splendiferous and grand monuments of all time.
Travel to Uttar Pradesh, one of the most fascinating states of India. A tour to Uttar
Pradesh will make your tourism in India a memorable experience. Plan your tour to
Uttar Pradesh and visit some of the most fascinating places. Tour through the
panoramic sights, wealth of monuments and cherish memories of your tour to Uttar
Pradesh throughout your life. Tour the magnificent Taj Mahal at Agra, the serene
ghats at Varanasi, The ghost town - Fatehpur Sikri and the holy twin towns of
Mathura Vrindavan on your tour to Uttar Pradesh. Savour the tantalizing cuisine of
Uttar Pradesh on your travel to Uttar Pradesh. Travelling to Uttar Pradesh is an aweinspiring experience.
The city of Taj Mahal a trifle cleaner and greener if you have been here before. Agra the name itself recalls the picture of Taj Mahal, a spectacular monument of love built
of white marble. Agra city is not only a reputed tourist destination but also a shopper's
paradise. It offers breathtakingly beautiful handcrafted items that are made of pure
leather. Agra is also famous for the replicas of Taj Mahal. Furthermore, it also offers
excursions to Fatehpur Sikri, Mathura and Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary that make it a
complete tourist destination.
Sightseeing at Agra Taj Mahal : One of the Seven Wonders of the World built by Emperor Shahjahan.
Renowned for its spectacular architecture and aesthetic beauty, the Taj Mahal is also a
symbol of enduring love, built by Shah Jehan to house the grave of his beloved wife,
Queen Mumtaz Mahal, who died following the birth of their 14th child.
Agra Fort : Built by Emperor Akbar, the Maze of Courtyards, Mosques and Private
Chambers of the Fort Echoes the story of the Mughal Empire.
Sikandra : The Tomb of Emperor is Akbar the Great. Built in Red Sandstone inland
with Marble. It is a striking sight.
Fatehpur Sikri Fatehpur Sikri : The Deserted City of Emperor Akbar literally means
'The City of Victory'.
Reaching Agra Air : Well connected to Delhi, Khajuraho, Varanasi by air.
Rail : The railhead at Agra is well linked to Delhi, Mumbai, Jodhpur, Gwalior, Jhansi,
Bhopal, Varanasi, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Cochin, Jaipur, Kathgodam, Patna,
Vishakapatnam, Madras, Trivandrum, Lucknow, Indore.
Road : Idgah bus stand is the main bus stand of Agra, from where one can catch buses
for Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura, Fatehpur-Sikri, etc. Buses for Mathura also leave from
Agra Fort bus stand.
Mathura – Vrindavan
Brajbhoomi comprises the twin cities of Mathura and Vrindavan. It is not just the
sacred land where Lord Krishna was born and performed his cosmic leela, but a place
full of the divine reminiscences. The city of Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh, the nucleus of
Brajbhoomi, is located at a distance of 145-km south-east of Delhi and 58-km northwest of Agra.
Vrindavan, around 15 km from Mathura, is a major place of pilgrimage, on the banks
of the Yamuna, attracting about 5 lakh pilgrims every year.
Sightseeing at Mathura Vrindavan Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi : The jail cell in which Lord Krishna is supposed to have
been born, now turned into a temple.
Jami Masjid : Built by Abd-un Nabir Khan in 1661 AD on the ruins of Keshav Deo
temple, which was destroyed earlier.
Vishram Chat : The bathing ghat where Lord Krishna had rested after slaying the
tyrant King Kansa.
Dwarkadheesh Temple : Built in 1814 AD by Seth Gokuldass of Gwalior. it is
dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Temple at Mathura - Spiritual India Tour Other Attractions are - Banke-Bihari
Temple, Krishna Balrama Mandir, Manasi Ganga Kunda, Radha Madana-Mohana
Temple, 25 Tirthas Ghats, Jaipur Temple, Radha Vallabha Temple, Seva Kunja,
Radha Damodara Temple, Radharamana Temple, Govinda Dev Temple, Shahji
Temple and Rang Ji Temple. The well-known Govardhan is situated about 26-km
from Mathura along the road to Deeg.
Reaching Mathura Vrindavan Air : The nearest airport is Agra around 67 km away from Vrindavan. The nearest
international airport is Delhi, which is connected to almost every important city in the
world with major airlines.
Rail : Mathura is on the main lines of the Central and Western Railways and is
connected with all the important cities of the state and country such as Delhi, Agra,
Mumbai, Jaipur, Gwalior, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Lucknow.
Road : Mathura is well connected via major National Highways. It is linked by the
regular state bus services of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.
Lucknow is perhaps the most romantic of capital towns in India. There is no city
where it is so simple to turn back the pages of history and look into the colourful days
of Nawabs and Begums, through the eyes of those who claim to have personal
knowledge of court and customs, secrets and intrigues. Lucknow is famous for its
gold and silver brocades, silverware, clay figurines and pottery.
Sightseeing at Lucknow Bara Imambara : Built in the year 1784 by the champion of charity Nawab Asaf ud
Daula, the Bara Imambara provided food to the famine stricken subjects of the
Nawab. The monument is known for its simplicity of style, sheer proportion and
symmetry. To the left of the Imambara is a grand mosque. To the right is a row of
cloisters concealing a huge well known as the Baoli.
Clock Tower : The beautiful clock tower, constructed in 1887, is the tallest Clock
Tower in India and one of the finest examples of British Architecture in India. The
221 feet tall structure was erected by Nawab Nasir-ud-din Haider to mark the arrival
of Sir George Couper, Ist Lieutenant Governor of United province of Avadh in the
year 1887.
Jama Masjid : The construction of this mosque was started in 1840 by Mohammad Ali
Shah but it was finally completed by his wife Begum Malika Jahan after his death.
This splendid mosque built in the typical Mughal style lies to the west of the
Hussainabad Imambara. It is entirely free from pseudo Italian art then in vogue in
Bara Imambara and Jama-Masjid Best Season to Visit : October to March
Reaching Lucknow Air : Indian Airlines connects Lucknow with Delhi, Patna, Calcutta and Mumbai
Rail : Agra, Ahmedabad, allahabad, Amritsar, Delhi, Dehradun, Guwahati, Calcutta,
Jammu, Mumbai, Varanasi.
Road : Lucknow is well connected with some major cities like Agra (363 km),
Allahabad (225 km), Calcutta (985 km), Delhi (497 km), Kanpur (79 km) and
Varanasi (305 km).
Varanasi/Banaras, sprawling along the left bank of the river Ganga is the holy city of
Hindus. With its array of shrines, temples and palaces rising in several tiers from the
water's edge, Varanasi is one of the most fascinating cities in the east. It is also a city
of fairs and festivals, celebrating about four hundred of them during the year. Since
time immemorial, Varanasi has been a centre of learning and the tradition is kept alive
today by the Benaras Hindu University founded in 1916.
Sightseeing at Varanasi The Ghats : of Varanasi Ghats are the major attractions of Varanasi. There are about
hundred ghats in the city and each of them is marked by a lingam and occupies its
own special place in the religious geography of the city. The ghats, though some of
them have crumbled over the years, continue to thrive with early-morning bathers,
Brahmin priests offering puja and people practicing meditation and yoga. Though
most of the ghats are used for bathing, there are several 'burning ghats' were bodies
are cremated.
Alamgir Mosque : Also known as Beni Madhav Ka Darera, the Alamgir Mosque is a
blend of the Hindu and Mughal styles of the architecture. The mosque, built by
Aurangzeb on the site of the Vishnu Temple, overlooks the Panchganga Ghat.
Durga Temple, Tours to Banaras, Varanasi IndiaDurga Temple : Located 2 kilometres
south of the old city, this eighteenth century Durga Temple is also known as the
Monkey Temple due to many aggressive monkeys that reside here. The temple was
built in a common north Indian style with an ornate shikhara, consisting of five
segments symbolizing the elements and supported by finely carved columns.
Bharat Mata Temple : This temple of Bharat Mata (Mother India), inaugurated by
Mahatma Gandhi, lies about 3 km west of Godaulia, outside the old city. Here, instead
of gods and goddesses, one finds a huge relief map in marble of the whole of Indian
subcontinent and Tibetan plateau. The map is said to be perfectly to scale both
vertically and horizontally with mountains, rivers and the holy tirthas (pilgrimage
centres) all clearly visible.
Tulsi Manas : Temple Built in 1964, the Tulsi Manas Temple stands about 150 m
south of Durga Temple. The temple, dedicated to Lord Rama is situated at the place
where Tulsidas, the great medieval seer, is believed to have lived and written the great
epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas". The two tier walls of the temple are engraved with the
verses and scenes from this great epic.
Other attractions are : Emperor Aurangzeb's Mosque, the sacred bull, the well of
knowledge Vishwanath Temple, Benaras Hindu University with its marble Shiva
Reaching Varanasi Air : Well connected to Delhi, Khauraho, Lucknow, Mumbai by air.
Rail : Ahmedabad, Cochin, Delhi, Gwalior, Kolkata, Madras, Mumbai, Tirupati, Puri
are well linked by railways to Varanasi.
Road : Varanasi, on NH 2 from Kolkata to Delhi, and NH 29 to Gorakhpur is well
connected to the rest of the country by good motorable roads. Some of the major road
distances are : Agra - 565 km, Allahabad - 128 km, Bhopal - 791 km, Bodhgaya - 240
km, Kanpur - 330 km, Khajuraho - 405 km, Lucknow - 286, Patna - 246 km, Sarnath 10 Km.
Punjab Travel
Situated in the northern part of India, Punjab is known as the granary of India. With
its endless golden fields and fast growing industrial estates, Punjab has become one of
the most developed and rich states of India. Punjab, the land of five rivers and
undiminished cultural history, is a treasure trove for a crazy tourist. The land of the
great saints and scholars not only boasts of ancient monuments of glory and sacrifice
but throbs with historical embodiments.
There is no absence of awe-inspiring places & palaces in Punjab. Housing the seat of
spirituality for Sikhism at Amritsar, Punjab is also one most sought after destinations
in India. Punjab is the only state in India, which has a roadway to the neighbouring
country - Pakistan, once an integral part of India. Punjab, the chief wheat producing
state of the country, is the overland entry point into India. The state is also known for
its production of sports and hosiery goods. Being close to Delhi, Punjab is easily
accessible from any part of India.
Along with the pristine landscape and salubrious climate, Punjab is also the land of
bhangra dance, folklores, lassi, ghee and tandoori cuisines. While Travelling in
Punjab, head for Amritsar and the Golden Temple, which is the most revered temple
for the Sikhs. Travel to Punjab and discover the mysteries of this treasured land. Tour
to Punjab and gaze the captivating nature and monuments of Punjab. Visit to the
magnificent Golden Temple, Durhiana temple, Moti Bagh Palace, Jallianwala Bagh
and a profusion of palaces, museums, parks and temples on your trip to Punjab. Avail
the travel services of Punjab tour packages for your Punjab tour. Relish a profusion of
beautiful dances, colourful and vibrant festivals, music and delectable cuisine of
Punjab on your tour to Punjab.
Known for its Golden Temple, the most sacred shrine of the Sikhs, Amritsar is the
most revered place of the Sikh Community. Amritsar derived its name from the water
pool (Pool of Nectar). The town is also known worldwide for the occurrence of
massacre, in the historic Jallianwala Bagh by the British General Dyer's. The added
charm of the place is spectacular Ram Bagh Garden.
Today, Amritsar is not only a historical or religious city, but also an industrial city
with numerous small and medium scale industries. Amritsar houses several Textile
Industry, paint industry, machine tools, rice, fan industry, etc., which place a
significant role in the India economy.
Sightseeing at Amritsar Golden Temple : Golden Temple is the most sacred temple of the Sikhs built by
Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The lower portion of the temple displays white marble inlay
work and the upper portion is embellished with copper coated over by gold plate.
Devotees from all sects of life irrespective of their cast and creed come here to pay
homage to the temple. The other attractions inside the shrine is the Guru Granth
Sahib, the Holy Book of the Sikhs and the 24 hr running kitchen, which feeds about
10,000 pilgrims every day, the kitchen is run on a voluntary basis.
Jallianwal Bagh : Nearby is the Jallianwala Bagh (a memorial), where during the
British rule in India, General Dyer opened fire on innocent people causing a massacre
on 13th April 1919. The place is now a national monument. Its walls bears the bullet
marks of this tragedy.
Ram Bag : Ram Bag is a beautiful garden consisting of an amazing palace called as
the summer place of erstwhile Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the city of Amritsar. The
garden treasures 'Darshani Deorhi' a magnum opus, with its outstanding architectural
splendour. There is also a beautiful museum named after Maharaja Ranjit Singh
exhibiting unique oil paintings, miniatures, coins, weapons and objects relating to the
Sikh period.
Best Season to Visit : Through out the year. But the best time to visit Amritsar is
during the Guru Nanak Jayanti (Guru Purnima).
Reaching Amritsar Air : Amritsar is has its own domestic and international airport.
Train : Amritsar is well connected to Bhopal, Delhi, Calcutta, Jaipur, Lahore,
Lucknow, Mumbai, Patna, Baroda by rail routes.
Road : You can reach Amritsar by road from all the nearby cities and places. It has
well defined roads.
Delhi Travel
Delhi, the capital of India has a fascinating history and a stimulating present. Delhi is
fine amalgamation of old and new. The old city, built by Shah Jahan in the 17th
century, stands today as an epitome of the whole history of Indo-Islamic architecture.
New Delhi, designed and constructed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker is
a mixture of East & West.
Old Delhi presents old world charm whereas New Delhi reflects the new world
extravaganza. If you tour in the Old Delhi you will come across old fashioned narrow
alleys with small and big shops of various items.
Sightseeing In Old Delhi Red Fort : Built in Red Sand stone between 1639 - 1648 AD, this imposing fort is 3
kms in perimeter with the height of the wall fluctuating from 18 to 30 m at places. In
the evening the Delhi Tourism Department organises a light and sound show which
narrates the history of Delhi in context of the Red Fort. The light & sound show
organised here is worth seeing.
Chandni Chowk : Located just opposite to Red Fort, this is the place where you can
enjoy the old world charm. The hurrying crowd, the shouting vendors and
overcrowded shops are the real charm of this place. You can find all types of items
starting from textiles, jewelry, home furnishings, spices, household items to
electronics, chemicals, ceramics, electrical, etc. Though, very crowded and congested
, it is worth visiting.
Jama Masjid : Jama Masjid built in 1650 AD by Shah Jehan (the Vth Mughal
Emperor) is one place in Delhi which is a must visit. One of the Architectural beauty
of the past, Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques not only in Delhi but in India.
Completed in 1658 this Mosque has three gateways, Four angle towers and two 40 m
high minarets. From the top of minarets you can have a birds eye view of Delhi.
Qutb Minar - Delhi tour, Tour to New Delhi Raj Ghat :Along the banks of the river
Yamuna is located the place where the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was
cremated. The Raj Ghat is one of the most visited Ghats. A simple square platform of
black marble marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated after his
assassination in 1948.
Sightseeing In New Delhi Qutab Minar : Qutub Minar is the most recognised landmark of Delhi. In 1199 AD,
Qutbuddin erected the Qutub Minar either as a victory tower or as a minaret to the
adjacent mosque. From a base of 14.32 mtrs. it tapers to 2.75 mtrs. at a height of 72.5
mtrs. Even today, it is the highest stone and one of the finest stone towers in India.
Completed by the Sultan's successor and son-in-law, Iltutmish, Qutub MInar is the
finest Islamic structures ever raised. The tomb of Iltutmish, which he himself built in
1235 AD, is located nearby.
The Lotus Temple : Completed in 1986, the Lotus Temple or the Bahai temple is set
amidst pools and gardens, and adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and
pray or meditate silently according to their own religion. The structure is in lotus
shape so it often called the lotus temple. The view of the temple is very spectacular
just before dusk when the temple is flood lit.
India Gate : India Gate is a 42 mtrs high stone arch of triumph. It bears the name of
the 85,000 Indian Army Soldiers who died in the campaigns of World War I. Below
the arch is the memorial to the unknown soldier. India Gate is surrounded by green
grass lawns and trees. A place you should not miss.
Jantar Mantar : Close to Connaught Place is a strange collection of astronomical
instruments. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh this structure is actually an observatory. The
astonishing part of these observatories is that they can calculate many astronomical
movements very accurately.
Old Fort : It is believed that the Pandavas had built their capital, Indraprastha at the
place where the old fort stands today. This fort, now in ruins, was the seat for
administration for many emperors. The legendary Prithviraj Chauhan ruled from here
till he was defeated by Abdali in the battle of Panipat. A new light & sound show is
held by the Department of Delhi Tourism every evening.
Jantar Mantar Observatory - Delhi tour, Tour to New Delhi Reaching Delhi Air : Agra, Ahmedabd, Amritsar , Bhopal, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar,
Calcutta, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, Goa, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur,
Jammu, Jodhpur, Khajuraho, Kullu, Leh, Lucknow, Madras, Mumbai, Shimla,
Srinagar, Trivandrum, Udaipur, Varanasi.
Train : Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Agra, Jhansi, Bhopal, Gwalior, Varanasi,
Chandigarh, Jammu, Bombay, Calcutta.
Road : Delhi boasts of well defined road network. It is easily accessible from the
nearby states and places.
The Red Fort : Emperor Shah Jahan built Delhi's most magnificent and spectacular
monument, the Red Fort. In 1638 Shah Jahan shifted the Mughal Empire's capital
from Agra to Delhi and a new royal palace known as Red Fort (Lal Qila) was
constructed. The construction began in 1639 and completed in 1648. The name is
symbolic to its massive red sandstone walls that surround it.
The Architecture : The Red Fort has walls extending up to 2 kms. in length with the
height varying from 18 mts. on the river side to 33 mtrs. on the city side. The fort has
two main entrances, the Delhi Gate and the Lahori Gate. The latter faces Chandni
Chowk, the city's most crowded but diverse market. The Fort also houses the Diwani-Aam or the Hall of Public Audiences, where the Emperor would sit on a marbled
paneled alcove, studded with gems, and hear complaints of the common people. The
Diwan-i-Khas or the Hall of Private Audience, where private audiences were granted.
This hall is made of marble, and its centre-piece used to be the Peacock Throne,
which was studded with rubies and gems. Today, although the Diwan-i-Khas is only a
pale shadow of its original glory, yet the verse of Amir Khusro " If there is Paradise
on the face of earth, it is here, it is here, it is here" reminds us of its former glory. The
Rang Mahal or the 'Palace of Colours' as it is known, holds a spectacular Lotus
shaped fountain, made out of a single piece of marble, and housed the Emperor's
wives and mistresses. The other attractions enclosed within this monument are the
hammams or the Royal Baths, the Shahi Burj, which used to be Shahjahan's private
working area, and the Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque. Even today, the Red Fort
(Lal Qila) is an eloquent reminder of the glory of the Mughal Empire.
Red Fort - Delhi Present Red Fort : Even today, the Lal Quila is an eloquent reminder
of the glory of the Mughal era, and its magnificence simply leaves one awestruck. It is
still a calm haven of peace, which helps one to break away, from noisy and busy life
outside the walls of the Fort, and transports the visitor to another realm of existence.
The sound and light show held here highlights the particular phases of history,
something you should not miss.
The Prime Minister of India addresses the nation from this Fort on India's
Independence Day every year.
The Qutub Minar : Qutub Minar was raised by Qutub-ud-Din in 1199 AD, either as a
victory tower or as a minaret to the adjacent mosque. It is one of the finest Islamic
structures ever raised and is Delhi's most recognised landmark. However, only the
first storey was accomplished by Qutb-ud-din and the rest were built by his successor
and son-in-law, IItumish (1211-36 AD). The two circular stories in white marble were
built by Firozshah Tughlaq in 1368, who used marble to face the redstone. Qutub
Minar is a red sandstone tower beautified with intricate and striking carvings and is
inscribed with verses from the holy Quran. Its projecting balconies with inscriptional
decorative bands on different storeys heighten its decorative effect.
The Architecture : Qutub Minar is perfect example of minar known to exist anywhere.
With a height of 72.5 m and 379 steps, Qutub Minar is the highest stone tower in
India. It has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and about 2.75 m on the top. The
uppermost storey, which was damaged in 1368 during Feroze Tughluq's reign, was
replaced by him by two storeys, making free use of marble but leaving the lower
portion of the fourth storey built with sandstone in its original condition. The original
three storeys are each laid on a different plan, the lowest with alternate angular and
circular flutings, the second with round ones and the third with angular ones only,
with the same alignment of flutings, however, being carried through them all. Its
projecting balconies with stalactite pendentive type of brackets and inscriptional
decorative bands on different storeys heighten its decorative effect.
The History : Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the
construction of the Qutub Minar in A.D. 1193, but could only complete its basement.
His successor, Iltutmush, added three more stories, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tuglak
constructed the fifth and the last storey. The development of architectural styles from
Aibak to Tuglak are quite evident in the minar.
Though, the Minar's entire architecture bespeaks an Islamic origin, there exists a
tradition that the Qutub-Minar was built by Prithviraj, the last Chauhan king of Delhi,
for enabling his daughter to behold the sacred river Yamuna, from its top as part of
her daily worship. It is certain that Hindu craftsmen were employed for its
construction, which is evident from certain 'Devanagari' inscriptions on its surface.
Qutub Minar - Delhi It was supposed to have been built using the materials and
masonry of the remains of Hindu Temples and architecture. On one hand there is the
beautiful, exceptional Islamic handwriting and brocaded designs. Then there are
pillars with clearly pre-Islamic Hindu motifs. The reason is that the pillars were taken
from the 27 temples of Qila Rai Pithora, the city of the Rajput king Prithviraj
Chauhan. This in fact has been recorded by Qutub-ud-Din in his inscriptions, who call
it the Jami Masjid (Friday Mosque) in his inscriptions.
The Famous Iron Pillar : Close to the mosque is one of Delhi's most curious structures
the Iron Pillar. Dating back to 4th century A.D., the pillar bears an inscription which
states that it was erected as a flagstaff in honour of the Hindu god, Vishnu, and in the
memory of the Gupta King Chandragupta II(375-413). How the pillar moved to its
present location remains a mystery. The pillar also highlights ancient India's
achievements in metallurgy. The pillar is made of 98 per cent wrought iron and has
stood 1,600 years without rusting or decomposing.
Uttaranchal Travel
The state of Uttaranchal was formerly a part of Uttar Pradesh, before it was formed on
November 9th, 2000 as the 27th state of the Indian Union. Uttaranchal protected by
the Himalayas since ages is one of the most healthy and wholesome tourist destination
in India. Peace-lover's paradise, Uttaranchal is entirely the most idealistic destination
for the tourist searching for nature and peace. Leaving apart its natural beauty, every
corner of Uttaranchal has numerous attractions for display, showcasing numerous
temples dotting it topography since the primitive ages. Lying in the north of India and
cradled in the awesome beauty and calm serenity of the stately Himalayas,
Uttaranchal is an expression of divinity, austerity,
meditation, penance and attainment.
Showcasing some very magnificent snow clad peaks, rolling meadows, lush valleys,
meandering rivers and rivulets, the untouched natural beauty of Uttaranchal is just
bewildering. For a lot of people who decide to visit Uttaranchal the main interest is to
relax and refresh themselves in the salubrious settings of the luring Uttaranchal. No
other tourist destination in India offers the same opportunities to see such diverse
natural abundance, often in very close proximity.
Besides the spectacular natural beauty and salubrious climate, the places of
pilgrimages, abundant wildlife, and beautiful countryside - all these together make
Uttaranchal a sizzling travel destination.
Also known as the "Devbhumi", Uttaranchal has attracted tourists and pilgrims from
world over since time immemorial. Travel to Uttaranchal – a vast land amidst the
majestic Himalayas known for its immense natural beauty. Uttaranchal has many
excellent trekking routes and innumerous tourist destinations. Travel to Uttaranchal
and know its panoramic sights, salubrious climate, vibrant culture and colourful folk
dance. Travel to the picturesque Nainital, spiritual Rishikesh, wild Corbette National
Park and the serene Char Dhams on your tour to Uttaranchal. Travel tour packages to
Uttaranchal offers you a once in a lifetime experience, the memories of which will be
cherished by you throughout the life.
Haridwar or 'the Gateway to the Gods' is one of the seven holiest places according to
Hindu mythology. Ganga, the holy river of the Hindus enters the plains from here.
Haridwar's scenic beauty is a blend of height and plains, the air echoes the sounds of
chanting mantras. The city abounds in temples of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Haridwar has a lot of spiritual retreats or Ashrams carrying on the lineage of
providing the way to body soul perfection via various yoga and meditative techniques.
Sightseeing at Haridwar Har Ki Pauri : Har Ki Pauri is one of the most sacred bathing ghats at Haridwar. The
best time to visit this spot is at sunset when you can see the 'Aarti' of Ganga being
Chandi Devi : Across the main Ganga river, on the other bank is the Neel Parvat. The
famous Chandi Devi Temple is situated atop it. One has to trek at least 3 Kms. on the
hill to reach it. Other temples in close vicinity on the hill itself are the temples of
Gauri Shankar, Neeleshwar Mahadev and Anjani Devi.
Bhimgada Tank : On the way to Rishikesh, this tank is said to have been made by
Bhim with the blow of his knee, when the Pandavas were going to the Himalayas
through Haridwar.
Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Sarovar : Legends abound in India. Here, it is said,
Ganga splits herself in seven currents so that the Sapt (seven) Rishis worshipping
there would not be disturbed.
Canal Centenary Bridge : Located near Har-ki-Pauri, this bridge commands a
beautiful view of the canal and all the ghats.
Other Attractions are - Kavand Mela, Daksha Mahadev Temple, Maya Devi and
Shantikunj Ashram. Dehradun is at a distance of two hour drive. Rishikesh is just 24
Kms from Haridwar.
Best Season To Visit : Temperature usually hovers around 40°C during summers.
Winters see the mercury dipping to as low as 6°C. October to March is very pleasant
season for the tourists.
Reaching Haridwar
Haridwar is located in the north Indian state of Uttaranchal at a distance of 214 kms
from Delhi.
Air : The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant in Dehradun, but it is preferable to take a
flight to Delhi and then take a bus or train route to Haridwar.
Rail : The major pilgrimage center of Haridwar is well connected by trains to almost
all the major cities in India. In fact, trains are the major source of the tourist inflow to
Road : The National Highway no. 45 crosses the city of Haridwar, so it is connected
to other cities of the state as well as those in the other states too. The excellent road
network links Haridwar with Delhi for a smooth and comfortable travel journey.
Rishikesh is surrounded by scenic beauty of the hills on three sides with Holy Ganga
flowing through it. Located in the laps of lower Himalayas, this place is considered to
be the access point of three other pilgrim places of Badrinath - Kedarnath, Gangotri
and Yamunotri. Rishikesh is famous for its yoga sessions that are taught here by many
yoga experts (yoga fair held annually in February). Beatle's Paul Saltzman drew
inspiration from this place and visited the place in 1968 to learn Meditation and Yoga.
One can go for trekking, river rafting and excursions to the Valley of Flowers. One
can also visit Devprayag the junction of the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi rivers.
Dehradun, Haridwar, Mussoorie and Chila sanctuary are within reachable distance
from here.
dehradun india travel, dehradun travel, dehradun india, dehradun tourism, dehradun
tour, dehradun toursDehradun is located on a plateau at a height of 640 meters, home
of the Indian Military Academy and the headquarters of the Survey of India, an office
which was established by Colonel George Everest, after whom the world's highest
mountain has been named.
Ordinarily the term Doon meals valley. But in current colloquial usage it stands for
the valley in which is located the City of Dehradun. The city lies within the lower
scapes of the Himalayas and Shivaliks to the South and within the confines of the
river Ganga to the East and the river Yamuna to the West.
Mussoorie travel, budget travel in mussoorie, gun hill tour mussoorie, hill station in
india, tailormade tours to mussoorie, mussoorie india, mussoorie tour packages,
mussoorie toursMussoorie -the queen of hill stations situated 38 kms from Dehradun.
The place is famous for its green hills and varied flora and fauna. Mussoorie offers an
excellent view of the Himalayan and a gateway to the Gangotri and the Yamunotri
shrines. This hill station is renowned for its scenic beauty, gay collective life and
infotainment. The fabulous climate makes the place a world-class holiday destination.
A small town in the hills of Kumaon, Nainital is a lovely hill station surrounded by
mountains on three sides. Nainital was discovered in 1841 by a Britisher called Lord
Baron. The weather, the surrounding and the mesmerising beauty of this area attracted
the British administrator who turned this place into the summer capital of the United
Province. Being a major tourist place Nainital is always bustling with visitors and it is
always better if accommodation and other facilities are prearranged.
KedarnathAmidst the dramatic mountainscapes of the majestic Kedarnath range,
stands one of the twelve ‘Jyotirlingas’ of Kedar or Lord Shiva. Lying at an altitude of
3584 mts. on the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst the
holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus.
Sightseeing at Kedarnath :
Chopta : Situated on the Gopeshwar Ukhimath road about 40 km from Gopeshwar at
an altitude of about 2500 mtrs above sea level, Chopta is one of the most picturesque
spots in the entire Garhwal region. It provides a breathtaking view of Himalayan
ranges, surrounding it is the Deoria Tal.
Panch Kedar : The five most important temples of Lord Shiva in Garhwal Himalayas.
The Kedar Massif : This is an outstanding massif formed by the three major
Bharatekuntha : At 6578 mtrs, Bharatekuntha is connected to Kedarnath to the East,
by a long and dangerous avalanche ridden ridge. At 6000 meters it looks stunning and
has several glacial flows, one of which is the Mandakini glacier.
Shankracharya Samadhi : It is believed that after establishing the Chardham
Shankracharya went in to samadhi here.
Badrinath is a must visit. It is almost 41 km from Kedarnath (direct distance).
Best Season to Visit : Temple is open only for six months every year. Time to visit is
usually May to November (because of the unpredictable climate it is always beneficial
to gather the latest weather report).
Badrinath, Tours to India, India Tours, India TourCradled in the twin mountain ranges
of Nar and Narayan, Badrinath is the holiest of the four main shrines. Badrinath is
situated along the right bank of the river Alaknanda. With the splendid Neelkanth
mountains as the backdrop, the shrine is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver and
falls in the religious itinerary of every devout Hindu. The present temple at Badrinath
dates back to the time of Sri Shankaracharya who also founded a Math here in the 8th
century AD. Facing the Badrinath temple is a hot water spring known as 'Tapta Kund'.
Other famous thermal springs are the Narad Kund and the Surya Kund. With its great
scenic beauty and attractive recreational spots in the vicinity, Badrinath attracts an
ever increasing number of secular visitors each year.
Sightseeing at Badrinath The Temple Complex : There are 15 idols in the temple complex. Finely sculpted in
black stone, the Badrinath (Vishnu) image is a metre high. Other images include those
of Laxmi (Vishnu's consort), Garurh (Vishnu's mount), Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh etc.
Tapt Kund : Natural thermal springs on the bank of the river Alaknanda, where it is
customary to bathe before entering the Badrinath temple.
Badrinath Temple, Tours to India, India Tours, India Tour
Narad Kund : A recess in the river, near Tapt Kund, forming a pool from where the
Badrinath idol was recovered.
Brahma Kapal : A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda. Hindus perform
propitiating rites for their deceased ancestors.
Sheshnetra : 1.5 km away is a boulder having an impression of the legendary snake,
better known as the Sheshnag's eye.
Charanpaduka : 3 km away is a beautiful meadow where the footprint of Lord Vishnu
is seen on a boulder.
Neelkanth : A pyramidal shaped snowy peak (6,59 7mt) towering above Badrinath,
presents a dramatic sight. It is popularly known as the 'Garhwal Queen'.
Best Season to Visit : May to October.
Gangotri TempleGangotri glacier, situated at an altitude of 3042 mtrs, is the ritual
source of the Ganges. The original source is the glacier at Gaumukh ten miles
upstream. According to mythology, Goddess Ganga - the daughter of heaven,
manifested herself in the form of a river to absolve the sins of king Bhagirath's
predecessors .The Gangotri shrine is situated at an elevation of 3200 metres amidst
Deodar and Pine forests. It is believed that Raja Bhagirath used to worship Lord Shiva
on a slab of rock called "Bhagirath Shila" which is situated near the temple.
Submerged in the river is a natural rock Shivalinga, where according to the mythology
Lord Shiva sat when he received the Goddess Ganga in his matted locks. Prepare
yourself for some trekking as the trek might take four days to reach the mouth of the
Gangotri Temple : The 18th century Gangotri Temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga is
a 20 ft. high structure made of white granite. The Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa
constructed it in 18th Century, and according to Hindu mythology the Pandavas
performed a yajna here to atone the death of their kinsmen in the battle of
Himachal Pradesh Travel
Himachal PradeshPlan a trip to Himachal Pradesh – the beautiful and exotic land
surrounded by Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Punjab and Tibet. Explore
the nature at its best with Himachal Pradesh Tour Packages. Indulge in trekking,
mountaineering, fishing, para gliding, skiing, ice-skating and golf on your tour to
Himachal Pradesh. Travel to the beautiful hill stations of Himachal Pradesh. Tour
through Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Dalhousie on your trip to Himachal Pradesh and know
Himchal Pradesh more elaborately then now.
Encompassing numerous amazing places of interest and attractions, Himachal Pradesh
is a must visit destination for the nature and adventure loving tourists. Housing
innumerous nourishing hill stations, which are particularly cool in summers,
Himachal Pradesh is one destination in Indian which finds a place in all the tourist
itineraries. Shimla, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Kullu, Manali and Kufri are a few of the
hill Stations in Himachal Pradesh which offer breathtaking vistas and unlimited
options of adventure sports. Dharamshala, where the Dalai Lama lives, is another vital
centre on the tourist map.
Built in the mid-18th century, Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh was
highly popular among the British royalty after it was named the 'Summer Capital of
India'. Shimla in Himachal Pradesh is a picturesque destination dotted with picture
postcard bungalows and shops made of stone. A perfect hideaway for romance or to
go on a leisure or rejuvenating holiday.
For complete geographical diversity, few places in the world are as richly blessed as
Himachal Pradesh in India. Low rolling hills, just a couple of hundred metres above
sea level, climb on to touch the core of the Himalaya mountains. Here lie peaks that
are several thousand metres high and never lose their perennial snows. Himachal
Pradesh perched amidst frozen mountains, evergreen valleys and murmuring streams
lures tourists from all over the world.
Such is the beauty of Himachal Pradesh, that no land can match it on this earth. Rivers
cascading in deep gorges and placid mountain lakes, thick forests, mountainsides
draped with snow, and green stretches of Alpine meadows, all form a part of this
immense spectrum - Himachal.
Manali is a major tourist’s town located in Himachal Pradesh. It is a popular
honeymoon destination and it is an ideal site for adventure lovers. This small town
lies in Kullu District. Manali is situated at a height of 1950 metres above the sea level.
It is one of the renowned hill resort destination, where the tourists can find some
excellent hotels to stay.
Fact File:
Area: 5.12 sq. km.
Population: 6265 (2001)
Altitude: 1950 metres
Languages: Hindi, English, Panjabi, Himachali
Best Season to Visit : May to October
Climate : The climate of Manali almost remains pleasant throughout the year. In the
winters (in the month of December to February), the place remain drenched with
snowfall. While the temperature remains pleasant for touring in Manali in the
Location : Kullu is 40 Kms from Manali. It is situated at an elevation of 2625 metres
above the sea level.
Places to Stay : The tourists can find a lot of luxury hotels in Manali. These hotel
ensures high class accommodation to the tourist in Manali
Sightseeing at Manali Hadimba Temple : The Hadimba Temple is a four-story wooden temple. It is situated
in the middle of the forest popularly called as Dhungiri Van Vihar.
Temple Of Manu : Manu is a fascinating temple where it was believed that sage Manu
came in this area for meditation. You have to walk through the slippery stones to
reach to this fascinating temple.
Arjun Gufa : Arjuna Gufa is a cave which is located in the village of Prini, 5 Kms
from Manali. It is a major tourist attraction centre, since time immortal.
Rohtang Pass :The Rohtang Pass is 51 km from Manali. It is located at an altitude of
4112 metres. It offers the best panoramic view of the mountain peaks and rising sun
ShimlaShimla is located in the heart of Himalayas and in the state, Himachal Pradesh.
Shimla is the capital city of the state, Himachal Pradesh and it is often called as the
“Queen of Hills”. The snow-capped peaks, lush green forest, picturesque waterfalls
and the majestic Himalayas are some of the attractions in Shimla that have never
failed to allure the travelers, since time immemorial.
Fact File:
Area: 25 sq. km.
Population: 163000 (2001)
Altitude: 2397 meters
Languages: Hindi, English
Climate : The climate of Shimla remains almost pleasant throughout the year. In the
summers, the temperature remains moderately warm. It varies from 14º C to 20º C.
While in the winter, the temperature varies between -7º C to 10º C. In the months of
December and January, the place remains covered with snow.
Location : Shimla is situated in the north-western ranges of Himalayas. It halts at an
average height of 2397 above the sea level.
Places to Stay : Many luxury hotels in Shimla ensure a comfortable stay in the city.
Places to see :
Kali Bari Temple : This fascinating temple is located in Few yards from scandal Point
near General Post Office.
Jakhoo Temple : This fascinating temple is dedicated to "Lord Hanuman". Hire taxi’s
are available to visit this temple.
State Museum : In this museum, you can witness ancient historical sculptors and
paintings of Himachal Pradesh.
Chadwick Falls : It is a beautiful falls surrounded by thick forest.
Jammu and Kashmir Travel
Jammu & Kashmir the paradise of India, a world-class tourist attractive spot, is a
combination of striking mountains, composed lakes capturing the sky overhead, lush
green gardens and lip punching cuisines. A trip to this northern most state Jammu and
Kashmir gives its visitors an experience of heaven while staying on earth. Kashmir is
that place of India famous for houseboats. The place is rich with a number of
meaningful mosques, temples, forts and Mughal gardens. Jammu is the second largest
city of the Jammu & Kashmir placed just 290 km far from the capital city Srinagar.
From October onwards Jammu becomes a pleasant destination for tourist than before.
However the best time to visit to Kashmir is from May to September.
Majority of the residing people of Kashmir are Muslims whereas Hindu also
dominates in some regions of Jammu. Sanskrit and Indo-Arian languages inspire the
Kashmiri speech, a large population inhabits in the lower accomplishment of the
valley. In the summer season a large array of adventurous sports as water skiing is
being organized in the Kashmir valley. Trout fishing is a kind of water sport lasts in
all the fishing season as well as the summer.
Kashmir Hub invites all the visitors of Jammu and Kashmir to experience the beauty
and glory of the spot. The exciting colors of the flowers of garden in Kashmir Hub is
accountable in making the place a Paradise on earth. Nature has blessed Kashmir with
all the incredible belongings of the terrain. Dal Lake in Srinagar is the luring feature
of the place. Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg are popular among themselves for
making the place trekking destinations.
Raghunath Temple, Bahu Fort, Peer Baba, Mubarak Mandi Palace, Katra, Pahalgam,
Hemis Gompa, Namgyal Tsemo Gompa and Shanti Stupa are some most famous
tourist objectives of Jammu & Kashmir. A tour to Jammu and Kashmir gives its
visitors the feeling that nature has been universally generous to the land. Ladakh, on
the other hand is an alien piece of land away from the clutter and clamor. In a nutshell
Jammu and Kashmir is categorized as the first Himalayan state with three regions: the
foothill bare of Jammu, the blue valleys of Kashmir and the starkly mountains of
Ladakh welcomes a huge gathering of travelers every year for a wild exploration.
Royal Palace - LehLeh is one of the favorite tourist destinations located in the
northernmost parts of the country. The capital of the Ladakh district, Leh is towards
the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Lapped in the snow-covered fringes of the
Himalayas, Leh has been the center of Tibetian-Buddhist culture since ages. It's
Gompas have attracted devout Buddhists from all over the world. Besides, it is also a
favourite trekking and hiking spot and is known for some of the best hikes and treks
in the country.
Sightseeing at Leh Leh Palace : A miniature version of the Potala in Lhasa, the Leh Palace is one of the
major attractions here. The palace was built in the 17th century and is now dilapidated
and deserted. It was the home of the royal family until they were exiled to Stok in the
1830s. Above the palace, at the top of the Namgyal hill, is the Victory Tower, built to
commemorate Ladakh's victory over the Balti Kashmir armies in the early 16th
The Namgyal Tsemo Gompa : Built in 1430, it consists of a three-story high Buddha
image and ancient manuscripts and frescoes. The fort above this gompa is ruined, but
the views of Leh from here are breathtakingly beautiful.
Sankar Gompa : The Sankar gompa is located a couple of kilometers north of the
town center. The gompa belongs to the Gelukpa order and has an impression of the
Buddhist deity Avalokiteshwara Padmahari or Chenresig.
Shanti Stupa : The Shanti Stupa was built by a Japanese order and was opened by the
Dalai Lama in 1985. One can view the exotic locales nearby from here. The stupa is
located at a distance of 3 km from the Fort Road.
Alchi Gompa : Seventy kilometers from Leh, on the banks of river Indus, is the Alchi
gompa dating back to the 11th century. It is a famous monastery with a widely
renowned collection of paintings.
Hemis Gompa : At a distance of 45 km south of Leh, Hemis is one of the biggest
gompas in Ladakh. Built in 1630, it belongs to the red sect, Brokpa.
Ruins of Leh Gompa Matho Gompa : Situated on the opposite bank of the Indus
across Thikse, the Matho gompa was established in the first half of the 16th century
and has a valuable collection of old and beautiful thangkas, some in the form of
'mandalas.' Its annual festival of oracles in early March is an important event in the
Ladakhi religious calendar.
Shey Gompa : Until the 16th century, the Shey gompa was the royal residence. It is
located at a distance of 15 km south of Leh. This Palace Monastery has the largest
statue of Maitreya Buddha (the Buddha to come) in Ladakh.
Spituk Gompa : At a distance of 8 km from Leh, standing majestically on top of a
hillock overlooking the Indus Valley, lies the Spituk Gompa. It was built in the 15th
century and houses a collection of ancient masks, antique arms, icons and thangkas.
Higher up the hill is the Mahakal Temple, containing the shrine of Vajrabhairava.
Hemis National Park : Hemis High-Altitude National Park in Leh is the largest highaltitude reserve of India. This is a place worth visiting.
Best Season to Visit : The climate of this region is one of the extremes (-40 degrees in
winters). March to September is the best time to visit Leh.
Reaching Leh Air : There are regular flights from Delhi to Leh that are run by the Indian Airlines.
There are direct flights once a week from Leh to Srinagar and twice a week to Jammu.
The Delhi flights are overbooked throughout the year.
Road : There are two overland routes to Leh-the roads from Srinagar and Manali. The
Leh-Srinagar road is usually open from June to October, while the Leh-Manali route
is open from July to September.
Ladakh FieldsLadakh, the largest of the ten provinces of Jammu and Kashmir is
bordered by the Karakorm chain of mountains in the north and Himalayas in the
south. Ladakh is the land of towering mountains and Buddhist simplicity. It's beautiful
terrains and mountains beckons the adventurous tourist for trekking and
mountaineering. The land of jagged peaks and barren landscapes, it is at once alluring
and awe-inspiring. Hidden behind this harsh and forbidding facade is an ancient
civilization with captivating people. The great Indus river flows right through Ladakh.
The province is divided into Leh, the capital, Nubra, Zanskar, lower Ladakh and
Sightseeing at Ladakh
Leh : Leh, The capital of Ladakh since the 14th Century is situated at an altitude of
11000 ft. Leh is also a favourite hiking locale and is known for some of the best hikes
in the country. The main attraction is the nine storey Leh Palace (Built by Sing ge
Namgyal in 16th century) and Tsemo (Victory Peak) built by Tashi Namgyal. The
other places of importance are the Sanskar Monastery, Shanti Stupa Zoravar Fort etc.
It is also the main business centre of Ladakh. Leh can be subdivided into four main
tourist circuits:
Dha-Hanu : It is at a distance of 150 - 170 kms from Leh and is situated at an altitude
of 10000 ft. It is the Land of the "Drok-Pa"an Indo Aryan race. Only two villages Dha
& Biama are open for tourists. Their cultural and religious practices are totally
different from the rest of Ladakh. Bon-Chos believe in an ancient Pre-Buddhist
animist religion known as "Bon-Chos".These people abstained from bathing all their
lives saying that " If you wash your self,your luck goes away" but since the last few
years this practise is beginning to fade away.It has much to offer to scholars in the
field of Ethnology&Social Anthropology.
Central Ladakh :This area around river Indus extends from Upshi to Khaltse. This is a
very beautiful area with lots of Monasteries and villages. The capital of Ladakh (Leh)
also comes under this area. The major attractions are the nine storey Palace (Leh), the
Palace Museum of Stok, Hemis, Thiksey, Chemrey, Phyang, Lamayuru, Spituk,
Ridzong, Alchi Monasteries and villages of Basgo, Nimoo, Sanskar etc.
Nubra Valley :Popularly known as the "Ldomra" or the valley of flowers, it is situated
at an altitude of about 10000 ft. The major attraction is the world's highest road
('Khardong la' at 18,380 ft). The capital of Nubra, Diskit is 118 km from Leh. It has a
beautiful monastery(founded in 1420) on the hilltop just above the village. Seven
kms. from Diskit is the village of Hunder which is very famous for double hump
camels, found only in Central Asia and Nubra Valley. Other attractions are the
villages of Trith, Sumur, Tegar (Samstangling Monastery ) and Panamik (hot springs).
Eight kms from Panamik is Ensa Monastery which is 250 years old and accessible
only after a trek of 3-4 hours.
Ladakh VillageChangthang Area :The land of nomad. These tribes are called the
"Khampas" or "Chamgpas". There are two race of nomads, one is the 'Ladakhi
Nomads' and the other 'Tibetan nomads'. Tibetain nomads wear yak skin and live in
movable tents. They can be seen moving around with their herds of yaks, goats,
sheep, and cows in search of pasture lands. The area is also famous for its wild life.
You may see snow leopards, foxes, wolves wild asses, antelopes, marmots and even
some endangered species of birds like the bar headed goose, crested grebe, brahimi
ducks, etc.
Zanskar :The Land of Religion, it is noted for its high ranges, fine Gompas and
hospitable people. It has the largest number of Gompas in Ladakh region outside the
Indus Valley. The land was virtually untouched until recently. It is now a popular
destination for adventurous treks. The famous peaks of Nun & Kun are in Zanskar.
Padum is the the main habitation and subdivisional headquarter. Nearby are two
famous Gompas of Stagrimo & Pibithing. A two hour trek from Padum takes one to
Karsha Gompa (16th Century).This is the largest and the wealthiest Gompa of this
region. Other interesting Gompas of this region are - Sani (6kms from Padum),
Stongdey(18kms), Bardan(12kms) and the Phugtal Gompa.
Suru Valley : The Suru Valley one of the prettiest regions of Ladakh, stretches for 140
kms beyond Kargil to the Penzi La pass, the point of entering into the Zanskar valley.
Its verdant hills are intensively cultivated. Enough snow and water during the year
sustain two crops annually. The valleys are especially picturesque in spring when they
are the Sankoo-Panikhar tract is magnificent. The open valley adorned with
undulating alpine meadows strewn with wild flowers, groves of poplars and willows
are set against the majestic backdrop of the Himalayan peaks dusted with snow.
Pangong Tso This high salt-water lake, considered to be the highest salt-water lake in
the world (certainly in Ladakh!), is at 4300 mtrs in elevation, and is surrounded by
mountain peaks over 6500 mtrs high. The lake is extremely long, about 150 km long,
but is only a couple of miles (2 km or so) wide -- basically, shaped like a pencil.
Best Season to Visit : June to October.
Reaching Ladakh
Air : Indian Airlines operates flight from Delhi to Ladakh four times a week. It also
has flight arrangements from Chandigarh to Leh. Tourists usually prefer to travel to
Leh by air. The flight path will take you directly above the Zanskar valley giving a
beautiful look of the most of the other ranges.
Road : The Manali-Leh road has served as the primary land approach to Ladakh. The
traffic starts around mid-June and continues till early October. Himachal Pradesh state
road transport corporation and J & K state road transport corporation all operate
deluxe and ordinary bus services between Manali and Leh. It takes approximately 19
hours from Manali to Leh depending on weather conditions.
Srinagar is a city of great antiquity. Srinagar is the summer state capital of Jammu and
Kashmir and is the pride of the beautiful valley of Kashmir. Srinagar is renowned for
its simmering lakes and the charming rows of houseboats floating on them. It is also
known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dry fruits. Located in the western part
of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in the northern region of India Srinagar is about
876 kms north of Delhi. The river Jhelum passes through Srinagar city. TheLake in
Srinagar weather in Srinagar is alpine. Summers (April-June) are mild and winters are
cold (November-February). It experiences heavy snowfall in December-February.
Srinagar is the place for an aquatic sports enthusiast who are crazy for kayaking,
canoeing, water surfing and angling.
Sightseeing at Srinagar The Valley of Kashmir : The valley of Kashmir, in which Srinagar is located, is also
referred to as being a heaven on earth. It is beauty is so charming that the Mughal
emperor Jahangir was so captivated by the beauty of this valley that he exclaimed
"Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto", meaning - "If there
is a heaven on earth, it's here, it's here, it's here." Srinagar is one very loved tourist
destination in India.
The Dal Lake : Dal Lake is a major tourist attraction in Srinagar. Located on the
eastern end of the city, the Dal Lake comprises of a series of lakes, including the
Nagin Lake some 8 kms from the city center. One can enjoy the panoramic view of
the mountains dotting Srinagar from this lake. You can enjoy taking a ride on
traditional Kashmiri boats or the Shikaras to discover the intricate network of
waterways of this lake.
The Mughal Gardens : The other major attractions of Srinagar city are the well laid
out Mughal styled gardens. The Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh are beautiful
gardens set to the far eastern side of the Dal Lake. One can take a stroll through these
green and attractive gardens and enjoy the waterworks within them.
The Temple of Shankaracharya : The temple of Shankaracharya is another important
place to visit in Srinagar. Jaluka, the son of emperor Ashoka, built it in the 3rd
century BC.
Best Season to Visit : The best time to visit Srinagar is during summers between April
and June. Heavy woolens are required in Srinagar.
Reaching Srinagar Air : Srinagar is well connected by air with Delhi. There is a daily flight to Delhi via
Jammu by Indian airlines. There are weekly flights operated by Indian Airlines for
Leh from Srinagar.
Rail : Srinagar does not have a railway station and the nearest railhead is Jammu
Tawi, which is 305 km from Srinagar.
Road : Srinagar is well connected by road to important places like Chandigarh (630
km), Delhi (876 km), Jammu (298 km), Leh, Kargil, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, and
Pahalgam. touristplacesinindia can arrange for you all types of land transport for your
comfortable journey in Srinagar and throughout the Indian state of Jammu and
Gulmarg or "the Meadow of Flowers," is a charming hill station at 2,653 m, situated
at a distance of 51 km from Srinagar, amidst tall pines, gigantic firs and the snowmoulded mountains. As the month of spring arrives, the slopes get a carpet of daisies,
buttercups, blue bells and other blooms, making the surroundings appealing. The
Mughal Emperor is said to have once collected as many as 21 different varieties of
flowers at Gulmarg.
With the arrival of winter, Gulmarg is transformed into a Zion for skiing, skating and
tobogganing. The resort has a 2,000 m long ropeway and boasts of having a highest
golf course in the world. The buses go directly up to Gulmarg in summer and in
winter too, provided the road is clear. An 11 km circular walk girdling Gulmarg runs
through pine scented woods which offers panoramic views of Naga Parbat, the
Harmukh and the sunset peaks in the north.
Trekking : Gulmarg makes an excellent base for trekking in the northern Pir Panjal
Range. Nanga Parbat can be seen to the north from several view points, including
Khilanmarg, west and over 1,500 ft up the forested hillside from Gulmarg. From a
distance, the Pir Panjal appears somewhat rounded, but when you are actually walking
up its slopes, you will find that its smoother peaks rise above evergreen clad slopes
that seem quite equal in steepness to those of the main Himalayas.
Golf Courses In Gulmarg : Situated at an altitude of 2,650 m, Gulmarg has got the
highest green golf course in the world. The layout of the course is quiet striking and
the layout is similar to a normal golf course with land slopes and inclines along the
complete area of the course, which has a par of 72.
GulmargSkiing Adventure In Gulmarg : Gulmarg is also considered among the best
skiing resorts in India. Ski enthusiasts can easily find out all required gear and
equipments as well as professional ski instructors in Gulmarg, to try out a hand on
skiing. The longest ski run in Gulmarg is provide by the Gondola Cable Car, where
skiers can swoosh down the slopes from the height of 2, 213 m.
River in JammuJammu district derives its name from the city of Jammu which besides
being the winter capital of the state, is known as the city of temples. It is believed that
the city was originally founded by Raja Jamboo Lochan, which came to be known as
"Jamboo" after his own name. With the passage of time and due to its frequent use the
pronunciation of the name got slightly distorted and the city, came to be known as
'Jammu' as it is called now.
Jammu is a land of grand ancient temples, and beatiful palaces. All nestling in the
foothills of the Himalayas, Jammu is justly famous for its temples. Infact it is known
as the city of temples and the every fame of it tends to overshadow its palaces, forts,
forests and powerful ziarats. Besides, Jammu is also a paradise to those who love trekking, skiing, and Aero-sports.
Sightseeing at Jammu Mata Vaishno Devi Temple : The holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi here attracts
more than 4.5 million pilgrims every year. Katra Town, lying in the foot of Trikuta
Mountains, 48 kms. from Jammu, serves as the base camp for visiting the famous
shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, which is accessible on foot along a 13 kms long
well laid footpath. The cave shrine of Mata Vasihnodeviji or Trikuta Bhagwati at an
altitude of 5,200 ft. holds great significance for the pilgrims.
Raghunath Temple : Situated in the heart of the city and surrounded by a group of
other temples, this temple dedicated to Lord Rama is outstanding and unique in
Northern India. Work on the temple was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh, founder of
the Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir in 1835 AD.
Ranbireshwar temple : Built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1883 AD, Ranbireshwar
Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, which is located on the Shalimar Road near the
New Secretariat. It has one central 'Lingam' rising 7.5 ft.upwards.
Amarmahal : Amarmahal is a beautiful palace of red sand stone which stands amidst
the most enchanting surroundings of Jammu. From here you will find a scenic view of
the Shiwaliks at the north and the beautiful River Tawi, which flows down below.
Bahufort :About 5 kms from Jammu city, nestled on a rock face on the left bank of the
river Tawi, this fort is perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in the city. It is said to have
been constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago.
Mansar Lake : A beautiful lake fringed by forest-covered hills. Boating facilities are
also available here.
Jammu Best Season to Visit : Through out the Year.
Reaching Jammu Air : Jammu is well connected to the rest of India by air. Both Indian Airlines and Jet
Airways operate daily flights to Jammu. The average flying time from New Delhi is
about 80 minutes.
Rail : One can also reach Jammu by rail. Jammu is connected to other parts of country
on broad gauge and numerous passenger trains ply from various parts of the country
to Jammu.
Road : Jammu is well connected through road also to rest of India. National Highway
No. 1A passes through Jammu towards Srinagar. Regular bus services from all major
North Indian cities are available for Jammu as well as Katra. Many standard and
deluxe buses of various State Road Transport Corporations as well as private
operators connect Jammu with important cities and towns of North India.
Nearly five thousand years back flourished India's first major civilisation along the
Indus River valley. The twin cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa now in Pakistan
were ruled by priests and held the rudiments of Hinduism. These civilisations are
known to possess a sophisticated lifestyle, a highly developed sense of aesthetics, an
astonishing knowledge of town planning and an undecipherable script language. The
Indus civilization at one point of time extended nearly a million square kilometres
across the Indus river valley. It existed at the same time as the ancient civilizations of
Egypt and Sumer but far outlasted them. Surviving for nearly a thousand years the
Indus valley civilisation fell to tectonic upheavals in about 1700 BC, which caused a
series of floods.
The coming of the Aryans around 1500 BC, gave the final blow to the collapsing
Indus Valley civilisation. At the dawn of Vedic ages the Aryans came in from the
North and spread through large parts of India bringing with them their culture and
religious beliefs. The Four Vedas or the important books of Hinduism were compiled
in this period.
In 567 B.C. the founder of the Buddhist Religion Gautama Buddha was born. During
this time lived Mahavira, who founded the Jain Religion. The Indian subcontinent is
full of caves and monuments devoted to these religions and are worth a visit.
Two hundred years later, in the 4th century B.C., Emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest
King of Indian history, led the Mauryan Empire to take over almost all of what is now
modern India. This great leader embraced Buddhism and built the group of
monuments at Sanchi (a UNESCO world heritage site). The Ashoka pillar at Sarnath
has been adopted by India as its national emblem and the Dharma Chakra on the
Ashoka Pillar adorns the National Flag.
They were followed by the Guptas in the north, while in the south part of India
several different Hindu empires, the Cholas, the Pandyas and the Cheras spread and
grew, trading with Europe and other parts of Asia till the end of the 1100s.
Christianinty entered India at about the same time from Europe. Legend has it that St.
Thomas the Apostle arrived in India in 52 A.D. Even earlier than that people of the
Jewish religion arrived on India's shores.
In approximately the 7th century A.D. a group of Zoroastrians, or Parsees, landed in
Gujarat and became a part of the large mix of religions in India today, each of which
adds its important and distinctive flavour.
In the 15th century Guru Nanak laid the foundation of the Sikh religion in Punjab.
In 1192, Mohammed of Ghori, a ruler from Afghanistan, came into India and captured
several places in the north including Delhi. When he went home he left one of his
generals in charge who became the first Sultan of Delhi. During this time Islam, was
introduced into a major part of Northern India. It may be mentioned that even before
that, just after the period of the prophet, Islam was brought to the western coast of
India by Arab traders and flourished in what is now Kerala.
The Dehli Sultanate gradually took control of more and more of North India over the
next 200 years, till Timur, who was called "Timur the Lame" or "Tamberlane" came
from Turkey in 1398 to attack India. He and his army stole all the valuables that they
could carry and left again, and after that the Delhi Sultanate was never so strong
again. Soon the Mughals, who were from Iran, came in and took control of the north.
In the meantime south , in 1336, the Hindu Vijayanagar empire was set up and
became very strong.
The Europeans - Portuguese, French, Dutch, Danish and British - started arriving in
the early 1600s. All of them held territories in India and made friends and enemies
among India's rulers as they got more and more involved, with the Indian politics, but
it was the British who eventually controlled most of India and finally made it one of
their colonies.
India got its independence from Britain in 1947 after a long struggle led mostly by
Mahatma Gandhi. In the process of becoming independent, India became, two
countries instead of one. In the years since independence India has made huge
progress and coped with great problems, and has developed its industry and its
agriculture, and has maintained a system of government which makes it the largest
democracy in the world.
Mechanism to promote Indian tourism
According to spending data released by Visa Asia Pacific4 in March 2006, India
emerged as the fastest-growing market in the Asia-Pacific in terms of international
tourist spending. The data revealed that international tourists spent US$ 372 million in
India in the fourth quarter (October-December) of 2005, 25% more than in the fourth
quarter of 2004. China, which came second in the region, was successful in making
international tourists fork out US$ 784 million in Q4 2005, a growth of 23% over its
Q4 2004 figures. The tourist spending figures for India would have pleased the Indian
tourism ministry, which had been targeting the high-end market through its longrunning 'Incredible India' communication campaign.
Also, the fact that India was able to earn around half of what China could, in spite of
attracting only a fraction of the number of tourists that its neighbor managed to lure,
indicated that the campaign had been successful in achieving its objective.
The 'Incredible India' campaign was an integrated marketing communication effort to
support the Indian tourism industry's efforts to attract tourists to the country.
The campaign projected India as an attractive tourist destination by showcasing
different aspects of Indian culture and history like yoga, spirituality, etc. The
campaign was conducted globally and received appreciation from tourism industry
observers and travelers alike.
However, the campaign also came in for criticism from some quarters. Some
observers felt that it had failed to cover several aspects of India which would have
been attractive to the average tourist.
Others felt that it would have been better to build the necessary tourism infrastructure
before launching the marketing campaign, especially as, according to them, much of
this infrastructure was on the verge of falling apart. Still others were of the view that
India was not on the itinerary of millions of tourists not so much because the country
was unable to market itself, but more because of poor connectivity, exorbitant taxes,
visa problems, unsanitary conditions, and shortage of affordable, good quality
accommodation. Some of them even argued that the future of the Indian tourism
industry depended more on solving the infrastructure problems rather than on an
extravagant communication campaign.
The Campaigning
Before 2002, the Indian government regularly formulated policies and prepared
pamphlets and brochures for the promotion of tourism; however, it did not support
tourism in a concerted fashion (Refer Exhibit I for the tourism policy initiatives of the
GoI). As a result, the country attracted very few tourists.
A country like France, six times smaller than India, attracted around 20 times the
number of tourists that India managed to draw (Refer Exhibit II for the world's top ten
tourist destinations). That this was the case in spite of France not being able to offer
the sheer variety in terms of geography, cuisine, culture, and experiences that India
could, was perhaps an indication of the extent to which previous governmental efforts
to promote tourism had been unsuccessful. However, in 2002, the tourism ministry
made a conscious effort to bring in more professionalism in its attempts to promote
tourism. It formulated an integrated communication strategy with the aim of
promoting India as a destination of choice for the discerning traveler.
The tourism ministry engaged the services of Ogilvy & Mather (India) (O&M) to
create a new campaign to increase tourist inflows into the country. The 'Incredible
India' campaign, as it was called, was launched in 2002 with a series of television
commercials and print advertisements.
Travel industry analysts and tour operators were appreciative of the high standards of
the 'Incredible India' campaign. "The promo campaign is making a powerful visual
impact and creating a perception of India being a magical place to visit," said Anne
Morgaon Scully, President, McCabeBremer Travel, Virginia, USA. Average travelers
too appeared to find the campaign interesting and informative, going by the favorable
comments on blogs on travel websites.
The 'Incredible India' campaign, an initiative by the Indian government to promote
tourism, has won the World Travel Award 2009 for being the best campaign of the
The reigning Miss World, Ksenia Kukhinova of Russia, presented the award to India's
Tourism Minister, Kumari Selja at a gala function held at the Grosvenor House here.
Selja, who is here to participate in the World Travel Market, also received the Asian
Guild Award for promoting the 'Incredible India' campaign at a function held at the
House of Lords last evening.
The Award and Fellowship of the Asian Guild was presented to her by Lord Peter
Archer of Sandwell.
The Guild also bestowed the Fellowship on Jagdish Chander, Director, India Tourist
Office here for his "hard work to carry out the conviction of Incredible India
Campaign in the UK.
"Suresh Joshi, Joint Director General of the Asian Guild, said "Incredible India has
enriched the status of the Asian in British Society by broadening the tradition and
culture of India.
Incredible India initiative was conceived in the year 2002, when we decided to brand
the country as a unique, vibrant and inclusive identity. Through this branding, an
attempt was made to create a distinct image for the country.
Marketing of services means the marketing of only 0.39% of the world tourism trade.
India different intangible service needs of customers. employs nearly 10 million
people in this This is nothing but the sale of some services. industry making it the
second largest employer In this paper, a trial has been made to study the of the
country. Recent political unrest, fear of state of marketing of tourism services in
violence, terrorism, strikes and epidemics etc. India :- the state of foreign and
domestic are detrimental to our tourism business. tourists and the related trend, the
share of India However, considering the recent development, in the world tourism
business, the employment it is hoped that India will get her due share in opportunities
rendered by this industry world tourism. alongwith the availability of different
Marketing of Tourism Services include infrastructural facilities like hotel, mainly the
services sold to domestic and transportation etc. The paper ventilates someforeign
tourists. The domestic tourism is an of the problems of Indian tourism market and
important segment of the overall tourist suggests some improvements. scenario
although no reliable data are available Tourism involves travelling to relatively in this
regad. It is relatively easy to keep record undisturbed or uncontaminated natural areas
of foreign tourists as they are registered at entry with the specific objects of studying,
admiring points like international airports which is not and enjoying the scenery and
its wild flora and possible in case of domestic tourists. The fauna, as well as other
existing cultural and number of domestic tourists, according to a historical aspects. A
visit with a motto to know rough estimate, was 348 million in 1987 which these areas
is nothing but tourism. Places of rose to 81 million in 1993 and over 100 million
tourist interest are numerous and of varied in 2001. Domestic tourism fosters a sense
of nature. These include places of archeological unity in otherwise diverse
environment of the and historical importance, pilgrimage centres, country and
contributes to national integration. sanctuaries, national parks, hill resorts and sea
Even if 10% of the population travels outside beaches, etc. The paper has been
prepared on the native state, it involves a massive the basis of the secondary published
data which movement of nearly 10 crore people who show that since 1950 the tourism
industry of develop the fillings that they are travelling India is expanding. The number
of foreign within their own country. Larger income and tourists have been increased
to more than 21 longer holidays coupled with certain incentives lakhs by 2001. India
has a minimal share of given by public and private organisations to their workers,
have contributed a lot in infusing number of women in hotels, airlines services,
interest to look around to a place for an annual travel agencies, handicrafts making
and or bi-annual visit with family members. Even marketing and cultural activity
centres. As per though India has a very meager share amounting 1983-84 indices the
employment output ratio in tourism was 71, whereas in leather 51, to 0.38 percent of
tourists and 0.51 percent of the amount of world tourism trade in 2001, it textiles 27,
electricity 14, beverages 12 and cement 6. Generally the visit of a foreign tourist has
the hope for attracting more and more foreign tourists by exploiting her unexploited to
India provides employment to one person and 6.5 domestic tourists generate one job.
tourist spots of the country. Mostly tourists from North America, Central and South
Hotel sector is the key segment of tourism America, Africa, Australia, Western
Europe, industry to earn foreign exchange. Realising Eastern Europe, West Asia,
South Asia, South the importance of hotel segment the government East Asia and East
Asia are visiting India as has taken initiatives to encourage hotel industry foreign
tourists. Out of these the share of North by providing tax benefits and other
incentives. America, Western Europe, West and South Foreign investment and
collaboration are now Asia occupies a major share in increasing facilitated under new
economic policy. The Indian tourism trade. India accounts for four hotel industry has
shown a spectacular growth out of five tourists to South Asia. Another during the last
one and half decades. The healthy trend in the foreign tourism in India number of
hotel rooms has increased from since 1991 is the conspicuous increase in 30200 in
1986 to 57386 in 1995 and to 62000 business travels with its spin off effects in up- in
1996 and to 68000 in 2001. In the approved gradation of accommodation and
introduction list of Department of Tourism the classified of new technology in
communications and other hotels are 125 in One Star, 286 Two Star, 274 services. On
an average, a foreign tourist stays Three Star, 73 Four Star, 56 Five Star, 42 Five for
about 27 days in India which is an important Star Deluxe, and 41 of heritage hotel
category. indicator of increase of the foreign exchange Inspite of rapid strides made
by the hotel earned by the country. industry since last one decade or so, the hotel
accommodation falls short of the requirement Tourism in India has vast employment
of growing inflow of the tourists. Assuming a potential, much of which still awaits
modest growth rate of 7 to 8 percent per annum, exploitation. At present about 8.5
million the requirement to hotel rooms is expected to persons are directly employed
by hospitality rise to 91,000 by 2002-03 and to 1.125 lakh services. This is about 2.4
percent of the total rooms by 2005. Besides a large number of work force of the
country. In addition, the budget hotels will be required for about 200 industry
provides indirect employment to about million strong middle class Indian tourists
also. 30 million persons. Further it is interesting to note that the employment
generation in Places of tourist interest are so numerous proportion to investment is
very high in tourism and of varied nature that it is not easy to industry. According to
an estimate, an describe these places comprehensively. These investment of Rs.10
lakh creates 89 jobs in include mostly the Himalayan Region, the great hotels and
restaurants sector as against 44.7 plain of north India, the peninsular plateau and jobs
in agriculture and 12.6 in manufacturing coastal plains. In general the tourist spots are
industry. Another important aspect of counted more like Buddhist sites, Shrines,
employment in tourism is that it employs a large Forts, places of historical
importance, hot springs, Jain monasteries, lakes and birds, violence is a death knell to
tourist industry.
sanctuaries, religious centres, science spots, Unfortunately, one part or the other of the
sea beaches, summer resorts, water falls and country is hit by bandhs, strikes, ethnic
clashes wild lives etc. In this context, a reference can and insurgency which adversely
affect our be drawn for Orissa that all above kinds of tourism service marketing.
Epidemics, such as spots are richly available to attract more and plague, AIDS and
dengue fever are also more foreign as well as domestic tourists. detrimental to the
growth of tourism. It is About 25 lakh of domestic tourists and 30000 surprising that
some small countries like foreign tourists visit Orissa annually. The share Malaysia,
Indonesia, Hongkong and get for South Orissa is 30 percent of the total tourist
Singapore have been able to attract more arrival to Orissa. Orissa has several
important tourists and better receipts than India. Even in nationally and internationally
famous tourists' terms of quality, the diminutives like Maldives centres like Puri,
Bhubaneswar, Konark, and Bhutan present an appreciable model of Cuttack, Chilika
Lake, Chandipur, Gopalpur sustainable tourism. In this context, in order to Beach etc.
The other places are Baripada, give a philip to the tourism trade the Central Khiching,
Baud, Koraput, Bolangir, Jeypore Government as well as the State Government and
Udayagiri etc. The area remains unexplored should come forward to develop some of
the because of want of infrastructural development, newly unexploited and selected
tourist places, more comfortable modes of transport, diversify some of the culture
oriented tourism accommodation etc. to holiday and leisure tourism, develop trekking,
winter sports, wild life, beach resorts Although India has progressed a lot since
tourism, launching, key markets near tourist the fifties with respect to tourism, she is
still centres, provide inexpensive accommodation way behind the developed, even the
developing and to improve service efficiency. India still countries. India earns one
seventh of China, hopes better to improve the tourism marketing one fourth of
Indonesia and less than half of services and to take an equal and more Philippines
from tourism in comparison. The challenging steps with her competitors in the
development of tourism depends upon the field more vigoursly. development of an
integrated infrastructure of national and international highways, railways, ports, civil
aviation, telecommunication, hotel accommodation and allied services. Inadequacies
of such infrastructual facilities adversely affect tourism. The sluggish growth of
Indian tourism arises from India's inability to sell effectively her rich tourist potential.
India should market itself as a value added tourism destination stressing its variety
and cost effectiveness. Satisfaction of the tourist should be the top priority of the
tourist industry. Apart from infrastructural development, tourism requires an
environment of peace and stability where the tourist is sure of his safety and security.
International tourism is around U.S.$ 5 trillion business today. India can gain a lot if it
captures even a 2% share in it to offset its recurring foreign exchange problem. India
is a land of holy cities, hill stations and monuments of cultural and historical
importance and places of sculpture and art. The country thus provides a great
opportunity for tourism for the foreign tourists. However, we are unable to exploit
tourism potential to the fullest and are not able to realize any significant level of
tourist business.
In the past, the sole responsibility of promoting and developing tourism in India
vested with the national (ITDC) and other state tourism corporations using traditional
approaches. However, with advancement in the IT and the power that the Internet
offers, the traditional marketing approach was slowly replaced by Internet based tools
such as websites of various tourism promotion agencies to develop tourism in India to
attract more and more national and international tourists. According to Poel and
Leunis (1999) Internet is an important channel of distribution for customers. Recent
studies show that the Internet is the most effective when used as an advertising and
marketing tools (Hoof, Hubert, Collins, Combrink & Verbeetn, 1995; Kasavana,
Knuston & Polonoeski, 1997; Walle, 1996). According to Burkey (1997), a website’s
content has a significant effect on advertising and marketing. The tourism industry is
using the Internet as part of its marketing efforts (Connolly, Olsen & Moore, 1998).
As is true for any other business promotion, a website is one of the most effective
tools for communication in today’s world. It is a very common and popular tool for
providing information about us, our activities, our strengths and facilities and so on to
the outside world which in turn will benefit both; us in attracting customers (tourists
in this case) and giving better understanding of prospective tourists about the tourism
opportunities in India, places to visit, various facilities available to them while on tour
and helping them know our credentials better enabling the tourists take an informed
decision. In fact, websites are fast becoming the first source of information about any
commodity a customer is looking for and tourism is no exception.
There have been many research studies conducted about the websites of the tourism
industry worldwide (Countryman, 1999; Park & Sohn, 2000) but not many have been
found to deal specifically with Indian tourism websites. The purpose of this study is to
evaluate the official websites of Indian tourism development corporations based on
the facilities and services offered by the websites.
Considering the fact that website is the first source of information to the tourist about
the tourism facilities available in India and also the fact that we are still not able to
generate significant amount of tourism business, a study of all the known websites of
various government tourist agencies were studied to find the adequacy of information
and whether they are effective in promoting tourism. An attempt was also made at
analyzing the reasons for inadequacy and ineffectiveness of the websites in achieving
the objectives, if any.
Only the known websites maintained by the government tourism agencies were
compared. There are many other privately owned and maintained websites offering
similar information. However, as it is very time consuming to search for all such sites
and also the fact that the information provided therein may not be very authentic,
such websites were not included for the purpose of this study. Though Jeong and
Lambert (1999, 2001) proposed with empirical evidence that website quality consists
of six potential dimensions; information accuracy, completeness, relevancy, clarity,
ease of use and navigation quality. However, in this context, the site content mainly
in terms of information accuracy, completeness, relevancy and clarity only were
used to evaluate the adequacy and effectiveness of the websites. All the official
websites of the tourism development corporations of India were compared for the
contents and facilities that they offer to the tourists. The following data from each
site was collected for the comparison purpose and analyzed:
1. Comparative Information – What they have
2. Interface language
3. Hyperlinks to different state/state tourism websites
4. Information about states
5. Information about
a. Tourist Season
b. Places to Visit and why
c. Connectivity
d. Packaging
e. Hospitality at different places
6. Booking Facility
a. Accommodation
i. Availability suiting different pockets
ii. Advance Booking
b. Travel
i. Modes
ii. Rush Period
iii. Availability
iv. Advance Booking
7. Money Transfer Facility
8. Safety and Security while at a specific tourist place
9. Health and Hygiene
10. Language Issue, if any.
There exist dedicated and exclusive websites of Ministry of Tourism, Government of
India and all other state tourism development corporations except for the states of
Jharkhand and Punjab. Both Jharkhand and Punjab do not have dedicated/exclusive
tourism websites. In case of Punjab the detailed information about tourism in Punjab
is available through the official website of government of Punjab
( In the case of Jharkhand, very limited information about
tourism in Jharkhand is available through the official website of Jharkhand
government (
Though most of the state tourism development corporations sites have tourism word
included in the site addresses, the official tourism website of Ministry of Tourism,
Government of India is known by the name ‘’.
Similarly, the official website of Department of Tourism, Govt. of Bihar is named
‘’. When the names of the sites do not include
anything to reflect that it is a site providing information about tourism in India it
becomes difficult for the users to locate the correct site even through Internet search
engines. In this scenario, it becomes difficult for the individuals to locate the correct
official sites and at times leading to get the information through other unofficial
websites maintained by third party.
Website promotion
Though regularly advertises tourism potential in India through TV
and other media including its website address being prominently displayed, there is
nothing much being done by other agencies to promote the official tourism website of
India/states. Hence the only source to find out the sites is through Internet search
engines such as Google. Depending on the search keywords provided by the user, the
search engines return a long list of websites including the unofficial websites leaving
the decision on the users to get the information from whichever site in the list they
want from.
A Google search for ‘tourism’ luckily returned 21 addresses of relevant official Indian
tourism websites amongst top 100 results. Amongst top 100 results for a search in
Google for ‘tourism in India’, however, did not include any official site except for
‘’ and (The official
Web sites of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India). It may please be noted that
Google search engine is intelligent enough to understand contextual searches hence
returned the sites relevant in Indian context; however, the result could be surprisingly
different if searched from other geographical locations other than India.
Website content
General Information
All the sites contain general information about India/State such as history, geography,
arts and culture, people, life style fairs and festivals, cousins and places to visit etc.
However, except for, most of the other sites do not provide
information about visa requirements and customs rules.
Interface language
Except for the national tourism website ( and tourism websites of
the Gujarat (, Kerala ( and
Maharashtra states (, the interfacing languages for
all the websites is English only. offers information in English,
Hindi, François, Japanese and Chinese. Gujarat tourism website offers information in
English, Hindi, Gujarati, François, Portuguese, Deutsch and Espanol. Kerala tourism
website offers information in English, Malayalam, François, Deutsch, Italiano and
Espanol and Maharashtra tourism website offers information in English and Japanese.
The choice of languages is limited to English and other very few languages mentioned
above as if the tourism promotion is limited to people knowing English, François,
Japanese, Portuguese, Deutsch, Espanol and Italiano only. It seems that the agencies
responsible for tourism promotion are not targeting people speaking any language
other than above languages.
Hyperlinks to different state/state tourism websites provides links
to about 37 different tourism website which includes all the regional websites.
Lakshadweep tourism website links to 21 different tourism websites. Andhra Pradesh
(AP) tourism website provides links to only two other websites which are also about
tourism potential in AP. Puducherry tourism website on the other hand provides links
to and only. The remaining majority of the
sites do not link to other similar sites.
Some of the links provided by are not correct; for example, Bihar
tourism site has wrongly been linked to Bihar Govt.’s site ( and
also to, which does not work. Similarly, AP Tourism site has
wrongly been linked to where as the correct link should
have been
Information about other states
None of the sites except provide direct information about any
other state. Some sites do provide hyper links to other state tourism sites for example
Lakshadweep tourism site provides link to maximum number of tourism websites,
which includes Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, J & K,
Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan,
Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Government of India and also to
Government of India’s directory of official websites, Chandigarh tourism provides
information about Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh with links to their sites,
Gujarat tourism website provides links to websites of Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of
India, World Travel & Tourism Council and, Himachal Pradesh
tourism site provides link to National Portal of India (, Orissa
tourism website provides links to websites of Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India. All
the remaining sites do not provide even a hyperlink to other states.
Information about Tourist Season
Information about tourist season helps the tourists plan their trips in better way, thus
making this information very vital for the people wishing to plan a tour. However,
except for Andaman and Nicobar and AP sites, no other site provides information
about the best tourist season. A misinformed tourist may plan a trip to J&K in the
winter and to Rajasthan in the summer.
Places to Visit and why
Most of the sites provide detailed information about the places to visit and why.
However, there is still scope of improving the content as recommended.
Most of the sites provide information about connectivity to different places within the
tourist region covered by the site. Some (5 sites) also provide the tourist maps.
Though most of the sites provide information about various package tours conducted
by the tourist agencies, online booking facility for the same may also be included.
In the past, guests reserved accommodation by phone, letter or fax. The process,
however, was time consuming and at times ineffective. Getting before hand
information about availability of various types of accommodation as well as online
advance booking facility from the place of the tourist is immensely helpful in
planning the tour. This eliminates the uncertainty about availability and the time and
efforts needed to search for the accommodation at an unknown place.
Availability suiting different pockets Almost all the sites provide information about
availability of accommodation suiting different pockets by providing the list of
different categories of hotels with the phone numbers. But to make real sense of this
information, it may also be linked to the websites of the hotels and other hospitality
Advance Booking, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh Tourism, Himachal Pradesh, MP,
Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamilnadu provide online accommodation facility. Most
of the other sites provide details of the available hotels along with their phone
numbers. Some also provide the details of the websites of the hotels. As most of the
tourist development corporations also own hotels at different tourist locations,
providing online booking facility for booking the accommodation in all such hotels
may help the tourists.
As is the case with accommodation, before hand information about availability of
various types of travel modes, availability of tickets to/from other destinations during
a specific season as well as advance booking facility from the place of the tourist is
also very important and can help the tourists plan the tour and book the tickets in
advance, once again eliminating the uncertainty about availability of tickets and
efforts needed to book the onward/return tickets after reaching the place. No website
provides for online bookings. There is a need for adding this feature now that
technology is available for the same.
All sites provide information about the mode of transport and how to reach etc.
However none of the sites clearly indicates the best/optimal mode.
Rush Period Except for Kerala and Lakshadweep sites, no other sites provide any
information on rush period. If this information is available, one may plan the tour
according to his/her choice, whether to go during the rush period or during the lean
Availability of travel tickets and advance booking facility Assam tourism site
provides link to various websites of domestic airlines and Indian Railways.
Bihar tourism site provides link to Air India and Indian Railways. Chandigarh tourism
site provides link to Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Air Deccan and Indian Railways.
Goa tourism site provides link to Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Air Deccan, Sahara
Air, Spice jet, Kingfisher Airlines, Air India and Konkan Railways. Gujarat tourism
site provides link to Air India and Indian Airlines. Haryana tourism site does have a
link named ‘Online Reservation’ but the resulting page is still under construction.
Himachal tourism site provides online bus ticket reservation facility. J&K tourism site
provides link to Indian Airlines and Jet Airways.
Maharashtra tourism site provides link to Kingfisher Airlines, Indian Airlines, Deccan
Airlines, Air Sahara and Indian Railways. Orissa tourism site provide link to Indian
Airlines, Air Sahara and Indian Railways. Tamilnadu tourism site provides link to
Indian Railways. Tripura tourism site provides link to Indian Airlines. Other websites
do not provide ticket availability and booking facility.
Money Transfer Facility
None of the sites provide any relevant information about money transfer facility other
than local money exchange facilities. If such facility is provided, the visitor need not
worry about carrying money.
Safety and Security while at a specific tourist place AP tourism website provides
phone number of emergency services. Delhi website provides detailed information on
Dos and Don’ts. Gujarat tourism website provides Safety precautions and emergency
information. Kerala and Maharashtra tourism websites provide Police helpline and
other emergency numbers. Puducherry tourism website provides Safety precautions
and emergency information.
Health and Hygiene
Delhi, Gujarat websites provide Health precautions and other related information.
J&K website provides list of hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare and
medical assistance. Puducherry tourism website provides health precautions and other
related information. The health precautionary information enables the tourists to come
prepared in advance and information about healthcare can be useful in case on any
unforeseen health problem. Language Issue, if any Except for Gujarat, Maharashtra
and Puducherry, no other website provides details on the local languages.
The tourism websites are not just an online channel for providing information about
tourism potential in India but also an electronic platform for generating desired
tourism business. It is an aid for both the tourist - for planning and finishing a
successful and satisfactory tour; as well as the government - for attracting more and
more tourists thereby generating more tourism business. Well designed sites with
useful and relevant information can surely help realize a significant level of tourist
The analysis of the websites revealed that many vital information components
needed to plan and successfully and peacefully complete the tour are missing from
many of the official tourism websites. There is a serious need to fill all such
information gaps to make the websites more adequate and effective to attract more
and more tourists to India in order to fully exploit the tourism potential of the
Failure of Change
The Sunday Times in one of its issues this year writes about India: “From the proud
palaces of Rajasthan to the serene backwaters of Kerala, India’s variety is
Yes, the most important unique selling points of India include the variety and beauty
of India’s mountain ranges, colorful deserts, green rain forests, virgin beaches and
holiest rivers besides its history, culture, religion and people.
Besides India has architectural wonders like the Taj Mahal, The Golden Temple,
Jama Masjid, Jain temples of Mount Abu, Khajuraho temples, The Sun Temple,
Trimurti and many more. It is also the birthplace of four great religions – Hinduism,
Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. All these makes India the greatest show on the
planet Earth and attractive to the tourists from all over the world.
It is true that though the foreign arrivals crossed the 3.37 million against 2.38 million
in 2002, the figures are still far behind our neighbours like Malaysia, Singapore, and
Thailand. In fact, Indian tourism’s share in world market is only around .05%.
But India’s failure to compete successfully with our neighbours is not so much
because of our failure on marketing front as it is because of poor infrastructure,
multiplicity of taxes, complexities and complications involved in issuance of visa
and general poor law and order situation besides the undue publicity that the country
gets due to incidents of terrorism in some parts of the country.
But we must say to the credit of the Tourism Ministry that its successful launching of
the Incredible India Campaign has led to incredible results. It is as a result of this
campaign that Indian tourism grew by 25% in volume (tourist arrivals) and 36% in
value (in U.S. Dollars terms) in 2004-2005. The success of this campaign, which is
an indispensable part of our marketing strategy, has also led to the following
India has been rated among the top 5 favourite destinations by Lonely Planet in a
survey of 134 countries and among top 5 destinations of the world by i explore. The
National Geographic Traveler has described India as “ Land of Mystery and
Majesty” and Forbes says that “ India is now one of the world’s fastest growing
travel markets.”
There is no doubt that with the unprecedented growth both in Tourism and Civil
Aviation in recent past, it is incumbent upon us to create the matching infrastructure
to avert the possibility of turning the boom into the doom.
Our 3-4 star hotels, especially in cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and
Delhi, are not only over booked but their tariffs are much higher compared to similar
hotels in neighbouring countries.
It is estimated that India is already short of about 1,50,000 hotel rooms – and this
number is going to increase with more travelers coming to India in the years to
come.The solution, so far as I can see, lies either in making available to private
entrepreneurs land on concessional rates or allowing the existing hotels to add more
rooms in the existing floors. Besides we have to have a larger number of luxury
vehicles, air taxis, shopping complexes, roads and highways etc. etc.
Also to ensure the projected growth in the field of Civil Aviation, we have to build
and expand infrastructure. The existing airports are in a mess with ever growing
passenger traffic and cargo movement. We need to have more parking bays and look
into the slot requirements of the airlines and their flight schedules.
The recent incident at Mumbai airport, in which an Air Sahara aircraft skidded off
the runway, delaying several flights for more than 2/3 days, has highlighted the need
for better facilities at our airports if we are to cope with the boom in Civil Aviation.
Currently, there are 120 airports out of which only 90 are operational. Just 10 out of
them carry a passenger load of 80%; five airports of these 10 make money in real
terms. Thus there is an urgent need for not only more but also bigger and better
airports with latest facilities of the international standards.
Medical Tourism, no doubt, has big future in India. Thousands of patients are
coming to India, particularly from the U.S., the U.K, Africa and the Middle East
countries for Bye Pass Surgery, Plastic Surgery and also for the treatment of dental
and orthopaedic ailments.
The boom in Medical Tourism in India can be attributed to comparatively less
expenses on surgeries and treatments compared to the same in more advanced
countries like U.S. and U.K. Even our doctors are among the best in the world and
the technology used by them is also among the most advanced used the world over.
The cost of a bye-pass surgery, for instance, is about 1/6 th of the expenses incurred
in the U.K. or any other advanced country. India attracted around 1,50,000 patients
from abroad in 2004 for treatment/surgeries marking a 15% growth in the Medical
Tourism segment. India has the potential to attract 10 lakh health tourists annually,
which is expected to contribute up to 5 billion U.S. Dollars to the country’s
So far as STIC Travel Group of companies is concerned we have recently entered in
Medical Tourism with a tie up with The World Healthcare Network, a US based
healthcare facilitator. STICcare, an initiative of the STIC Travel Group, and its U.S.
Partner have set up an organisation, to provide international patients access to world
class Indian treatment at a fraction of western prices.
An MOU for this purpose has already been signed between our group and the WHN.
We propose to jointly develop a network of world class hospital facilities in India
providing medical care for patients from the United States.
Some of the developments that have taken place in the Aviation sector in the past few
years are as follows: emergence of the low budget airlines like Air Deccan,
Kingfisher, Air Sahara, SpiceJet and Paramount.
a keen competition not only among the above mentioned low budget airlines
but also among them and the regular airlines – both domestic and
fall in air ticket prices as a result of this competition, which has made air travel
affordable for the common man.
the move of the airlines – both in the Public and the Private sectors to buy
more and more airplanes to add to their fleet, either through direct purchase or
leasing them from aviation companies.
steps in the direction of modernization and expansion of existing airports at
metro and non-metro cities.
a tremendous growth in aircraft movement as well as passenger traffic in
2004-05 (financial year).
In view of the above developments, one can certainly look forward to a stiffer
competition among different airlines – both low budget and regular airlines and
possible fall in the prices of air tickets for different destinations – both domestic and
Certainly the travellers deserve more both in terms of lower fares and also better
facilities. It is heartening to note that airlines are already moving in that direction.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism in India is
estimated to grow at 8.8% ahead of China over the next 10 years.
India is now one of the world’s fastest growing markets – in both directions. Revenue
from traveling to India is expected to reach U.S.$ 6 billion this year and to grow to
U.S.$ 24 billion by 2015. Indians traveling abroad are expected to spend U.S.$ 25
billion this year and U.S.$ 63 billion by 2015.
Some of the key skills required to make success in the tourism related segments are as
workable knowledge of the geographical locations globally
information on airlines – both domestic and international
the study and mastery of the culture, history, ethos of the country and its
important monuments and places of tourist interest.
command over atleast one or two foreign languages besides Hindi or English
and a good communication power.
an amicable and friendly temperament and willingness to accommodate and
basic knowledge of public relation strategies.
It is my firm belief that the only way to provide the teeming millions with gainful
employment and eradicate poverty is through tourism.
In India tourism is providing employment to over 25 million people and with proper
planning, this figure could easily double in 10 years reaching 100 million mark in the
next 15 to 20 years.
It is estimated that one out of every nine new jobs around the world will be a tourism
related job and one new job will be created in every 2.4 seconds every day for the
next several years.
It is, therefore, my suggestion that tourism should form part of the present
government’s agenda and made into a mass movement for eradication of poverty
which has been and shall remain one of the most important objectives of any
As for the institutes for training of tourism professionals, a large number of them have
already come up in the recent past in different parts of the country and more are due
in future. What is more important is not having too many institutes but maintaining
international standards and making the courses suitable for meeting the professional
needs of the industry.
Incredible India Glare
The publicity boom of `Incredible India’ is again captivating the viewers’ attention;
despite the fact that many tourists claim, it still stricken and lies in tatters. It is
weather-beaten, but the magic of Information Technology has helped its artists, tour
operators and media managers to project their country’s spectacular aesthetic beauty
as a land of fairy tales and a museum of ancient cultures to mesmerize the tourists
with their new web of snares.
The idea of indelible India is not only specific to its landscape alone, as similar
juggleries are also common in her politics too, as if its economic flight is going to
help her win a superpower status in the United Nations. Nobody can deny that India
is too big and too diverse to allow for any convenient cover-all facts. But for every
similarity, there is significant difference. Such imageries are created by a leap of
logic and ideological sleight of hands as BJP tried to derive from `Shinning India’
but failed and was flushed out.
This new campaign is an off-shoot of economic activity, one like a small modicum of
reality - whipped up to brew similar concepts. It is an attempt to create false sense of
satisfaction - to feel proud and think big to fit into the minds of its people, to draw
political mileage and divert attention of the poor masses from the internal dynamics
of their problems substituted by nationalism. It is being applied as a bandage on the
bleeding wounds and stigma of `Untouchables’ - one like `Salwa Judum’ that was
invented to solve the Naxalite problem. Such a motivation pills may have negligible
or incremental effect on the humpty-dumpty naiveties, but people have not forgotten
what `Hindutva’ Pandits are trying to play.
Tourism like politics too, of any country is product of its social, educational, cultural,
scientific and economic progress further groomed by natural virtues. But in India’s
case, there are many obvious and hidden realities behind the germination and
pampering of this sweet illusion. Can any country afford such state of the art tourism
till its socio-economic set-ups, poor development, worn out communication network, inadequate medical facilities, poor foreign relations and high illiteracy rate are
completely overhauled? India continues to experience, its centuries old belief system,
which in the words of Sanjaib Baruah’s famous book `India against Itself’ is enough
to drive it on the brink of ruination.
The new images emerged in the last decade or so, fed mostly by its success in off
shore call centers, the growing reach of Bollywood abroad, popularized in part by the
increasing wealth and visibility of Indian communities in the US/United Kingdom
and elsewhere who transformed its image abroad… unlike past, when India was
viewed purely through religious lenses. Granted, Indian society is changing rapidly
by previous standards, but the nature and scope of the changes are mostly
exaggerated, as Indian got into the habit of counting their chickens before they are
The words like `Green Revolution’ Shining India and `Incredible India’ are buzz
words which are tossed every now and then to captivate the public attention, rolling
in centuries old discrimination under totalitarian regime, now to bask under the
sunshine of Indian disinformation. The myth behind is to white wash her looming
Naxalite crisis, with flush of national enthusiasm. But ground realities and analysis
presents entirely a different picture. India is still stooped too low, spiraling in poor
governance, price-hike, mounting employment, social apartheid and tax burdens.
Like a metaphor and referred pain, this new mystique is aimed at reviving its
political image as rising economic tigers of the world during the next few years,
more particularly in 2012. The purpose is to drag the viewers to focus on her
commercial entrepreneurship by triggering such debates - like BJP leaders used as
electoral gimmick through a chain of media publicity campaign. A stage reached
when, at almost all political debates, international seminars and conferences,
workshops and even small friendly gossips or college/university lectures started
discussing, Indian miracles.
Granted India has really achieved some degree of success and it may succeed to
maintain its high growth rate during the next few years but the big question remains
about the visible signs, which still paint a grim picture about its real physical
contours visible on ground. Any visitor to India, who reads tall-claims, is caught
between the two glaring dichotomies which are poles apart. The common sense
demands to set the record straight because any miscalculated or projected picture to
reap undue benefits often back-fires and may cause more damage to the country one
day. Then the people will start believing what former US President Nixon once said
“world opinion is on the Indian side but they are such a treacherous and slippery
people” This gap between the myth and reality would then paint another coat of
`Indelible Liar or Cheater’ India.
Let us take an example:
Jan van Djik looks weather beaten. It looks as if he spent a good part of his 67 years
strolling on Calangute beach. The Dutchman has been following a 20-year ritual of
visiting Goa twice a year. Except that over the last few years, he has been spending
less and less time there. “Doing a lot of travel in other parts, especially in the North
It was travellers like Djik who made Goa the destination that it is. Tourists from sunstarved European countries escaped to Goa to avoid the brutal winter. Sipping beer,
smoking marijuana or just playing a game of beach cricket, they bankrolled Goa’s
tourism economy. The hotels, beach shacks, restaurants, two-wheeler hire guys, all
made money.
But today it has all spun out of control. Goa is seeing a sharp drop in foreign tourist
arrivals compared to other popular Indian destinations like Agra, Jaipur and Kerala.
It is also fast losing its billing as an international tourist haven. Most of its
competitors, like Bali in Indonesia and Langkawi in Malaysia, have shown
impressive growth in 2009. Even upcoming options like Sri Lanka and Vietnam are
getting more feelers from European tourists, industry players say.
Goa used to get one out of five foreign tourists coming to India. But the 2009 winter
season (the peak season, traditionally from October to March) has seen the second
consecutive drop in incoming foreign tourists after the dramatic plummet in 2008 —
something that the local industry says has happened for the first time.
“This year it looks like the season has got over by mid-January,” says Cruz Cardozo,
president of the Goa Shack Owners Association. Various estimates put the total
overseas tourist arrivals in 2009 at 300,000, down from about 350,000 a year earlier
and about 380,000 in 2007.
Sure, other popular Indian destinations, too, have suffered, but Goa has suffered
more. According to tourism ministry, arrivals to India fell by 3.3% in 2009. That is
marginal compared to Goa government’s official figure of a 13 percent drop; the
local industry estimates a more than a 30% dip.
Home Truths
While the foreigners stay away, Indians have been coming in — industry veterans
say the 2002 blockbuster Dil Chahta Hai, partly set in Goa, was a major influence in
making the place fashionable for Indians. Bollywood film stars and industrialists
who bought property in the state as a status symbol also had something to do with it.
This has “saved the Goan tourism industry in the last two years”, Viveck Pathiyan,
general manager at Hotel Fidalgo in capital Panjim, says. The hotel’s clientele has
changed dramatically, with Indians now constituting 80 percent of the guests, up
from just about 30% earlier.
Yet Indian tourists aren’t a big enough cushion to absorb the fall in overseas guests.
On average, overseas travellers stay for almost two weeks; Indian holidays last for
just about three days, says Ralph De Souza, president, Travel and Tourism
Association of Goa. Hence, the tourism season in Goa lasts for only six months,
coinciding with the stay of overseas guests.
Goa got only about 10 lakh Indian tourists in 2009. Agra and Kerala get anything
from 3 lakh to 10 lakh foreign visitors every year, but they also get more domestic
tourists. Agra gets 2 crore of them, Jaipur 1 crore and Kerala about 60 lakh.
“Indians spend well. Once a group of youngsters came and spent Rs. 14,000 on shots
in just a couple of hours,” says Ainsley Kelly, owner of Shooters, a pub near Baga
beach. “But our bread and butter are the foreign tourists who come everyday, sit
around, drink a beer or two, eat and then go off. That is why this year, business has
not been that good.”
The truth is, Goa needs the foreign tourists.
The state’s tourism business is mostly family-owned and operated out of homes, and
the drop in overseas holidaymakers is affecting them. Take Jerry’s Corner, a small
eatery near Calangute beach that doubles up as a hotel with rooms on top. It used to
get 10 European couples every year. “They would stay up to six months. But only six
have turned up this season and they will be here for half of the usual time,” says
Jerry, the owner. “Sure, the Indians come, but they are here just over the weekend…
it is not the same.” He says. Goa has tried to lure more Indians by transforming itself
into a year-round destination, with ‘monsoon holidays’ for couples. These moves
have not succeeded. “Goa, without the foreigners, will not be Goa anymore. And
even the Indians will stop coming,” says an official, who heads the local business of
a leading travel company and wishes to be unnamed.
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the
eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.6% of the Earth's total surface area (or
29.9% of its land area) and with approximately 4 billion people, it hosts 60% of the
world's current human population. During the 20th century Asia's population nearly
Asia is traditionally defined as part of the landmass of Eurasia — with the western
portion of the latter occupied by Europe — located to the east of the Suez Canal, east
of the Ural Mountains and south of the Caucasus Mountains (or the Kuma-Manych
Depression) and the Caspian and Black Seas. It is bounded on the east by the Pacific
Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. Given
its size and diversity, Asia — a toponym dating back to classical antiquity — is more
a cultural concept incorporating a number of regions and peoples than a homogeneous
physical entity.
The wealth of Asia differs very widely among and within its regions, due to its vast
size and huge range of different cultures, environments, historical ties and
government systems. In terms of nominal GDP, Japan has the largest economy on the
continent and the second largest in the world. In purchasing power parity terms,
however, China has the largest economy in Asia and the second largest in the world.
The term "Asia" is originally a concept exclusively of Western civilization. The
peoples of ancient Asia (Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Persians, Arabs etc.) never
conceived the idea of Asia, simply because they did not see themselves collectively.
In their perspective, they were vastly varied civilizations, contrary to ancient
European belief.
The word Asia originated from the Greek word σία, first attributed to Herodotus
(about 440 BC) in reference to Anatolia or — in describing the Persian Wars — to the
Persian Empire, in contrast to Greece and Egypt. Herodotus comments that he is
puzzled as to why three women's names are used to describe one enormous and
substantial land mass (Europa, Asia, and Libya, referring to Africa), stating that most
Greeks assumed that Asia was named after the wife of Prometheus (i.e. Hesione), but
that the Lydians say it was named after Asias, son of Cotys, who passed the name on
to a tribe in Sardis. Even before Herodotus, Homer knew of two figures in the Trojan
War named Asios; and elsewhere he describes a marsh as ασιος (Iliad 2, 461).
Usage of the term soon became common in ancient Greece, and subsequently by the
ancient Romans. Ancient and medieval European maps depict the Asian continent as
a "huge amorphous blob" extending eastward. It was presumed in antiquity to end
with India — the Macedonian king Alexander the Great believing he would reach the
"end of the world" upon his arrival in the East.
Alternatively, the etymology of the term may be from the Akkadian word (w)a û(m),
which means 'to go outside' or 'to ascend', referring to the direction of the sun at
sunrise in the Middle East and also likely connected with the Phoenician word asa
meaning east. This may be contrasted to a similar etymology proposed for Europe, as
being from Akkadian erēbu(m) 'to enter' or 'set' (of the sun).
T.R. Reid supports this alternative etymology, noting that the ancient Greek name
must have derived from asu, meaning 'east' in Assyrian (ereb for Europe meaning
'west'). The ideas of Occidental (form Latin Occidens 'setting') and Oriental (from
Latin Oriens for 'rising') are also European invention, synonymous with Western and
Eastern. Reid further emphasizes that it explains the Western point of view of placing
all the peoples and cultures of Asia into a single classification, almost as if there were
a need for setting the distinction between Western and Eastern civilizations on the
Eurasian continent. Ogura Kazuo and Tenshin Okakura are two Japanese outspoken
figures over the subject.
However, this etymology is considered doubtful, because it does not explain how the
term "Asia" first came to be associated with Anatolia, which is west of the Semiticspeaking areas, unless they refer to the viewpoint of a Phoenician sailor sailing
through the straits between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.
Area 44,579,000 km2 (17,212,000 sq mi)
Population 3,879,000,000
Pop. density 89/km2 (226/sq mi)
Time Zones
Medieval Europeans considered Asia as a continent a distinct landmass. The
European concept of the three continents in the Old World goes back to Classical
Antiquity, but during the Middle Ages was notably due to 7th century Spanish scholar
Isidore of Sevilla (see T and O map). The demarcation between Asia and Africa (to
the southwest) is the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea. The boundary between Asia
and Europe is conventionally considered to run through the Dardanelles, the Sea of
Marmara, the Bosporus, the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea, the
Ural River to its source and the Ural Mountains to the Kara Sea near Kara, Russia.
While this interpretation of tripartite continents (i.e., of Asia, Europe and Africa)
remains common in modernity, discovery of the extent of Africa and Asia have made
this definition somewhat anachronistic. This is especially true in the case of Asia,
which has several regions that would be considered distinct landmasses if these
criteria were used (for example, Southern Asia and Eastern Asia).
In the far northeast of Asia, Siberia is separated from North America by the Bering
Strait. Asia is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean (specifically, from west to
east, the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal), on the east by the waters of
the Pacific Ocean (including, counterclockwise, the South China Sea, East China Sea,
Yellow Sea, Sea of Japan, Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea) and on the north by the
Arctic Ocean. Australia (or Oceania) is to the southeast.
Some geographers do not consider Asia and Europe to be separate continents, as there
is no logical physical separation between them. For example, Sir Barry Cunliffe, the
emeritus professor of European archeology at Oxford, argues that Europe has been
geographically and culturally merely "the western excrescence of the continent of
Asia." Geographically, Asia is the major eastern constituent of the continent of
Eurasia with Europe being a northwestern peninsula of the landmass – or of AfroEurasia: geologically, Asia, Europe and Africa comprise a single continuous landmass
(save the Suez Canal) and share a common continental shelf. Almost all of Europe
and most of Asia sit atop the Eurasian Plate, adjoined on the south by the Arabian and
Indian Plate and with the easternmost part of Siberia (east of the Cherskiy Range) on
the North American Plate.
In geography, there are two schools of thought. One school follows historical
convention and treats Europe and Asia as different continents, categorizing
subregions within them for more detailed analysis. The other school equates the word
"continent" with a geographical region when referring to Europe, and use the term
"region" to describe Asia in terms of physiography. Since, in linguistic terms,
"continent" implies a distinct landmass, it is becoming increasingly common to
substitute the term "region" for "continent" to avoid the problem of disambiguation
Given the scope and diversity of the landmass, it is sometimes not even clear exactly
what "Asia" consists of. Some definitions exclude Turkey, the Middle East, Central
Asia and Russia while only considering the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Indian
subcontinent to compose Asia, especially in the United States after World War II. The
term is sometimes used more strictly in reference to the Asia-Pacific region, which
does not include the Middle East or Russia, but does include islands in the Pacific
Ocean—a number of which may also be considered part of Australasia or Oceania,
although Pacific Islanders are not considered Asian.
Regionalism and Asia
Asian regionalism is explored from the perspective that regions do not just exist as
material objects in the world, but also as social and cognitive constructs that are
rooted in political practice. With specific reference to Asia and the financial crisis of
1997, the following themes are explored: 1. The effects of the international
environment on regions can lead to a relatively open (as in the 1990s) or closed (as in
the 1930s) type of regionalism. 2. Regions can be peaceful and rich, or war-prone and
poor. 3. Regions can experience processes of enlargement and set standards for a
growing number of polities (as is true of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and
the European Union), or suffer from retraction (as appears possible for the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
in the wake of the Asian financial crisis).
The end of the Cold War has altered fundamentally the way we see the world. The
image of bipolarity no longer is useful as a short-hand description. Power politics is
now occurring in complex regional contexts that undercut the stark assumption of the
international system as unmitigated anarchy and these regional contexts are making
possible a variety of processes that put into question some conventional categories of
analysis. The world-wide victory of capitalism blurs stark distinctions between
capitalism and socialism, and democracy and authoritarianism. Instead, it places
national political economies in a regional context that is shaped by a variety of
It is relatively easy to state what a world of regions is not: a new world order, an end
of history, or a clash of civilisations. Each of these generalisations is easily refuted,
for example, by the surge in ethnic cleansing, the rise in ideology and religion, and the
prevalence of hybridisation processes across civilisations. Going beyond these
generalisations we could ask whether world affairs are shaped primarily by state,
global or regional effects. Focusing primarily on the effects of different states
underlines unduly the heterogeneity of world politics. Conversely, highlighting the
effects of global factors emphasises too much the homogeneous context of world
politics. Because they often mediate between national and global effects, regional
effects, as in the story of Goldilocks, are neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right.
Conceiving of the world in terms of structures is what some analytical perspectives in
international relations and the social sciences more generally suggest. Polarity in the
international state system and property rights in markets offer powerful examples of
structural reasoning. Structures are slow moving processes. In a world of rapid change
we could do worse than trace empirically the effects of processes, rather than stipulate
analytically the effects of structures. A focus on a world of regions helps us do so.
Existing explanations of regional orders focus on specific features of international
politics: on polarity, on institutional efficiency and on cultural (ethnic, religious or
civilisational) divisions. Rooted in realist, liberal and sociological styles of analysis,
each approach has considerable strengths in making us understand regional orders as
the outcome respectively of balances of power or threat, institutionally and
organisationally coordinated policies, and more or less contested identities, but each
approach also confronts nagging difficulties. How many poles of power exist in
contemporary world politics? How can institutional efficiency be measured and how
can clashing cultural values be integrated analytically with the fact of widespread
cultural hybridity? A world of regions is shaped by economic and social processes of
regionalisation and by structures of regionalism. Regionalisation describes the
geographic manifestation of international or global economic processes. Regionalism
refers to the political structures that both reflect and shape the strategies of
governments, business corporations and a variety of non-governmental organisations
and social movements. The analysis of these two facets of a world of regions requires
theoretical eclecticism, rather than parsimony in making selective use of the insights
of sociological, liberal and realist styles of analysis.
Regions are, among other things, social constructions created through politics. The
fact that Italy ended up in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was not
'natural', that is, determined by geography. It was due to an act of political
imagination and a subsequent political process. What struck the members of the US
Senate as exceedingly odd in the late 1940s, today is questioned by no one: the
location of a Mediterranean country in the North Atlantic. Regions are both spatial
and political. Following Karl Deutsch, we could define a region as a group of
countries markedly interdependent over a wide range of different dimensions. This
pattern of interdependence is often, but not always, indicated by patterns of economic
and political transactions and social communications that differentiate groups of
countries.1 Hence regions do not just exist as material objects in the world. They are
more than the flow of goods and people across physical space that we can assume to
be represented directly and accurately by cartographic depictions. Regions are also
social and cognitive constructs that are rooted in political practice. This article
explores in Part 1 this perspective on Asian regionalism.
The effects of the international environment on regions can lead to a relatively open
(as in the 1990s) or closed (as in the 1930s) type of regionalism. Regions can be
peaceful and rich, or war-prone and poor. They can experience processes of
enlargement and set standards for a growing number of polities (as is true of NATO
and the EU) or suffer from retraction (as appears possible for ASEAN and APEC in
the wake of the Asian financial crisis). Parts 2 and 3 explore these themes with
specific reference to Asia and the financial crisis of 1997.
Nevertheless, despite their variability, regional effects are of growing importance in
world politics. To the question-`how should one think about international politics after
the end of the Cold War?'-it is plausible to answer `as a world of regions'.
Regionalism and Asian collective identities
'Regionalism', writes Kanishka Jayasuriya, 'is a set of cognitive practices shaped by
language and political discourse, which through the creation of concepts, metaphors,
analogies, determine how the region is defined; these serve to define the actors who
are included (and excluded) within the region and thereby enable the emergence of a
regional entity and identity'.2 In their well-known book Power and Interdependence
Keohane and Nye provide a good illustration.3 They apply their model of complex
interdependence to two different bilateral relations: US-Canada and US-Australia.
Controlling for a large number of cultural and political similarities this comparison
isolates, among others, differences in the costly effects of geographical distance. In
the words of The Economist, Australia's problem is self-evident. "Think of a Canada
that had been towed away from where it is, and moored off Africa, and the problems
of Australia's physical location become clear'.4 Looking for Australia two decades
later, salvage crews exploring mooring places off the coast of Africa are likely to
come up empty-handed.5 Responding to dynamic economic growth in Asia, then
Opposition leader John Howard appealed to physical and economic geography when
he stated that `there is no doubt that we are incredibly fortunate that our geography
has cast us next to the fastest growing region in the world'.6 Geography-as-destiny is
an argument in favour of fixed identities as both the White Australia Policy and
Australia's Oriental destiny illustrate.
Other arguments are invoked in the name of multiple identities. Political debate
during the last two decades illustrates the process by which Australians are taking
their turn to a multiracial and multicultural republic by coping with conflicting
collective identities. The symbols of Australia's constitutional and national identities,
flag and anthem, are subjects of serious political controversies. Australia is in the
process of becoming more Asian, but in a very specific manner. `Without actually
becoming Asian', Gavan McCormack writes, `Australia is struggling to articulate a
regional universalism and to become simultaneously post-European and post-Asian,
transcending both its own European racial and cultural heritage and any racially or
culturally specific Asia'.7
Asian values, rather than regional universalism, is the message that Singapore's
political and cultural identity entrepreneurs are pushing. In contrast to Australia,
Singapore's geographical placement in Asia is uncontested. Asia exists as a
geographic term, but it is also what McCormack calls an `imposed identity: a fantastic
ideological construct without racial or cultural meaning ... paradoxically, the notion of
Asia strengthened the farther one moved away from it and receded as one entered into
it'.8 As in the case of Australia, Singapore's forceful articulation of a regionally
undefined ideology of Asian values points to the relevance of the perceptual
dimension of Asian regionalism. The government of Singapore has in effect
sanctioned think-tanks as legitimate voices of an ideology of Asian values that suits
its domestic preoccupation with state-building in a multiethnic society. In addition,
`think tanks, as discourse managers, are a means to project Asian identities outwards
to the West. They articulate concepts about an "Asian Way" and provide intellectual
justification for this discourse. In particular, the so-called Singapore School has been
vociferous in championing Asian values'.9
Which Asian values are to be invoked is a matter of serious disagreement, as is the
degree of incompatibility between Asian and Western values. Singapore's stunning
success in engineering an ambitious modernisation process has given special urgency
to policies that insist on the country's uniqueness. Modernisation without
Westernisation offers a way of building a distinctive culture in a multiethnic society.
During the last 30 years the government has attempted to establish an ideological
consensus around the articulation of a tradition, including Asian values, that gives it a
legitimate claim to moral leadership. Moderating how traditional Asian values
translate into modern life thus is a central preoccupation and source of governmental
Classifying the population into four main groups (Chinese, Malay, Indian and
Caucasian), for example, disregarded numerous subgroups within these ethnic
communities. Eschewing a bottom-up melting pot, Singapore has adopted a top-down
`salad bowl' approach to manage its ethnic pluralism. Emphasising Asian values is a
possible way of sidestepping both the potentially disintegrative pulls of Chinese,
Malay and Indian cultures and the potentially absorptive reach of Western influences.
Geographically undefined Asian values are not the temporary expression of the
cultural arrogance of one of Asia's miracle economies. Lacking a distinct identity,
Asian values offer Singapore's political elites a plausible ideology for building a new
Housing policy offers another example. Uprooting virtually the entire population
within a generation from very different, traditional settlements into a homogeneous
set of Western-style high-rise apartments was a dramatic intrusion of the state into the
family, a core of Asian values. Making housing available only to families, trying to
arrange for extended family members to live in nearby flats, and giving priority to
three-tier generational family groupings are ingenious ways of bringing old and new
ways of family life together. Such policies stand in the service of a new collective
identity that can appeal to something modern and Western that is compatible with
Asian values and thus serves to strengthen an emerging collective identity for
In language policy the government sought to achieve a similar outcome, quite
possibly with less success. Singapore has four accepted languages: English,
Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. The government has accepted English as the language of
commerce that provides a central pillar for Singapore's economic prosperity, but it
insists that schools teach the three mandated mother tongues, even though their
importance has declined in the 1990s. Indians are to learn Tamil in school even
though many of them no longer speak it at home. It was therefore no accident that in
the early 1990s it was a company from Singapore that offered an advanced videotext
system that allowed one to learn a new language phonetically. Technological
innovation can help the younger generation in maintaining knowledge of 'their'
mother tongue.
Singapore's championing of a specific set of Asian values finds parallels in Malaysia's
blunt criticism of mistaken and dangerous Western human rights policies and its
outspoken support for a cohesive East Asian community without US or Australian
participation. Asian values subordinate individual rights to community obligations
and high growth strategies require strong, not weak, governments.wo For Malaysia
the idea of an Asian political community is tied directly to the legitimacy of a soft
authoritarian government that is dedicated to a policy of high economic growth and
opposed to the growing importance of Western values. In the case of Singapore, the
leadership seeks to strengthen instead a preferred regional ideology of Asian values
that avoids both the homogenisation of Westernisation and the divisiveness of
different ethnic traditions.
Australia's universal regionalism and Singapore's and Malaysia's insistence on the
specificities of an Asia that suits their domestic and international needs are flanking
the emergence of an Asian-Pacific identity that is open to multiple interpretations.
The articulation of a specific regional ideology is not simply a ploy of governments
seeking to eschew pressures of democratisation and liberalisation. Regional ideologies
that entail specific collective identities are as important for Japan and the United
States as they are for Singapore and Malaysia. The Pacific Rim or Asia-Pacific are
good illustrations. For a very simple reason they have only a vague geographic
referent. `Definitions of the Pacific', writes Arif Dirlik, `are part of the very struggle
over the Pacific that they seek to describe'. The Pacific community idea, one
Australian journalist agrees, is 'a baby whose putative parents are Japanese and
American and whose midwife is Australian'.
In recent decades Japan's regional ideology has been shaped by Akamatsu's flying
geese theory of industrial growth and senescence.13 A leading specialist on Japan's
relations with Asia, Okita Saburo, was so deeply influenced by Akamatsu's theory that
later on he developed the concept of comprehensive security with its emphasis on
diplomacy and aid and its rejection of the military means of statecraft. In 1955 Okita
became head of the Research Division of the Japanese Economic Planning Agency.
Following Akamatsu's basic insight, his plan for expanding Japanese exports focused
on the unavoidable economic development of Asian economies. If Japan assisted that
development process, it would dispel animosities, divert attention from dangerous and
wasteful political quarrels in Asia, enhance regional growth prospects and thus create
a more stable international environment profitable especially for Japan's highly
competitive capital goods sector. This theory of industrial change was based on a
conception of Asian regionalism in which governments were directly involved in the
flow of trade, investment and aid.
The theory provided a strong intellectual foundation for Japan's Asia policy. Kojima
Kiyoshi, Akamatsu's most distinguished and influential student, sought to implement
in the 1960s the idea of creating a regional system in the Pacific area that would
support the process of regional economic change through which Japan and its Asian
neighbours would be indelibly linked. The Pacific Free Trade Area (PAFTA) that
Kojima proposed in 1965 encompassed the United States, Canada, Australia and New
Zealand. It was to be linked to an integrated region encompassing the Southeast Asian
economies. Thus Japan would be connected to both the advanced US economy on
whose markets its exports depended vitally, as well as backward Southeast Asia that
was destined to absorb Japan's sunset industries.
While a PAFTA was never adopted, the second-track meetings that started in 1969
became a powerful lobby for a market-led integration of a broad Pacific area. A
decade later then Foreign Minister Okita and Prime Minister Ohira Masayoshi,
together with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, convened a meeting that led
to a non-governmental international seminar (the Pacific Economic Cooperation
Conference (PECC)). It advanced further a broad, market-based approach to AsiaPacific. PECC embodied a regional idea requiring an economic rather than political
language. It reinforced, rather than undermined, national sovereignty and it put
economic development and the future ahead of political atonement for past
The United States shares with Japan a strong commitment to Asia-Pacific. For the US
government, that regional designation is not rooted in an old economic theory of
region-wide industrial change. Asia-Pacific and Pacific Rim are instead more recent
political indications of the strong interest that the USA has in a continued
involvement in Asian affairs. The US government supported strongly the creation of
the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Conference. It was
inaugurated in Canberra in November 1989 and held its first summit in Seattle in
November 1993. With a broad membership, APEC supports the policies of economic
liberalism that the USA has championed throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In the early
1990s intense conflicts between the USA and the EU leading to a possible failure of
GATT's Uruguay Round and growing trade frictions between the USA and Japan
made APEC an attractive counter to a rising tide of protectionism. Business and
government leaders and their economic advisors saw in Asia's market-based and
'open' regionalism a stepping stone to a liberal, global economic order.15
Such a view of Asia-Pacific or the Pacific Rim is at odds with that held by many
Asian governments. APEC's 1994 commitment to reach full trade liberalisation by the
year 2020 was, at best, a reluctant acquiescence of most APEC members to the
pressures of the United States and Australia. In the aftermath of the Asian financial
crisis, lukewarm attitudes cooled further to the point where policy objective and target
date may well become, as in the case of Malaysia, merely indicative and non-binding.
Many governments in Asia-Pacific see market-based integration as a way of retaining
government involvement in markets, rather than as a process of weakening state
institutions in the face of a liberalising international economy.
Although the United States is becoming part of an emerging Asia-Pacific region in the
1990s, this does not connect in any meaningful way to an embryonic Asian-American
identity of a growing segment of US citizens. `Problems of Asian-American history',
writes Dirlik again, `are also problems in the history of an Asia-Pacific regional
formation'.16 These problems have centred on one fact. In a Eurocentric AngloAmerican culture, Asian-Americans have been viewed as Asian, not American.
Trans-Pacific ties did not further a recognition of Asian elements in the collective
identity of the United States as much as they denied Asians membership in the
American political community. For the USA to embrace Asia-Pacific as a deeply held
and meaningful aspect of its collective identity, the domestic politics of
multiculturalism, beyond questions of race and Hispanic politics, would also have to
politicise fully the strain of Asian-American identity that, to date, remains largely
Concepts such as Asia-Pacific or the Pacific Rim designate a region that Britain
traditionally has referred to as Asia or the Far East. The British Foreign Office
continues now, as it did at the beginning of the twentieth century, to cover both China,
Japan, Korea and Mongolia (the `Far East') and Australia, New Zealand and a large
number of small islands (the 'Pacific') in the Far Eastern and Pacific Department.
Britain's unchanging designations reflect political disengagement from Asia and
contrast with Singapore's and Malaysia's changing political needs. Asian values and
an East Asian community are important symbols for the consolidation of Singapore's
and Malaysia's state identity along lines that are neither Western, nor specifically
Chinese, Malay or Indian.
As is true of Singapore and Malaysia, neither the United States nor Japan rely on
British terminology. Both, however, eschew references to Asian values and an East
Asian community. For these two states Asia-Pacific or the Pacific Rim are concepts
that denote an Asia that is inclusive. These concepts eviscerate the divisions of the
Cold War era-the split between East and West, North and South. Asia-Pacific and the
Pacific Rim have created their own institutionalised language of what Bruce Cumings
calls 'rimspeak'.17 Rimspeak matters, as does the Asia-Pacific which it both reflects
and strengthens. Asian collective identities and regionalism refer to political,
economic and cultural processes that are creating new relations between places and
Asian regionalism in international politics
China and Japan are important centres of the new Asian regionalism, but in ways
quite different from the regionalism of Japan's Co-Prosperity Sphere of the 1930s and
1940s or George Orwell's nightmarish projection of a tripolar world.19 While the old
regionalism emphasised autarchy and direct rule, the new one relies on
interdependence and indirect rule.
Japan's growing role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
(members: Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam,
Burma and Laos) can be traced easily in the areas of trade, aid, investment and
technology transfer. In the two decades preceding the realignment of the major
international currencies in the Plaza Accord of 1985, Japan accounted for close to half
of the total aid and direct foreign investment in the region. The dramatic appreciation
of the yen after 1985 led to a veritable explosion in Japanese investment. Between
1985 and 1989 the total was twice as large as that between 1951 and 1984. The flow
of aid also continued to increase as Japan recycled its trade surplus with the region.
All governments in Southeast Asia became accustomed to bidding for Japanese
investment capital, illustrated by the massive deregulation of their economies and the
lucrative incentives that they were willing to grant to foreign investors. More
importantly, Japan's 'developmental state' became an object of emulation. The
establishment of private trading companies and a general commitment by Southeast
Asian governments to policies of vigorous export promotion give testimony to the
widespread appeal of the Japanese model.
By the early 1990s the growth in Japanese influence in Asia had created widespread
unease about the political consequences of intensifying economic relations with
Japan. Japan's power was simply too large to be matched in the foreseeable future by
any conceivable coalition of Asian states. With the total GNP of ASEAN amounting
to no more than 15 per cent of Japan's, any development of a world of self-contained
regions in the northern half of the globe would leave ASEAN's members at the mercy
of a Japanese colossus. Most Asian states thus saw in China and the United States
useful counterweights to Japan's growing power.
Within a few years of Japan's financial bubble bursting, its anaemic macroeconomic
performance and a deep crisis in its financial sector had transformed Asia's political
landscape. Fear of too much Japanese power in organising Asia's regional order was
transformed into fear of too little Japanese power in dealing with its own economic
and financial disorder. If Japan did not travel the road of macroeconomic growth and
financial stability, how could the rest of Asia? The Asian financial crisis, which so
dramatically affected Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea, suggested to many
observers that financial stability and economic health could return to Asia only after
Japan had made painful adjustments in some of its longstanding policies.
The rapid decline in fear of Japan was also a response to the rise of China in the
1990s. Deng's `southern trip' in 1992, a change in the statistical estimates of Chinese
GDP by international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank,
sharp increases in the flow of direct foreign investment, extraordinarily high rates of
economic growth and the government's determined efforts to join GATT and the
WTO all focused attention on China, rather than Japan, as a conceivable rival of the
United States a decade or two into the next millennium.
China's reputation as a possible regional hegemon rests on its combination of control
of access to the largest untapped market in the world, possession of nuclear weapons
and a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. This is not to deny the problems
that China faces in its relations with Taiwan, Tibet, Japan and the United States.
Chinese foreign policy must reconcile a strong unilateralist stance on issues the
government perceives to be of great national importance and a weaker multilateralist
stance for ongoing diplomatic relations in, for example, the Asian Regional Forum
(ARF). At the same time China is going through a wrenching process of adjustment in
some of its major institutions, including inefficient state-owned enterprises, an
oversized central bureaucracy and financial institutions crippled by a mountain of bad
debt. The uncertainties inherent in a dual-track foreign policy intersect with the
uncertainties of large-scale domestic reform. They combine to make China's
neighbours nervous about the regional role that China will play in Asia.
The United States, finally, has been an Asian power with strong interests in and ties to
the region throughout the twentieth century. There is no evidence that the US
government will alter its traditional stance because of the end of the Cold War. With
100,000 ground troops stationed in East Asia, with the American navy firmly
committed to a strong position in Asia and with the consolidation of US-Japanese
security arrangements in the 1980s and 1990s, the United States is likely to remain a
first-rate military power in Asia.20 Furthermore, since virtually all Asian countries
run a substantial trade deficit with Japan and a large trade surplus with the United
States, the United States is the economic anchor for national strategies of export-led
growth and the integration of the regional economy of Asia-Pacific. In the eyes of
many Asian governments an Asia that includes the United States has several
advantages. American involvement can diffuse economic and political dependencies
on Japan and China with which the smaller Asian states would otherwise have to
cope. It provides Japan with the degree of national security that reduces the pressure
for a major arms-build up and it offers China political opportunities for establishing
itself as a recognised great power in Asia.
At the threshold of a new millennium, however, the domestic and foreign policies of
Japan, China and the United States are also exposed to a number of significant
uncertainties. `For the first time in two centuries Asian countries are in a position to
shape their regional system and influence the character of the world system', writes
Kenneth Pyle.21 Currently, Asian regionalism takes two different forms. If measured
in terms of purchasing-power-parity GDP, the Japanese and the Chinese economies
are of roughly equal size.22 But each extends into Asia in different ways. Japanese
capitalism is the result of indigenous economic developments and a conscious
political strategy orchestrated jointly by government and business elites. Chinese
capitalism lacks both an integrated, indigenous political economy and a coherent
political strategy. `Unlike the Japanese', writes John Kao, `the Chinese
commonwealth has, in computer terms, an "open architecture". It represents access to
local resources like information, business connections, raw materials, low labor costs
and different business practices.... In contrast to the Japanese keiretsu, the emerging
Chinese commonwealth is an interconnected yet potentially open system.'23
Asian regionalism is an idea whose time has come. Increasing regional cooperation is
often invoked as a necessary response to regionalisation elsewhere such as the EU or
NAFTA. Yet Asian regionalism has yet to be described adequately in terms of formal
institutions. In the political norms that inform it and in the political capacity for
collective action the Asian Regional Forum, for example, differs dramatically from its
more interventionist European equivalents, the Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and NATO. Equally, the shallow economic
integration that is the aim of APEC sets it apart from the deep political integration that
characterises the EU. Lacking a functional base of binding commitments, ARF and
APEC are primarily fora for the discussion of important policy issues and, thus,
institutions useful for increasing trust. They are designed to strengthen regional
economic cooperation only in the long term.
Financial globalisation and an Asia in crisis
Like the opening of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War and the peaceful
disintegration of the Soviet Union, Asia's financial crisis came unannounced and was
largely unanticipated by pundits and politicians, specialists in finance and scholars of
Asia.24 A conference sponsored by the Bank of Indonesia and the IMF concluded in
November 1996 that 'ASEAN's economic success remains alive and well ... the region
is poised to extend its success into the twenty-first century'.25 In a 25 April 1997
press conference, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus remarked that the
global economic outlook warranted 'rational exuberance'; and at the spring 1997
meeting, the Interim Committee of the IMF approved a plan to amend the Articles of
Agreement to extend the IMF's jurisdiction to cover the movement of capital, thus
completing, according to Camdessus, the 'unwritten Chapter' of Bretton Woods.26
IMF policies proved to be inadequate even before the financial crisis hit Asia.
Bulgaria's financial meltdown was a dress-rehearsal for what happened in Asia only a
few months later in the latter half of 1997. After years of half-hearted policy reforms
by different governments and the IMF, international speculation against the lev forced
Bulgaria to surrender its economic sovereignty and accept a currency board as the
only plausible avenue in a disastrous situation.27 Yet as late as the spring of 1997
IMF officials were celebrating the advantages of policies of liberalisation without
realising the potentially disastrous effects of that policy for Bulgaria and other
economies lacking the institutional pre-conditions for financial and economic
Just as the end of the Cold War gave a healthy shock to students of national security
and spurred a debate that touched on all of the premises of analysis, so debate has
begun among students of political economy in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.
Before the summer of 1997, even critics of the Asian developmental state model
agreed that cosy relations between business and government were important in
lowering transaction costs and thus helping bring about national growth rates in Asia
that were four times higher than the OECD average. But by the end of 1997 economic
and business analysts had convinced each other with surprising ease that Asian
markets had lacked sophistication and that banks had lent and business had invested
in violation of established prudential principles. Far from lowering transaction costs,
lack of transparency and systemic corruption were now judged to be the main
impediments to a resumption of economic growth in Asia. This drastic and
implausible shift in assessing economic policy led to a very public split between the
IMF and the World Bank, as well as among specialists in international economics.
The consensus policy, embraced more widely by economists inside than outside of the
IMF, held to traditional policy prescriptions in the face of new conditions. Economic
contagion became the 1990s' analogue to the 1960s' geo-strategic domino theory.
International financial markets can easily lose confidence in the value of national
currencies, especially in emerging markets that are exposed to volatile flows of very
liquid capital. When such capital flows out, the ensuing credit crunch can undermine
even the trade credits of large corporations and set in motion a downward spiral that
chokes off most business activities.
The economic crises in Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea were of very different
character. In each, volatile global financial markets intersected with distinctly local
political crises. Thailand's was both a macroeconomic and a financial crisis. The
deficit in its current account stood at 7 per cent of GDP in 1997, suggesting that a
timely dose of traditional IMF medicine might have saved the country from its
financial meltdown. Despite repeated off-the-record warnings by the IMF and highly
public discussions in business journals, the Thai government did not change course.
The signs of a looming crisis appeared as early as 1994 when the (central) Bank of
Thailand began to examine the crisis of a medium-sized bank, the BBC, which turned
into a major financial and political scandal that within a couple of years had seriously
undermined the credibility of both the central bank and the government which was
suspected of improprieties in what turned out to be a US$7 billion bail-out. This
episode was illustrative of the incompetence, immobilism, indecisiveness and venality
of a succession of Thai governments. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's six-party coalition
government which took over in the fall of 1996 had arguably the most promising
economic and financial team of any of Thailand's elected governments in the 1980s
and 1990s. But the traditional logic of Thai politics quickly reasserted itself and left
the country unprepared to deal with the financial crisis that unfolded rapidly in the
summer of 1997. In the spring of 1997 banks and finance companies were beginning
to crack under a growing mountain of bad loans. The first default on foreign loan
repayments occurred in February 1997. Rather than shifting losses to shareholders,
the internal politics of the government pointed to an inflationary strategy and massive
bail-outs. Within a few months extremely rapid credit growth, even in the nontradable sector, and high levels of credit denominated in foreign currencies triggered
the run on the baht. After the onset of the crisis the economy was immobilised by a
consequential political crisis that lasted for 4 months until a new cabinet finally took
In Indonesia the enormous wealth of the Suharto clan had created widespread
suspicion and opposition. In contrast to Thailand, a looming succession crisis in the
government seemed to threaten the stability of the regime. Chinese businessmen
began to lose confidence in the regime and the rupiah as early as 1996 and, according
to well-informed sources in Japan's Ministry of Finance, withdrew about US$100
billion from Indonesia between 1995 and 1997. American and IMF officials viewed
the situation largely in economic categories and insisted on American-style economic
reforms. Growing volatility in global capital markets had brought to the surface farspread corruption and a lack of regulatory oversight that, in the interest of investor
confidence, needed to be redressed through fundamental institutional reforms and a
drastic dose of deflation. Eager to protect the ill-gotten and far-flung assets of his six
children and acutely aware of the dangers for the legitimacy of his regime and
Indonesia's stability that the crisis had brought about, General Suharto dragged his
feet in implementing the reforms the IMF insisted on.
A leading scholar of Indonesia, Clifford Geertz, was worried at the time that Western
financial institutions were so fundamentally misreading Javanese culture that they had
turned a desperate situation into a dangerous one. IMF economists were not aware of
cultural expectations that define the goodness of the father by the extent of protection
that he provides for his spoiled children and that make insisting on public
acknowledgement of mistakes an act of supreme rudeness in a society that prides
itself on its civility. Had the IMF behaved differently, Geertz argues, it `might have
gotten what it wanted from the start. But I guess you don't expect that from
economists'.28 The IMF's approach helped push General Suharto to tap into a deep
strain of Javanese nationalism. The results were deadly anti-Chinese pogroms and the
downfall of the regime.
In 1997 Korea was also undergoing far-reaching institutional and policy changes in a
volatile geo-strategic situation on the Korean peninsula. The crisis exploded into the
open in the last weeks before the presidential election of December 1997. Rival
candidates disavowed the IMF package, which had been put together in record time in
November 1997. This undermined further the confidence of international financial
markets in Seoul's political capacity for reform.
In the face of sharp increases in dollar-denominated debt burdens, illiquidity and
bankruptcy, all three governments guaranteed the assets of creditors and defended
national currencies until they had used up virtually all of their reserves. This forced
the IMF to put together three bail-out packages, for a total of US$120 billion. This
stretched the financial and political limits of the Fund without contributing to
stabilisation of economic conditions in other emerging markets stretching from Russia
to Brazil. In addition, the bail-outs undermined the Fund's eroding political support in
the US Congress.
The IMF's reform packages differed somewhat in each of the three countries, but, at
bottom, the IMF sought to affect far-reaching economic and political change in the
interest of international liberalisation. This required a substantial reorganisation of
financial markets and ways of doing business as much as the acceptance of foreign
partners and the introduction of new accounting rules. Whether and how this
imposition of American institutional practices will work remains to be seen. In its first
comprehensive assessment of the crisis the World Bank was harshly critical of the
high-interest policies that both the IMF and the US government imposed once
international investors began to withdraw their liquid assets from national economies
that had been all too eager to absorb easily available and inexpensive international
credits. With estimated levels of bankruptcy in Indonesia as high as 75 per cent, the
Bank's then chief economist, Joseph Stiglitz, argued that `you cannot have a country
perform with 75 per cent of its firms in bankruptcy'.29 Compared to Indonesia the
chances of success are much greater in South Korea, where President Kim dae Jung is
seeking to exploit IMF pressure to further his own agenda of reforming state and
Variable national conditions in Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea are not the only
factors shaping Asia's financial future. Much will depend on the future course of the
financial reform policies adopted by China, Japan and international financial
institutions. China's financial system is in a very precarious situation due to a volume
of bad debts estimated in excess of 25 per cent of GDP. Financial consolidation is an
extremely difficult task at a time in which major institutional changes are
transforming radically many sectors of the Chinese economy and society. For its part,
after years of delay, the Japanese government moved in 1998-9 to a massive rescue
effort of its financial sector. The lack of transparency and `crony capitalism', often
cited as the main root of the crisis, extends beyond Japan. International banks, such as
Credit Suisse, have made substantial profits in the 1990s in assisting Japanese banks
in window-dressing their balance sheets and thus concealing from regulatory agencies
the true depth of their problems.30 As for the US Treasury, the IMF, and the World
Bank, discussions continue on whether and how to modify the `Washington
Consensus' and reform the international financial system. These discussions include
issues such as imposing some restraints on capital flows, modifying the lending
practices of the Fund and the Bank, revaluing the role of regional monetary funds and
reconsidering the suitability of exchange rate regimes, currency boards and policies of
'dollarisation' for small open economies.31
The full implications of the financial crisis for Asian regionalism are complicated and
far from clear. Japanese efforts to offer in August 1997 a regional approach to crisis
management were half-hearted, given the weakness of the Japanese economy, and
were prematurely brushed aside as IMF and US Treasury officials later
acknowledged.32 Because of its enormous costs, especially for the lower middle class
and the poor, resentments linger. In Malaysia, for example, the government has
managed to stay in power with its legitimacy impaired by the deep split between
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his deputy and heir-apparent Anwar Ibrahim
and the latter's trial and conviction on what to many Malaysians look like trumped-up
charges. The Malaysian policy of restricting the inflow of short-term capital, an
anathema to the Washington Consensus, appears to have worked remarkably well. In
the wake of the financial crisis there are strong political suspicions in Southeast Asia
and South Korea that the Washington Consensus is little more than an ideological
smoke-screen for the determined efforts of US business to go on a shopping spree for
Asian financial and industrial assets, at bargain basement prices.
The openness of Asian regionalism has two different, closely intertwined, sources that
are clearly illustrated by Japan: dyadic and systemic vulnerability. First, Japan is
embedded in a relationship of dyadic dependence on the United States that creates
extraordinary military and economic vulnerabilities. Japan depends on the US navy to
patrol the sea-lanes though which its imported raw materials and exports flow. Even
after diversifying away from the United States for the last two decades, 30 per cent of
Japanese exports are still destined for US markets. Military, economic and political
dependence thus constrains any Japanese inclination to build an inward-looking Asia.
More generally, dyadic and systemic vulnerability affects most other Asian states as
much, or more, than Japan.
Second, Japan's systemic vulnerability derives from what Kozo Kato calls `globalscope' interdependence, which also constrains the emergence of an inward-looking
Asian bloc.33 Along numerous dimensions of trade, aid, investment and technology
transfer, among others, Japan has a more broadly diversified set of economic and
political links to both rich and poor countries, than does, for example, Germany which
lives internationally inside a European cocoon.34 The Asian financial crisis illustrates
Japan's strong commitment to contribute to the continued functioning of the
international system on which its economic prosperity depends so heavily. By
September 1998 Japan's level of contribution to the solution of the Asian financial
crisis stood as US$43 billion dollars, about a third of the total, compared to US$12
billion for the United States and US$7 billion for European states, even though the
exposure of European banks was comparable to those of Japanese banks.35 About
half of the Japanese credit was committed to credit lines to be disbursed under IMF
bail-out plans over which Japan had little direct influence.36
The Asian financial crisis illustrates that Asian regionalism was not strong enough to
prevent the establishment of beachheads in markets that used to be closed to foreign
investors. An IMF-centred, global approach to the regional financial crisis, rather than
reliance on an Asian-centred, Japanese-led effort, revealed the weakness of an
exclusive and cohesive East Asian regionalism without US involvement. In the
immediate aftermath of the crisis the links between Asian regionalism and global
financial markets have grown stronger. On this score the contrast with the European
Monetary Union (EMU) is striking. The EMU is driven by political considerations
and is on schedule for full operation by the year 2002, when it will contribute to the
creation of a regional actor and a regional political economy that is likely to raise the
profile of the EU without displacing the role of the dollar as lead currency. In
contrast, the Asian financial crisis illuminates, and is likely to advance, a process of
regional economic opening rather than political or policy closure.
An open Asian regionalism will encompass the United States, politically and
economically. In contrast to the 1930s, the political and economic coalitions
prevailing in the United States have no interest in abdicating their influence in various
regions. Yet, despite its preponderant international position, the United States lacks
the resources to be the cornerstone in all of the world's major regions. Instead, the
United States acts as a pivot in a number of important regions.
In Asia, this pivot rests on a combination of US military power, economic presence
and social appeal that reflects diverse interests and ideologies in the United States and
is relevant to important political elites, economic sectors and social strata in Asia.
With the end of the Cold War and the withdrawal of most US ground forces from
Europe, 100,000 ground troops in East Asia are the main reason why the United
States has not returned to its traditional role as a naval power. Compared to Europe
and Asia, the position of the US territorial economy has probably declined somewhat
during the last 30 years. But the competitive position of US corporations in
international markets has increased substantially, especially in the last decade.
American multinational corporations perform strongly and are often at the cutting
edge in the development of new technologies and products. Their full presence in
global markets gives American policy makers a strong incentive to maintain a liberal
international economy. Finally, with English as the only universal language,
American mass culture has a natural advantage over all of its competitors in
disseminating its products on a global scale.
Asia's open regionalism also is important for Europe. Since 1996 the biannual AsiaEurope Meetings (ASEM) of 15 European and 10 Asian heads of states give symbolic
expression to the growing importance of regionalisation processes and regional
structures in world politics. The motivations for these summits differ. They are
political for Asian governments which seek to balance against the US pivot on which
they so heavily rely. They are economic for European governments eager to jumpstart their lagging economies through improved access to high-growth markets in
Asia. Political leaders and journalists at times conceive of ASEM as strengthening the
weak third leg of an emerging tripolar regional world in which different blocs will
confront each other, as they did in Orwell's 1984. In light of this article's argument
this seems highly improbable. Like Asia, Europe is open rather than closed, even
though the reason lies less in its external vulnerability to financial shocks, market
access and military assistance and more in the liberal character of European polities.
Furthermore, differently organised processes of regional enlargement that are now
underway in both Asia and Europe will reinforce regional openness rather than
In sum, analyses pointing to the overwhelming power of the US pivot or the
emergence of a tripolar world of regional blocs suggest misleading images of the
emerging relations among the major states in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Power
has too many dimensions to be shrunk to a simple one-size suggested by the metaphor
of pivot or blocs. The twenty-first century will be nobody's century: not America's,
not Asia's and not Europe's. In an economically more open Asia, Asian relations with
the USA and Europe will illustrate instead the politics of open regionalism in a more
plural world.
Hong Kong
Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港) is one of the two special administrative regions of the
People's Republic of China; the other is Macau. Situated on China's south coast and
enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its
expansive skyline and deep natural harbor. With land mass of 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi)
and a population of seven million people, Hong Kong is one of the most densely
populated areas in the world. Hong Kong's population is 95% ethnic Chinese and 5%
from other groups. Hong Kong's Han majority originate mainly from Guangzhou and
Taishan, both cities in neighbouring Guangdong province.
Under the principle of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong runs on economic and
political systems different from those of mainland China. Hong Kong is one of the
world's leading international financial centers, with a major capitalist service
economy characterized by low taxation, free trade and minimum government
intervention under the ethos of positive non-interventionism. The Hong Kong dollar is
the 9th most traded currency in the world.
Hong Kong's independent judiciary functions under the common law framework. Its
political system is governed by the Basic Law of Hong Kong, its constitutional
document. Although it has a burgeoning multi-party system, half of its legislature is
controlled by small-circle electorate. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, the head of
government, is selected by a 800-person election committee.
Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the First Opium War (1839–
42). Originally confined to Hong Kong Island, the colony's boundaries were extended
in stages to the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories by 1898. It was occupied
by Japan during the Pacific War, after which the British resumed control until 1997,
when China regained sovereignty. The Basic Law stipulates that Hong Kong shall
enjoy a "high degree of autonomy" in all matters except foreign relations and military
The name "Hong Kong" is an approximate phonetic rendering of the Cantonese
pronunciation of the spoken Cantonese or Hakka name "香港", meaning "fragrant
harbour" in English.
Before 1842, the name Hong Kong originally referred to a small inlet (now Aberdeen
Harbour/Little Hong Kong) between the island of Ap Lei Chau and the south side of
Hong Kong Island. The inlet was one of the first points of contact between British
sailors and local fishermen.
The reference to fragrance may refer to the harbour waters sweetened by the fresh
water estuarine influx of the Pearl River, or to the incense factories lining the coast to
the north of Kowloon, which was stored around Aberdeen Harbour for export, before
the development of Victoria Harbour. In 1842, the Treaty of Nanking was signed, and
the name Hong Kong was first recorded on official documents to encompass the
entirety of the island.
Hong Kong began as a coastal island geographically located in southern China. While
small settlements had taken place in the Hong Kong region, with archaeological
findings dating back thousands of years, regularly written records were not made until
the engagement of Imperial China and the British colony in the territory. Starting out
as a fishing village, salt production site and trading ground, it would evolve into a
military port of strategic importance and eventually an international financial centre
that enjoys the world's 6th highest GDP (PPP) per capita, supporting 33% of the
foreign capital flows into China.
Human settlement in the area now known as Hong Kong dates back to the late
Paleolithic and early Neolithic era, but the name Hong Kong (香港) did not appear
on written record until the Treaty of Nanking of 1842.
Hong Kong, a little fishing village where Chinese emperors would send their
punished officials, was first inhabited by the Hakka people. The four big clans were
the Liu, Man, Pang, and Tang. Each clan, and its numerous branches, took up
residence in what is today considered the New Territories. With scant natural
resources and hilly terrain, the indigenous peasants and fishermen survived on the
island's few and precious assets until European visitors set foot on the territory and
changed its history.
The area's earliest recorded European visitor was Jorge Álvares, a Portuguese explorer
who arrived in 1513. In 1839 the refusal by Qing Dynasty authorities to import opium
resulted in the First Opium War between China and Britain. Hong Kong Island
became occupied by British forces in 1841, and was formally ceded to Britain under
the Treaty of Nanking at the end of the war. The British established a crown colony
with the founding of Victoria City the following year. In 1860, after China's defeat in
the Second Opium War, the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter's Island were ceded
to Britain under the Convention of Peking. In 1898, under the terms of the Convention
for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory, Britain obtained a 99-year lease of Lantau
Island and the adjacent northern lands, which became known as the New Territories.
Hong Kong's territory has remained unchanged to the present.
During the first half of the 20th century, Hong Kong was a free port, serving as an
entrepôt of the British Empire. The British introduced an education system based on
their own model, while the local Chinese population had little contact with the
European community of wealthy tai-pans settled near Victoria Peak.
In conjunction with its military campaign in the Second World War, the Empire of
Japan invaded Hong Kong on 8 December 1941. The Battle of Hong Kong ended
with British and Canadian defenders surrendering control of the colony to Japan on 25
December. During the Japanese occupation, civilians suffered widespread food
shortages, rationing, and hyper-inflation due to forced exchange of currency for
military notes. Hong Kong lost more than half of its population in the period between
the invasion and Japan's surrender in 1945, when the United Kingdom resumed
control of the colony.
Hong Kong's population recovered quickly as a wave of migrants from China arrived
for refuge from the ongoing Chinese Civil War. When the People's Republic of China
was proclaimed in 1949, more migrants fled to Hong Kong in fear of persecution by
the Communist Party. Many corporations in Shanghai and Guangzhou also shifted
their operations to Hong Kong.
As textile and manufacturing industries grew with the help of population growth and
low cost of labour, Hong Kong rapidly industrialised, with its economy becoming
driven by exports, and living standards rising steadily. The construction of Shek Kip
Mei Estate in 1953 marked the beginning of the public housing estate programme,
designed to cope with the huge influx of immigrants. Trade in Hong Kong accelerated
even further when Shenzhen, immediately north of Hong Kong, became a special
economic zone of the PRC, and established Hong Kong as the main source of foreign
investment to China. With the development of the manufacturing industry in southern
China beginning in the early 1980s, Hong Kong's competitiveness in manufacturing
declined and its economy began shifting toward a reliance on the service industry,
which enjoyed high rates of growth in the 1980s and 1990s, and absorbed workers
released from the manufacturing industry.
In 1983, Hong Kong was reclassified from a British crown colony to a dependent
territory. However with the lease of the New Territories due to expire within two
decades, the governments of Britain and China were already discussing the issue of
Hong Kong's sovereignty. In 1984 the two countries signed the Sino-British Joint
Declaration, agreeing to transfer sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in
1997, and stipulating that Hong Kong would be governed as a special administrative
region, retaining its laws and a high degree of autonomy for at least fifty years after
the transfer. The Hong Kong Basic Law, which would serve as the constitutional
document after the transfer, was ratified in 1990, and the transfer of sovereignty
occurred at midnight on 1 July 1997, marked by a handover ceremony at the Hong
Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Hong Kong's economy was affected by the Asian financial crisis, and the H5N1 avian
influenza, both in 1997. After a gradual recovery, Hong Kong suffered again due to
an outbreak of SARS in 2003. Today, Hong Kong continues to serve as an important
global financial centre, but faces uncertainty over its future role with a growing
mainland China economy, and its relationship with the PRC government in areas such
as democratic reform and universal suffrage.
In accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and reflecting the policy known
as "one country, two systems", Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy as a
special administrative region in all areas except defence and foreign affairs. The
declaration stipulates that the region maintain its capitalist economic system and
guarantees the rights and freedoms of its people for at least 50 years beyond the 1997
handover. The Basic Law is the constitutional document that outlines the executive,
legislative and judicial authorities of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,
although final authority for interpreting the Basic Law rests with the Standing
Committee of the National People's Congress.
The primary institutions of government are:
• The executive: The Executive Council, headed by the Chief Executive who is
elected by the
Election Committee and then appointed by the Central People's Government;
• The civil service: A politically neutral body that implements policies and
provides government
services, where public servants are appointed based on meritocracy
• The legislature: The Legislative Council has 60 members, half of which are
directly elected by
universal suffrage by permanent residents of Hong Kong according to 5 geographical
constituencies. The other half, known as functional constituencies, are directly elected
by a smaller electorate, which consists of corporate bodies and natural persons from
various stipulated functional sectors. It is headed by the President of the Legislative
Council who serves as the speaker;
• The judiciary: The Judiciary of Hong Kong, comprising the Court of Final
Appeal, the High Court
(which includes the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance), the District
Court et cetera. Judges are appointed by the Chief Executive on the recommendation
of an independent commission.
The implementation of the Basic Law and universal suffrage have been major issues
of political debate since the transfer of sovereignty. In 2002, the government's
proposed anti-subversion bill pursuant to Article 23 of the Basic Law, which required
the enactment of laws prohibiting acts of treason and subversion against the Chinese
government, was met with fierce opposition, and eventually shelved. Debate between
pro-Beijing groups and Pan-democracy camp characterises Hong Kong's political
scene, with the latter supporting a faster pace of democratization.
Geography and climate
Hong Kong is located on China's south coast, 60 km (37 mi) east of Macau on the
opposite side of the Pearl River Delta. It is surrounded by the South China Sea on the
east, south, and west, and borders the Guangdong city of Shenzhen to the north over
the Shenzhen River. The territory's 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi) area consists of Hong
Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories, and over 200 offshore
islands, of which the largest is Lantau Island. Of the total area, 1,054 km2 (407 sq mi)
is land and 50 km2 (19 sq mi) is inland water. In addition Hong Kong claims
territorial waters to a distance of 3 nautical miles (5.6 km). The land area makes Hong
Kong the 179th largest habited territory in the world.
As much of Hong Kong's terrain is hilly to mountainous with steep slopes, less than
25% of the territory's landmass is developed, and about 40% of the remaining land
area is reserved as country parks and nature reserves. Most of the territory's urban
development exists on Kowloon peninsula, along the northern edge of Hong Kong
Island and in scattered settlements throughout the New Territories. The highest
elevation in the territory is at Tai Mo Shan, at a height of 957 metres (3,140 ft) above
sea level. Hong Kong's long, irregular and curvaceous coast line provides it with
many bays, rivers and beaches.
Despite Hong Kong's reputation of being intensely urbanised, the territory has made
much effort to promote a green environment, and recent growing public concern has
prompted the severe restriction of further land reclamation from Victoria Harbour.
Awareness of the environment is growing as Hong Kong suffers from increasing
pollution compounded by its geography and tall buildings. Approximately 80% of the
city's smog originates from other parts of the Pearl River Delta.
Situated just south of the Tropic of Cancer, Hong Kong's climate is humid subtropical
climate (Köppen climate classification Cwa). Summer is hot and humid with
occasional showers and thunderstorms, and warm air coming from the southwest. It is
also the time when typhoons are most likely, sometimes resulting in flooding or
landslides. Winter weather usually starts sunny and becomes cloudier towards
February, with the occasional cold front bringing strong, cooling winds from the
north. The most pleasant seasons are spring, although changeable, and autumn, which
is generally sunny and dry. Hong Kong averages 1,948 hours of sunshine per year,
while the highest and lowest ever recorded temperatures at the Hong Kong
Observatory are 36.1 °C (97.0 °F) and 0.0 °C (32.0 °F), respectively.
Hong Kong is one of the world's leading financial centers. Its highly developed
capitalist economy has been ranked the freest in the world by the Index of Economic
Freedom for 15 consecutive years. It is an important centre for international finance
and trade, with one of the greatest concentration of corporate headquarters in the
Asia-Pacific region, and is known as one of the Four Asian Tigers for its high growth
rates and rapid development between the 1960s and 1990s. In addition, Hong Kong's
gross domestic product, between 1961 and 1997, has grown 180 times larger than the
former while per capita GDP rose by 87 times.
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the sixth largest in the world, with a market
capitalisation of US$2.97 trillion as at October 2007. In 2009, Hong Kong raised 22
percent of worldwide IPO capital, making it the largest centre of initial public
offerings in the world. Hong Kong's currency is the Hong Kong dollar, which has
been pegged to the U.S. dollar since 1983.
The Government of Hong Kong plays a passive role in the financial industry, mostly
leaving the direction of the economy to market forces and the private sector. Under
the official policy of "positive non-interventionism", Hong Kong is often cited as an
example of laissez-faire capitalism. Following the Second World War, Hong Kong
industrialised rapidly as a manufacturing centre driven by exports, and then
underwent a rapid transition to a service-based economy in the 1980s.
Hong Kong matured to become a financial centre in the 1990s, but was greatly
affected by the Asian financial crisis in 1998, and again in 2003 by the SARS
outbreak. A revival of external and domestic demand has led to a strong recovery, as
cost decreases strengthened the competitiveness of Hong Kong exports and a long
deflationary period ended.
The territory has little arable land and few natural resources, so it imports most of its
food and raw materials. Hong Kong is the world's eleventh largest trading entity, with
the total value of imports and exports exceeding its gross domestic product. Hong
Kong is the world's largest re-export centre. Much of Hong Kong's exports consist of
re-exports, which are products made outside of the territory, especially in mainland
China, and distributed via Hong Kong. Even before the transfer of sovereignty, Hong
Kong had established extensive trade and investment ties with the mainland, and now
enables it to serve as a point of entry for investment flowing into the mainland. At the
end of 2007, there were 3.46 million people employed full-time, with the
unemployment rate averaging 4.1%, the fourth straight year of decline. Hong Kong's
economy is dominated by the service sector, which accounts for over 90% of its GDP,
while industry now constitutes just 9%. Inflation was at 2% in 2007, and Hong Kong's
largest export markets are mainland China, the United States, and Japan.
As of 2009, Hong Kong is the fifth most expensive city for expatriates, behind Tokyo,
Osaka, Moscow, and Geneva. In 2008, Hong Kong was ranked sixth, and in 2007, it
was ranked fifth. In 2009, Hong Kong was ranked third in the Ease of Doing Business
Hong Kong is frequently described as a place where "East meets West", reflecting the
culture's mix of the territory's Chinese roots with the culture brought to it during its
time as a British colony. One of the more noticeable contradictions is Hong Kong's
balancing of a modernized way of life with traditional Chinese practices. Concepts
like feng shui are taken very seriously, with expensive construction projects often
hiring expert consultants, and are often believed to make or break a business. Other
objects like Ba gua mirrors are still regularly used to deflect evil spirits, and buildings
often lack any floor number that has a 4 in it, due to its similarity to the word for "die"
in Cantonese. The fusion of east and west also characterises Hong Kong's cuisine,
where dim sum, hot pot and fast food restaurants coexist with haute cuisine.
Hong Kong is a recognised global centre of trade, and calls itself an 'entertainment
hub'. Its martial arts film genre gained a high level of popularity in the late 1960s and
1970s. Several Hollywood performers and martial artists have originated from Hong
Kong cinema, notably Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-Fat, and Yuen Woo-ping.
A number of Hong Kong film-makers have also achieved widespread fame in
Hollywood, such as John Woo, Wong Kar-wai and Stephen Chow. Homegrown films
such as Chungking Express, Infernal Affairs, Shaolin Soccer, Rumble in the Bronx,
and In the Mood for Love have gained international recognition. Hong Kong is the
centre for Cantopop music, which draws its influence from other forms of Chinese
music and Western genres, and has a multinational fanbase.
The Hong Kong government supports cultural institutions such as the Hong Kong
Heritage Museum, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Academy for
Performing Arts, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Also, the government's
Leisure and Cultural Services Department subsidises and sponsors international
performers brought to Hong Kong. Many international cultural activities are
organised by the government, consulates, and privately.
Hong Kong has two licensed terrestrial broadcasters – ATV and TVB. There are three
local and a number of foreign suppliers of cable and satellite services. The production
of Hong Kong's soap dramas, comedy series and variety shows reach audiences
throughout the Chinese-speaking world. Magazine and newspaper publishers in Hong
Kong distribute and print in both Chinese and English, with a focus on sensationalism
and celebrity gossip. The media is relatively free from official interference compared
to mainland China, although the Far Eastern Economic Review points to signs of selfcensorship by journals whose owners have close ties to or business interests in the
PRC, but state that even Western media outlets are not immune to growing Chinese
economic power.
Hong Kong offers wide recreational and competitive sport opportunities despite its
limited land area. It sends delegates to international competition, namely the Olympic
Games and Asian Games, and played host to the equestrian events during the 2008
Summer Olympics. There are major multipurpose venues like Hong Kong Coliseum
and MacPherson Stadium. Hong Kong's steep terrain makes it ideal for hiking, with
expansive views over the territory, and its rugged coastline provides many beaches for
Hong Kong has a highly developed transportation network. Over 90% of daily travels
(11 million) are on public transport, making it the highest such percentage in the
world. Payment can be made using the Octopus card, a stored value system
introduced by the MTR, which is now widely accepted on railways, buses and ferries,
and well as accepted for cash at other outlets.
The city's rapid transit system, MTR, has 150 stations, which serve 3.4 million people
a day. Hong Kong Tramways, which has served the territory since 1904, covers the
northern parts of Hong Kong Island and is the only tram system in the world run
exclusively with double deckers. Double-decker buses were introduced to Hong Kong
in 1949, and are now almost exclusively used; single-decker buses remain in use for
routes with lower demand or roads with lower load capacity. Most normal franchised
bus routes in Hong Kong operate until 1 a.m. Public light buses serve most parts of
Hong Kong, particularly areas where standard bus lines cannot reach or do not reach
as frequently, quickly or directly.
The Star Ferry service, founded in 1888, operates four lines across Victoria Harbour
and provides scenic views of Hong Kong's skyline for its 53,000 daily passengers. It
acquired iconic status following its use as a setting on The World of Suzie Wong.
Travel writer Ryan Levitt considered the main Tsim Sha Tsui to Central crossing one
of the most picturesque in the world. Other ferry services are provided by operators
serving outlying islands, new towns, Macau and cities in mainland China. Hong Kong
is also famous for its junks traversing the harbour, and small kai-to ferries that serve
remote coastal settlements.
Hong Kong Island's steep, hilly terrain calls for some unusual ways of getting up and
down the slopes. It was initially served by sedan chair, steeply ascending the side of a
mountain. The Peak Tram, the first public transport system in Hong Kong, has
provided vertical rail transport between Central and Victoria Peak since 1888. In
Central and Western district, there is an extensive system of escalators and moving
pavements, including the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, the
Mid-Levels escalator.
Hong Kong International Airport is a leading air passenger gateway and logistics hub
in Asia and one of the world's busiest airports in terms of international passenger and
cargo movement, serving more than 47 million passengers and handling 3.74 million
tonnes of cargo in 2007. It replaced the overcrowded Kai Tak Airport in Kowloon in
1998, and has been rated as the world's best airport in a number of surveys. Over 85
airlines operate at the two-terminal airport and it is the primary hub of Cathay Pacific,
Dragonair, Air Hong Kong, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express.
According to Emporis, there are 7,650 skyscrapers in Hong Kong, putting the city at
the top of world rankings. The high density and tall skyline of Hong Kong's urban
area is due to a lack of available sprawl space, with the average distance from the
harbour front to the steep hills of Hong Kong Island at 1.3 km (0.81 mi), much of it
reclaimed land. This lack of space causing demand for dense, high-rise offices and
housing, has resulted in 36 of the world's 100 tallest residential buildings being in
Hong Kong, and more people living or working above the 14th floor than anywhere
else on Earth.
Thailand is an independent country that lies in the heart of Southeast Asia. It is
bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the
south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and
the southern extremity of Burma. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the
Gulf of Thailand to the southeast and Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea to the
The country is a kingdom, a constitutional monarchy with King Bhumibol Adulyadej,
the ninth king of the House of Chakri, who has reigned since 1946, making him the
world's longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai
history. The king is officially titled Head of State, the Head of the Armed Forces, an
Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and the Defender of all Faiths.
The largest city in Thailand is Bangkok, the capital, which is also the country's center
of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities.
Thailand is the world's 50th largest country in terms of total area (slightly smaller than
Yemen and slightly larger than Spain), with a surface area of approximately 513,000
km2 (198,000 sq mi), and the 21st most-populous country, with approximately 64
million people. About 75% of the population is ethnically Thai, 14% is of Chinese
origin, and 3% is ethnically Malay; the rest belong to minority groups including
Mons, Khmers and various hill tribes. There are approximately 2.2 million legal and
illegal migrants in Thailand. Thailand has also attracted a number of expatriates from
developed countries.[9] The country's official language is Thai. It is primarily
Buddhist, which is practiced by around 95% of all Thais.
Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1995 and is a newly
industrialized country with tourism, due to well-known tourist destinations such as
Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Ko Samui, and exports contributing
significantly to the economy.
The country's official name was Siam RTGS: Sayam, pronounced until June 23, 1939,
when it was changed to Thailand. It was then renamed Siam from 1945 to May 11,
1949, after which it was again renamed Thailand. Also spelled Siem, Syâm or Syâma,
it has been identified with the Sanskrit Śyâma . The names Shan and A-hom seem to
be variants of the same word, and Śyâma is possibly not its origin but a learned and
artificial distortion.
The word Thai is not, as commonly believed, derived from the word Tai meaning
"freedom" in the Thai language; it is, however, the name of an ethnic group from the
central plains. A famous Thai scholar argued that Tai simply means "people" or
"human being" since his investigation shows that in some rural areas the word "Tai"
was used instead of the usual Thai word "khon" for people. The phrase "Land of the
free" is derived from Thai pride in the fact that Thailand is the only country in
Southeast Asia never colonized by a European power.
While the Thai people will often refer to their country using the polite form Prathet
Thai, they most commonly use the more colloquial word Mueang Thai or simply
Thai; the word mueang meaning nation but most commonly used to refer to a city or
town. Ratcha Anachak Thai means "Kingdom of Thailand" or "Kingdom of Thai".
The region known as Thailand has been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic
period, about 10,000 years ago. Similar to other regions in Southeast Asia, it was
heavily influenced by the culture and religions of India, starting with the kingdom of
Funan around the 1st century CE.
After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 13th century, various states thrived there,
such as the various Tai, Mon, Khmer and Malay kingdoms, as seen through the
numerous archaeological sites and artifacts that are scattered throughout the Siamese
landscape. Prior to the 12th century however, the first Thai or Siamese state is
traditionally considered to be the Buddhist kingdom of Sukhothai, which was founded
in 1238.
Buddhist images at Wat Mahathat built during the Sukhothai period.
Following the decline and fall of the Khmer empire in the 13th–14th century, the
Buddhist Tai kingdoms of Sukhothai, Lanna and Lan Chang were on the ascension.
However, a century later, the power of Sukhothai was overshadowed by the new
kingdom of Ayutthaya, established in the mid-14th century in the lower Chao Phraya
River or Menam area.
Ayutthaya's expansion centered along the Menam while in the northern valley the
Lanna Kingdom and other small Tai city-states ruled the area. In 1431, the Khmer
abandoned Angkor after the Ayutthaya forces invaded the city. Thailand retained a
tradition of trade with its neighbouring states, from China to India, Persia and Arab
lands. Ayutthaya became one of the most vibrant trading centres in Asia. European
traders arrived in the 16th century, beginning with the Portuguese, followed by the
French, Dutch and English.
After the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 to the Burmese, King Taksin the Great moved the
capital of Thailand to Thonburi for approximately 15 years. The current Rattanakosin
era of Thai history began in 1782, following the establishment of Bangkok as capital
of the Chakri dynasty under King Rama I the Great. A quarter to a third of the
population of some areas of Thailand were slaves.
Despite European pressure, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation that has never
been colonized. Two main reasons for this were that Thailand had a long succession
of very able rulers in the 19th century and that it was able to exploit the rivalry and
tension between French Indochina and the British Empire. As a result, the country
remained a buffer state between parts of Southeast Asia that were colonized by the
two powers, Great Britain and France.
The ruins of Wat Chaiwatthanaram at Ayutthaya, the city was burned and sacked in
1767 by a Burmese army under the Alaungpaya Dynasty.
Western influence nevertheless led to many reforms in the 19th century and major
concessions, most notably being the loss of a large territory on the east side of the
Mekong to the French and the step-by-step absorption by Britain of the Shan (Thai
Yai) States (now in Burma)[citation needed] and the Malay Peninsula.
The Malay Peninsula was once known as Tanah Melayu (Malay Land). It extends
from Singapore to the Isthmus of Kra bordering Burma, Thailand and Malay Land.
Phuket is Bukit (hill) in Malay, "Satun" is "Setol" (a tropical fruit) was the Province
of "Kedah" under the Malay Sultanate and Patani (Land of Farmers) was also part of
the Malay Sultanate. In these areas people once spoke both English as well as Samsam, a local version of the Siamese language. The majority of residents were
Muslims. Thailand pushed to dominate the peninsula as far as Malacca in the 1400s
and held much of the peninsula for the next few centuries, including Tumasek
(Singapore) some of the Andaman Islands and a colony on Java, but eventually failed
when the British used force to guarantee their suzerainty over the sultanate.
All the states of the Malay Sultanate presented annual gifts to the Thai king in the
form of a golden flower, which understood the gesture to be tribute and an
acknowledgement of vassalage. The British intervened in the Malay State and with
the Anglo-Siamese Treaty tried to build a railway from the south to Bangkok,
Thailand relinquished sovereignty over what are now the northern Malay provinces of
Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu to the British. Satun and Pattani provinces
were given to Thailand. The Malay peninsula provinces were infiltrated by the
Japanese during World War II, and by the Malayan Communist Party (CPM) from
1942 to 2008, when they decided to sue for peace with the Malaysian and Thai
governments after the CPM lost its support from Vietnam and China subsequent to
the Cultural Revolution. Recent insurgent uprisings may be a continuation of
separatist fighting which started after World War II with Sukarno's support for the
PULO, and the intensification. Most victims since the uprisings have been Buddhist
and Muslim bystanders.
Totaling 513,120 square kilometres (198,120 sq mi), Thailand is the world's 50th
largest country in land mass, while it is the world's 20th largest country in terms of
population. It is comparable in population to countries such as France and the United
Kingdom, and is similar in land size to France and California in the United States.
The local climate is tropical and characterized by monsoons. There is a rainy, warm,
and cloudy southwest monsoon from mid-May to September, as well as a dry, cool
northeast monsoon from November to mid-March. The southern isthmus is always hot
and humid.
Thailand is home to several distinct geographic regions, partly corresponding to the
provincial groups. The north of the country is mountainous, with the highest point
being Doi Inthanon at 2,565 metres (8,420 ft) above sea level. The northeast, Isan,
consists of the Khorat Plateau, bordered to the east by the Mekong River. The centre
of the country is dominated by the predominantly flat Chao Phraya river valley, which
runs into the Gulf of Thailand. The south consists of the narrow Kra Isthmus that
widens into the Malay Peninsula. Politically, there are six geographical regions which
differ from the others in population, basic resources, natural features, and level of
social and economic development. The diversity of the regions is the most
pronounced attribute of Thailand's physical setting.
The Chao Phraya and the Mekong River are the sustainable resource of rural
Thailand. Industrial scale production of crops use both rivers and their tributaries. The
Gulf of Thailand covers 320,000 square kilometres (124,000 sq mi) and is fed by the
Chao Phraya, Mae Klong, Bang Pakong and Tapi Rivers. It contributes to the tourism
sector owing to its clear shallow waters along the coasts in the Southern Region and
the Kra Isthmus. The Gulf of Thailand is also an industrial center of Thailand with the
kingdom's main port in Sattahip along with being the entry gates for Bangkok's Inland
Seaport. The Andaman Sea is regarded as Thailand's most precious natural resource
as it hosts the most popular and luxurious resorts in Asia. Phuket, Krabi, Ranong,
Phang Nga and Trang and their lush islands all lay along the coasts of the Andaman
Sea and despite the 2004 Tsunami, they continue to be and ever more so, the
playground of the rich and elite of Asia and the world.
Plans have resurfaced of a logistical connection of the two bodies of water which
would be coined the Thai Canal, analogous to the Suez and the Panama Canal. Such
an idea has been greeted with positive accounts by Thai politicians as it would cut
fees charged by the Ports of Singapore, improve ties with China and India, lower
shipping times and increase ship safety owing to pirate fears in the Strait of Melaka
and, support the Thai government's policy of being the logistical hub for Southeast
Asia. The ports would improve economic conditions in the south of Thailand, which
relies heavily on tourism income, and it would also change the structure of the Thai
economy moving it closer to a services center of Asia. The canal would be a major
engineering project and has expected costs of 20–30 billion dollars.
Thailand is an emerging economy and considered as a newly industrialized country.
After enjoying the world's highest growth rate from 1985 to 1996 – averaging 9.4%
annually – increased pressure on Thailand's currency, the baht, in 1997, the year in
which the economy contracted by 1.9% led to a crisis that uncovered financial sector
weaknesses and forced the Chavalit Yongchaiyudh administration to float the
currency, however, Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was forced to resign after
his cabinet came under fire for its slow response to the crisis. The baht was pegged at
25 to the US dollar from 1978 to 1997, however, the baht reached its lowest point of
56 to the US dollar in January 1998 and the economy contracted by 10.8% that year.
This collapse prompted the Asian financial crisis.
Thailand's economy started to recover in 1999, expanding 4.2% and 4.4% in 2000,
thanks largely to strong exports. Growth (2.2%) was dampened by the softening of the
global economy in 2001, but picked up in the subsequent years owing to strong
growth in Asia, a relatively weak baht encouraging exports and increasing domestic
spending as a result of several mega projects and incentives of Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra, known as Thaksinomics. Growth in 2002, 2003 and 2004 was 5–
7% annually. Growth in 2005, 2006 and 2007 hovered around 4–5%. Due both to the
weakening of the US dollar and an increasingly strong Thai currency, by March 2008,
the dollar was hovering around the 33 baht mark.
Thailand exports an increasing value of over $105 billion worth of goods and services
annually. Major exports include Thai rice, textiles and footwear, fishery products,
rubber, jewellery, cars, computers and electrical appliances. Thailand is the world’s
no.1 exporter of rice, exporting more than 6.5 million tons of milled rice annually.
Rice is the most important crop in the country. Thailand has the highest percentage of
arable land, 27.25%, of any nation in the Greater Mekong Subregion. About 55% of
the arable land area is used for rice production.
Substantial industries include electric appliances, components, computer parts and
cars, while tourism in Thailand makes up about 6% of the economy. Prostitution in
Thailand and sex tourism also form a de facto part of the economy. Cultural milieu
combined with poverty and the lure of money have caused prostitution and sex
tourism in particular to flourish in Thailand. One estimate published in 2003 placed
the trade at US$4.3 billion per year or about three percent of the Thai economy.
According to research by Chulalongkorn University on the Thai illegal economy,
prostitution in Thailand in the period between 1993 and 1995, made up around 2.7%
of the GDP. It is believed that at least 10% of tourist dollars are spent on the sex
The economy of Thailand is an emerging economy which is heavily exportdependent, with exports accounting for more than two thirds of gross domestic
product (GDP) The exchange rate is Baht 33.00/USD.
Thailand has a GDP worth 8.5 trillion Baht (on a purchasing power parity (PPP)
basis), or US$627 billion (PPP). This classifies Thailand as the 2nd largest economy
in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. Despite this, Thailand ranks midway in the wealth
spread in Southeast Asia as it is the 4th richest nation according to GDP per capita,
after Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia.
It functions as an anchor economy for the neighboring developing economies of Laos,
Burma, and Cambodia. Thailand's recovery from the 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis
depended mainly on exports, among various other factors. Thailand ranks high among
the world's automotive export industries along with manufacturing of electronic
Most of Thailand's labor force is working in agriculture. However, the relative
contribution of agriculture to GDP has declined while exports of goods and services
have increased.
Tourism revenues are on the rise. With the instability surrounding the recent coup and
the military rule, however, the GDP growth of Thailand has settled at around 4-5%
from previous highs of 5-7% under the previous civilian administration, as investor
and consumer confidence has been degraded somewhat due to political uncertainty.
The incumbent elected civilian administration under Samak Sundaravej in power from
January 29 to September 9, 2008 stated that the economy will have grown by 5.5% to
6% by the end of 2008. Due to rising oil and food prices, the annual inflation rate for
2008 shot up to 9.2% in July; a 10-year high, but it will unlikely reach double digit
rates later this year as oil and food prices are stabilizing.
Thailand generally uses the metric system but traditional units of measurement for
land area are used, and imperial measure (feet, inches etc.) are occasionally used with
building materials such as wood and plumbing sizes. Years are numbered as B.E.
(Buddhist Era) in education, the civil service, government, and on contracts and
newspaper datelines; in banking, however, and increasingly in industry and
commerce, standard Western year (Christian or Common Era) counting prevails.
Thai culture has been shaped by many influences, including Chinese, Lao, Burmese,
Cambodian, and Indian.
Its traditions incorporate a great deal of influence from India, China, Cambodia, and
the rest of Southeast Asia. Thailand's national religion Theravada Buddhism is
important to modern Thai identity. Thai Buddhism has evolved over time to include
many regional beliefs originating from Hinduism, animism as well as ancestor
worship. The official calendar in Thailand is based on the Eastern version of the
Buddhist Era, which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian (western) calendar. For
example, the year AD 2010 is 2553 BE in Thailand.
Several different ethnic groups, many of which are marginalized, populate Thailand.
Some of these groups overlap into Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia and have
mediated change between their traditional local culture, national Thai and global
cultural influences. Overseas Chinese also form a significant part of Thai society,
particularly in and around Bangkok. Their successful integration into Thai society has
allowed for this group to hold positions of economic and political power.
The traditional Thai greeting, the wai, is generally offered first by the younger of the
two people meeting, with their hands pressed together, fingertips pointing upwards as
the head is bowed to touch their face to the hands, usually coinciding with the spoken
word "Sawasdee khrap" for male speakers, and "Sawasdee ka" for females. The elder
then is to respond afterwards in the same way. Social status and position, such as in
government, will also have an influence on who performs the wai first. For example,
although one may be considerably older than a provincial governor, when meeting it
is usually the visitor who pays respect first. When children leave to go to school, they
are taught to wai to their parents to represent their respect for them. They do the same
when they come back. The wai is a sign of respect and reverence for another, similar
to the namaste greeting of India and Nepal.
Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is the national sport in Thailand and its native martial art
call "Muay". In the past "Muay" was taught to royal soldiers for combat on battlefield
if unarmed. After they retired from the army, these soldiers often became Buddhist
monks and stayed at the temples. Most of the Thai people's lives are closely tied to
Buddhism and temples; they often send their sons to be educated with the monks.
”Muay” is also one of the subjects taught in the temples. Muay Thai achieved
popularity all over the world in the 1990s. Although similar martial arts styles exist in
other Southeast Asian countries, few enjoy the recognition that Muay Thai has
received with its full-contact rules allowing strikes including elbows, throws and
Association football, however, has possibly overtaken Muay Thai's position as most
widely viewed and liked sport in contemporary Thai society and it is not uncommon
to see Thais cheering their favourite English Premier League teams on television and
walking around in replica kits. Another widely enjoyed pastime, and once a
competitive sport, is kite flying.
Thai cuisine blends five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty. Some
common ingredients used in Thai cuisine include garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon
grass, and fish sauce. The staple food in Thailand is rice, particularly jasmine variety
rice (also known as Hom Mali rice) which is included in almost every meal. Thailand
is the world's largest exporter of rice, and Thais domestically consume over 100 kg of
milled rice per person per year. Over 5000 varieties of rice from Thailand are
preserved in the rice gene bank of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI),
based in the Philippines. The king of Thailand is the official patron of IRRI.
Like most Asian cultures, respect towards ancestors is an essential part of Thai
spiritual practice. Thais have a strong sense of hospitality and generosity, but also a
strong sense of social hierarchy. Seniority is an important concept in Thai culture.
Elders have by tradition ruled in family decisions or ceremonies. Older siblings have
duties to younger ones.
Taboos in Thailand include touching someone's head or pointing with the feet, as the
head is considered the most sacred and the foot the dirtiest part of the body.Thai
society has been influenced in recent years by its widely available multi-language
press and media. There are some English and numerous Thai and Chinese newspapers
in circulation; most Thai popular magazines use English headlines as a chic glamor
factor. Many large businesses in Bangkok operate in English as well as other
Thailand is the largest newspaper market in Southeast Asia with an estimated
circulation of at least 13 million copies daily in 2003. Even upcountry, out of
Bangkok, media flourishes. For example, according to Thailand's Public Relations
Department Media Directory 2003-2004, the nineteen provinces of Isan, Thailand's
northeastern region, hosted 116 newspapers along with radio, TV and cable.
Main articles: Thailand at the Olympics, Thai national football team, and Thailand
national beach football team
Thammasat University Stadium national sport
Rajamangala National Stadium
Muay Thai is Thailand's national sport
Muay Thai Pone Kingpetch, 1960s Muay Thai champion.
Thai boxing
Muay Thai (Thai: มวยไทย, RTGS: Muai Thai, IPA: [mu j t
j], lit. "Thai Boxing")
is a form of hard martial art practiced in large parts of the world, including Thailand
and other Southeast Asian countries. The art is similar to others in Southeast Asia
such as: Pradal Serey in Cambodia, Lethwei in Burma, Tomoi in Malaysia, and Muay
Lao in Laos. Muay Thai has a long history in Thailand and is the country's national
Pone Kingpetch was a Thai boxer, from Hua Hin, who defeated Pascal Perez, an
Argentinean boxer to become the first Thai WBC Flyweight Champion on 16 April
1960 and later a 3 time WBC Flyweight Champion. Pone Kingpetch originally known
as Mana Sidokbuab, assumed this name from his training camp; Kingpetch. Thai
fighters traditionally take on the name of the camps they train for. That owner of the
gym and head coach’s, Thongtos Intratat is present in these pictures. Thongtos Intratat
is also known for being the first person to officially formulate and bottle Namman
Muay (Thai Liniment) which is desired for his fighter, Pone Kingpetch. Namman
Muay (Thai Liniment) is still only produced by his direct descendants in Thailand.
Traditional Muay Thai practiced today varies significantly from the ancient art Muay
Boran and uses kicks, punches and knee and elbow strikes in a ring with gloves
similar to those used in Western boxing and this has led to Thailand gaining medals at
the Olympic Games in Boxing.
Sepak Takraw Takraw is a sport native to Thailand , which the players hit a rattan ball
and only be allowed to use their feet, knee, chest and head to touch the ball. Sepak
Takraw is a form of this sport which appears in volley ball style, the players must
volley a ball over a net and force it to hit the ground on oppnent's side. It is a popular
in other countries in Southeast Asia also.
Rugby Rugby is also a growing sport in Thailand with the Thailand national rugby
union team rising to be ranked 61st in the world. Thailand became the first country in
the world to host an international 80 kg welterweight rugby tournament in 2005. The
national domestic Thailand Rugby Union (TRU) competition includes several
universities and services teams such as Chulalongkorn University, Mahasarakham
University, Kasetsart University, Prince of Songkla University, Thammasat
University, Rangsit University, the Thai Police, the Thai Army, the Thai Navy and the
Royal Thai Air Force. Local sports clubs which also compete in the TRU include the
British Club of Bangkok, the Southerners Sports Club (Bangkok) and the Royal
Bangkok Sports Club.
Further information: Golf in Thailand
Thailand has been called the Golf Capital of Asia as it is a popular destination for
golf. The country attracts a large number of golfers from Japan, Korea, Singapore,
South Africa and Western countries who come to play golf in Thailand every year.
The growing popularity of golf, especially among the middle classes and expats, is
evident since there are more than 200 world-class golf courses nationwide, and some
of them are chosen to host PGA and LPGA tournaments, such as Amata Spring
Country Club, Alpine Golf & Sports Club, Thai Country Club and Black Mountain
Golf Club.
Other sports Other sports in Thailand are slowly growing as the country develops its
sporting infrastructure. The success in sports like weightlifting and Taekwondo at the
last two Summer Olympic Games has demonstrated that boxing is no longer the only
medal chance for Thailand.
Thammasat Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. It is currently
used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 25,000. It is located in
Thammasat University's Rangsit campus.
It was built for the 1998 Asian Games by construction firm Christiani and Nielsen, the
same company that constructed the Democracy Monument in Bangkok.
Its appearance is that of a scaled down version of the Rajamangala Stadium. The
tribunes form a continuous ring which are quite low behind each goal but rise up on
each side. Unlike the Rajamangala though, Thammasat has a roof covering both side
tribunes. Most striking about this stadium are the floodlights. Thai architects usually
favour concrete pylons but these are the steel variety. As viewed from the exterior of
the stadium the base of each pylon seems to grip the outside of the stadium and they
dramatically lean over the tribunes so as to better illuminate the playing area.
Thammasat was going to be used for PEA FC's match against Singapore Armed
Forces FC in an Asian Champions League qualifier in February 2009 but the pitch
was deemed unplayable and the match was switched to the Rajamangala.
Rajamangala National Stadium is the biggest sporting arena in Thailand. It currently
has a capacity of 65,000. It is located in Bang Kapi, Bangkok. The stadium was built
in 1998 for the 1998 Asian Games and is the home stadium of Thailand national
football team up to present.
Malaysia is a country in South East Asia (near Indonesia) whose strategic sea-lane
position brought trade and foreign influences that fundamentally influenced its
history. Hindu India, the Islamic Middle East and Christian Europe to its west, and
China and Japan with one of successive phases of outside influence, followed by the
mid-twentieth century establishment of independence from foreign colonial powers.
Hindu and Buddhist cultures imported from India dominated early Malaysian history.
They reached their peak in the Sumatran-based Srivijaya civilization, whose
influence extended through Sumatra, Java, the Malay Peninsula and much of Borneo
from the 7th to the 14th centuries.
Although Muslims had passed through Malaysia as early as the tenth century, it was
not until the 14th and 15th centuries that Islam first established itself on the Malayan
Peninsular. The adoption of Islam by the fifteenth century saw the rise of number
sultanates, the most prominent of which was the Melaka (Malacca). Islamic culture
has had a profound influence on the Malay people, but has also been influenced by
them. The Portuguese were the first European colonial powers to establish themselves
in Malaysia, capturing Malacca in 1511, followed by the Dutch. However, it was the
British, who after initially establishing bases at Jesselton, Kuching, Penang and
Singapore, ultimately secured their hegemony across the territory that is now
Malaysia. The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 defined the boundaries between British
Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies (which became Indonesia). A fourth phase of
foreign influence was immigration of Chinese and Indian workers to meet the needs
of the colonial economy created by the British in the Malay Peninsula and Borneo.
Japanese invasion during World War II ended British domination in Malaysia. The
subsequent occupation from 1942 to 1945 unleashed nationalism in Malaya and
Borneo. In the Peninsula, the Malayan Communist Party took up arms against the
British. A tough military response was needed to end the insurgency and bring about
the establishment of an independent, multi-racial Federation of Malaya in 1957. On
31 August 1963, the British territories in North Borneo and Singapore were granted
independence and formed Malaysia with the Peninsular states on 16 September 1963.
Approximately two years later, Singapore was expelled from the Federation. A
confrontation with Indonesia occurred in the early-1960s. Race riots in 1969 led to the
imposition of emergency rule, and a curtailment of political life and civil liberties
which has never been fully reversed. Since 1970 the "National Front coalition" headed
by United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has governed Malaysia. Economic
growth dramatically increased living standards by the 1990s. This growing prosperity
helped minimise political discontent.[citation needed] Successive UMNO-dominated
governments have promoted the use of the Malay language and carried out systematic
positive discrimination and moderate apartheid in favour of Muslims, measures which
cause great resentment.
Indian influence
There were numerous Malay kingdoms in the 2nd and 3rd century CE—as many as
30 according to Chinese sources. Kedah—known as Kedaram or Kataha, in ancient
Pallava or Sanskrit—was in the direct route of invasions of Indian traders and kings.
Rajendra Chola, Tamil Emperor who is now thought to have laid Kota Gelanggi to
waste, put Kedah to heel in 1025 but his successor, Vir Rajendra Chola, had to put
down a Kedah rebellion to overthrow the invaders. The coming of the Chola reduced
the majesty of Srivijaya which had exerted influence over Kedah and Pattani and even
as far as Ligor.
Melaka and Islamic Malaya
The port of Melaka ("Malacca") on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula was
founded around 1400 by Parameswara, a rebel prince of the Srivijaya royal line, who
was claimed in the Sejarah Melayu to be a descendant of Alexander the Great.
Expelled from Sumatra for killing the ruler of Temasek (modern day Singapore),
Parameswara established himself in Melaka. The kingdom rapidly assumed the place
previously held by Srivijaya, establishing independent relations with China, and
exploiting its position dominating the Straits to control the China-India maritime
trade, which became increasingly important when the Mongol conquests closed the
overland route between China and the west. Within a few years of its establishment,
Melaka officially adopted Islam, and the Raja became a Sultan.
The political power of the Malaccan Sultanate helped Islam’s rapid spread through the
archipelago, reaching as far as modern day Philippines, while leaving Bali as an
isolated outpost of Hinduism. Islam came to the Malay Archipelago via India, and
unlike Middle Eastern Islam it was influenced by the mystical traditions of Sufism,
and also absorbed some elements of Malay animist and Hindu traditions. Because
Islam was introduced by traders and not military conquest, there was no imposition of
the Arabic language or Arab political customs. Since most ethnic Malays could not
read the Arabic Qur'an, the local version of Islam was much less rigorous than in the
Arabic world. And since the indigenous Malay rulers retained their power, the Islamic
clergy did not gain the political influence it enjoyed in other parts of the Islamic
Melaka's reign lasted little more than a century, but it came to be seen as a golden age
of Malay self-rule, and the Sultans of Melaka became the models for all subsequent
Malay rulers. Melaka became a cultural centre, creating the matrix of the modern
Malay culture: a blend of indigenous Malay and imported Indian, Chinese and Islamic
elements. Melaka's fashions in literature, art, music, dance and dress, and the ornate
titles of its royal court, came to be seen as the standard for all ethnic Malays. The
court of Melaka also gave great prestige to the Malay language, which had originally
evolved in Sumatra and been brought to Melaka at the time of its foundation. In time
Malay came to be the official language of all the Malaysian states, although local
languages survived in many places.
Struggles for hegemony
The closing of the overland route from Asia to Europe by the Ottoman Empire and the
claim towards trade monopoly with India and south-east Asia by Arab traders, led
European powers to look for a maritime route. In 1498 Vasco da Gama, sent by King
John II of Portugal, found the route around the Cape of Good Hope to India, and in
1511 Afonso de Albuquerque led an expedition to Malaya which seized Melaka
following a month-long siege and made it the centre of Portugal’s eastern activity.
The son of the last Sultan of Melaka fled to the island of Bintan off the southern tip of
Malaya, where he founded a state that which became the Sultanate of Johore. By the
late sixteenth century the tin mines of northern Malaya had been discovered by
European traders, and Perak grew wealthy on the proceeds of tin exports. The
European colonial expanded further into the region. The Portuguese gained control
over the trade from the spice-rich Maluku islands, and in 1571 the Spanish captured
In 1607, the Sultanate of Aceh rose as the powerful and wealthiest state in Malay
archipelago. Under Iskandar Muda reign, he extended the sultanate's control over
most of Sumatra and Malay peninsula. He conquered Pahang, a tin-producing region
on the Malayan Peninsula. The strength of his formidable fleet was brought to an end
with a disastrous campaign against Malacca in 1629, when the combined Portuguese
and Johor forces managed to destroy all his ships and 19,000 troops according to
Portuguese account. Aceh forces was not destroyed, however, as Aceh was able to
conquer Kedah within the same year and taking many of its citizens to Aceh. The
Sultan's son in law, Iskandar Thani, former prince of Pahang later became his
successor. During his reign Aceh focused on internal consolidation and religious
In the early seventeenth century, the Dutch established Dutch East India Company
(Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC ), initially based trade and Maluku,
and their post Batavia in west Java. From there they expanded across the archipelago,
forming an alliance with Johore against their main enemies, the Portuguese at Melaka
and the powerful Sultan of Aceh. In 1641, after several attempts, the VOC-Johore
alliance captured Melaka, breaking Portuguese power in Malaya for good – Portugal
was left with only Portuguese Timor. Backed by the Dutch, Johore established a loose
hegemony over the Malay states, except Perak, which was able to play off Johore
against the Siamese to the north and retain its independence.
The weakness of the Malay states in this period allowed other people to migrate into
the Malay homelands. The most significant migrants being the Bugis, seafarers from
eastern Indonesia, who regularly raided the Malay coasts. They seized control of
Johore following the assassination of the last Sultan of the old Melaka royal line in
1699 and other Bugis took control of Selangor. The Minangkabau from center
Sumatra migrated into Malaya, and eventually established their own state in Negeri
Sembilan. The fall of Johore left a power vacuum on the Malay Peninsula which was
partly filled by the Siamese kings of Ayutthaya kingdom, who made the five northern
Malay states – Kedah, Kelantan, Patani, Perlis and Terengganu – their vassals.
Johore’s eclipse also left Perak as the unrivalled leader of the Malay states.
The economic importance of Malaya to Europe grew rapidly during the 18th century.
The fast-growing tea trade between China and Britain increased the demand for highquality Malayan tin, which was used to line tea-chests. Malayan pepper also had a
high reputation in Europe, while Kelantan and Pahang had gold mines. The growth of
tin and gold mining and associated service industries led to the first influx of foreign
settlers into the Malay world – initially Arabs and Indians, later Chinese – who
colonised the towns and soon dominated economic activities. This established a
pattern which characterised Malayan society for the next 200 years – a rural Malay
population increasingly under the domination of wealthy urban immigrant
communities, whose power the Sultans were unable to resist.
English traders had been present in Malay waters since the 17th century, but it was
not until the mid 18th century that the British East India Company, based in British
India, developed a serious interest in Malayan affairs. The growth of the China trade
in British ships increased the Company’s desire for bases in the region. Various
islands were used for this purpose, but the first permanent acquisition was Penang,
leased from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786. This was followed soon after by the leasing
of a block of territory on the mainland opposite Penang (known as Province
Wellesley). In 1795, during the Napoleonic Wars, the British occupied Dutch Melaka
to forestall possible French interest in the area. When Melaka was handed back to the
Dutch in 1815, the British governor, Stamford Raffles, looked for an alternative base,
and in 1819 he acquired Singapore from the Sultan of Johore. The twin bases of
Penang and Singapore, together with the decline of the Netherlands as a naval power,
made Britain the dominant force in Malayan affairs. British influence was increased
by Malayan fears of Siamese expansionism, to which Britain made a useful
counterweight. During the 19th century the Malay Sultans became loyal allies of the
British Empire.
British Influence
In 1824 British hegemony in Malaya (before the name Malaysia) was formalised by
the Anglo-Dutch Treaty, the decisive event in the formation of modern Malaysia. The
Dutch evacuated Melaka and renounced all interest in Malaya, while the British
recognised Dutch rule over the rest of the East Indies. Penang, Melaka and Singapore
were united as the Straits Settlements, ruled by a British Governor in Singapore.
During the 19th century, the British concluded treaties with the Malay states,
installing “residents” who advised the Sultans and soon became the effective rulers of
their states. The wealth of Perak’s tin mines made political stability there a priority for
British investors, and Perak was thus the first Malay state to agree to the supervision
of a British resident. Johore alone resisted, holding out until 1914. In 1909 the
weakened Siamese kingdom was compelled to cede Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and
Terengganu to the British. (Siam retained the Sultanate of Patani, leaving a Muslim
minority in southern Thailand which has been a source of much trouble for successive
Thai governments.)
During the late 19th century the British also gained control of the north coast of
Borneo, where Dutch rule had never been established. The eastern part of this region
(now Sabah) was under the nominal control of the Sultan of Sulu, a vassal of the
Spanish Philippines. The rest was the territory of the Sultanate of Brunei. In 1841, a
British adventurer, James Brooke, leased Kuching from the Sultan and made himself
the “White Raja” of Sarawak, steadily expanding his territory at Brunei’s expense.
North-eastern Borneo was colonised by British traders, and in 1881 the British North
Borneo Company was granted control of the territory under the distant supervision of
the governor in Singapore. The Spanish Philippines never recognised this loss of the
Sultan of Sulu’s territory, laying the basis of the subsequent Filipino claim to Sabah.
In 1888 what was left of Brunei was made a British protectorate, and in 1891 another
Anglo-Dutch treaty formalised the border between British and Dutch Borneo. Thus
the borders of modern Malaysia were formed, in complete disregard of ethnic and
linguistic factors, by the colonial powers.
By 1910 the pattern of British rule in the Malay lands was established. The Straits
Settlements were a Crown Colony, ruled by a governor under the supervision of the
Colonial Office in London. Their population was about half Chinese, but all residents,
regardless of race, were British subjects. The first four states to accept British
residents, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang, were termed the Federated
Malay States: while technically independent, they were placed under a ResidentGeneral in 1895, making them British colonies in all but name. The Unfederated
Malay States (Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Terengganu) had a slightly larger
degree of independence, although they were unable to resist the wishes of their British
Residents for long. Johore, as Britain’s closest ally in Malay affairs, had the privilege
of a written constitution, which gave the Sultan the right to appoint his own Cabinet,
but he was generally careful to consult the British first.
Race relations
Unlike some colonial powers, the British always saw their empire as primarily an
economic concern, and its colonies were expected to turn a profit for British
shareholders. Malaya’s obvious attractions were its tin and gold mines, but British
planters soon began to experiment with tropical plantation crops – tapioca, gambier,
pepper and coffee. But in 1877 the rubber plant was introduced from Brazil, and
rubber soon became Malaya’s staple export, stimulated by booming demand from
European industry. Rubber was later joined by palm oil as an export earner. All these
industries required a large and disciplined labour force, and the British did not regard
the Malays as reliable workers. The solution was the importation of plantation
workers from India, mainly Tamil-speakers from South India. The mines, mills and
docks also attracted a flood of immigrant workers from southern China. Soon towns
like Singapore, Penang and Ipoh were majority Chinese, as was Kuala Lumpur,
founded as a tin-mining centre in 1857. By 1891, when Malaya’s first census was
taken, Perak and Selangor, the main tin-mining states, had Chinese majorities.
The Chinese mostly arrived poor; yet, their belief in industriousness and frugality,
their emphasis in their children's education and their maintenance of Confucian family
hierarchy, as well as their voluntary connection with tightly knit networks of mutual
aid societies (run by "Hui-Guan", or non-profit organizations with nominal
geographic affiliations from different parts of China) all contributed to their
prosperity. In the 1890s Yap Ah Loy, who held the title of Kapitan China of Kuala
Lumpur, was the richest man in Malaya, owning a chain of mines, plantations and
shops. Malaya’s banking and insurance industries were run by the Chinese from the
start, and Chinese businesses, usually in partnership with London firms, soon had a
stranglehold on the economy. Since the Malay Sultans tended to spend well beyond
their means, they were soon indebted to Chinese bankers, and this gave the Chinese
political as well as economic leverage. At first the Chinese immigrants were mostly
men, and many intended to return home when they had made their fortunes. Many did
go home, but many more stayed. At first they married Malay women, producing a
community of Sino-Malayans or baba people, but soon they began importing Chinese
brides, establishing permanent communities and building schools and temples.
The Indians were initially less successful, since unlike the Chinese they came mainly
as indentured labourers to work in the rubber plantations, and had few of the
economic opportunities that the Chinese had. They were also a less united
community, since they were divided between Hindus and Muslims and along lines of
language and caste. An Indian commercial and professional class emerged during the
early 20th century, but the majority of Indians remained poor and uneducated in rural
ghettos in the rubber-growing areas.
Traditional Malay society had great difficulty coping with both the loss of political
sovereignty to the British and of economic power to the Chinese. By the early 20th
century it seemed possible that the Malays would become a minority in their own
country. The Sultans, who were seen as collaborators with both the British and the
Chinese, lost some of their traditional prestige, particularly among the increasing
number of Malays with a western education, but the mass of rural Malays continued
to revere the Sultans and their prestige was thus an important prop for colonial rule. A
small class of Malay nationalist intellectuals began to emerge during the early 20th
century, and there was also a revival of Islam in response to the perceived threat of
other imported religions, particularly Christianity. In fact few Malays converted to
Christianity, although many Chinese did. The northern regions, which were less
influenced by western ideas, became strongholds of Islamic conservatism, as they
have remained.
The one consolation to Malay pride was that the British allowed them a virtual
monopoly of positions in the police and local military units, as well as a majority of
those administrative positions open to non-Europeans. While the Chinese mostly built
and paid for their own schools and colleges, importing teachers from China, the
colonial government fostered education for Malays, opening Malay College in 1905
and creating the Malay Administrative Service in 1910. (The college was dubbed
“Bab ud-Darajat” – the Gateway to High Rank.) A Malay Teachers College followed
in 1922, and a Malay Women’s Training College in 1935. All this reflected the
official British policy that Malaya belonged to the Malays, and that the other races
were but temporary residents. This view was increasingly out of line with reality, and
contained the seeds of much future trouble.
In the years before World War II, the British neglected constitutional development in
Malaya. Following their usual policy of indirect rule, they were concerned to prop up
the authority of the Sultans and to discourage any talk of Malaya as a united or selfgoverning country. There were no moves to give Malaya a unitary government, and in
fact in 1935 the position of Resident-General of the Federated States was abolished,
and its powers decentralised to the individual states. With their usual tendency to
racial stereotyping, the British regarded the Malays as amiable but unsophisticated
and rather lazy, incapable of self-government, although making good soldiers under
British officers. They regarded the Chinese as clever but dangerous – and indeed
during the 1920s and ‘30s, reflecting events in China, the Chinese Nationalist Party
(the Kuomintang) and the Communist Party of China built rival clandestine
organisations in Malaya, leading to regular disturbances in the Chinese towns. The
British saw no way that Malaya’s disparate collection of states and races could
become a nation, let alone an independent one.
War and Emergency
The outbreak of war in the Pacific in December 1941 found the British in Malaya
completely unprepared. During the 1930s, anticipating the rising threat of Japanese
naval power, they had built a great naval base at Singapore, but never anticipated an
invasion of Malaya from the north. Because of the demands of the war in Europe,
there was virtually no British air capacity in the Far East. The Japanese were thus able
to attack from their bases in French Indo-China with impunity, and despite stubborn
resistance from British, Australian and Indian forces, they overran Malaya in two
months. Singapore, with no landward defences, no air cover and no water supply, was
forced to surrender in February 1942, doing irreparable damage to British prestige.
British North Borneo and Brunei were also occupied.
Japanese troops moving through Kuala Lumpur during their advance through Malaya
The Japanese had a racial policy just as the British did. They regarded the Malays as a
colonial people liberated from British imperialist rule, and fostered a limited form of
Malay nationalism, which gained them some degree of collaboration from the Malay
civil service and intellectuals. (Most of the Sultans also collaborated with the
Japanese, although they maintained later that they had done so unwillingly.) The
occupiers regarded the Chinese, however, as enemy aliens, and treated them with
great harshness: during the so-called sook ching (purification through suffering), up to
80,000 Chinese in Malaya and Singapore were killed. Chinese businesses were
expropriated and Chinese schools either closed or burned down. Not surprisingly the
Chinese, led by the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), became the backbone of the
Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA), which with British assistance
became the most effective resistance force in the occupied Asian countries. But the
Japanese also offended Malay nationalism by allowing their ally Thailand to re-annex
the four northern states, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu that had been
surrendered to British in 1909. The loss of Malaya’s export markets soon produced
mass unemployment which affected all races and made the Japanese increasingly
The Malayans were thus on the whole glad to see the British back in 1945, but things
could not remain as they were before the war. Britain was bankrupt and the new
Labour government was keen to withdraw its forces from the East as soon as possible.
Colonial self-rule and eventual independence were now British policy. The tide of
colonial nationalism sweeping through Asia soon reached Malaya. But most Malays
were more concerned with defending themselves against the Malayan Communist
Party (MCP) which was mostly made up of Chinese, than with demanding
independence from the British – indeed their immediate concern was that the British
not leave and abandon the Malays to the armed Communists of the MPAJA, which
was the largest armed force in the country. During the last year of the war there had
been armed clashes between Chinese and Malays and many Malays were killed by the
armed Chinese communists members of the MPAJA and the returning British found a
country on the brink of civil war.
In 1946 the British announced plans for a Malayan Union, which would turn the
Federated and Unfederated Malay States, plus Penang and Malacca (but not
Singapore), into a unitary state, with a view to independence within a few years.
There would be a common Malayan citizenship regardless of race. The Malays were
horrified at this recognition that the Chinese and Indians were now to be a permanent
and equal part of Malaya’s future, and vowed their opposition to the plan. The
Sultans, who had initially supported it, backed down and placed themselves at the
head of the resistance. In 1946 the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)
was founded by Malay nationalists led by Dato Onn bin Jaafar, the Chief Minister of
Johore. UMNO favoured independence for Malaya, but only if the new state was run
exclusively by the Malays. Faced with implacable Malay opposition, the British
dropped the plan.
Meanwhile the Communists were moving towards open insurrection. The MPAJA
had been disbanded in December 1945, and the MCP organised as a legal political
party, but the MPAJA’s arms were carefully stored for future use. The MCP policy
was for immediate independence with full equality for all races. This meant it
recruited very few Malays. The Party’s strength was in the Chinese-dominated trade
unions, particularly in Singapore, and in the Chinese schools, where the teachers,
mostly born in China, saw the Communist Party of China as the leader of China’s
national revival. In March 1947, reflecting the international Communist movement’s
“turn to left” as the Cold War set in, the MCP leader Lai Tek was purged and replaced
by the veteran MPAJA guerrilla leader Chin Peng, who turned the party increasingly
to direct action. In July, following a string of assassinations of plantation managers,
the colonial government struck back, declaring a State of Emergency, banning the
MCP and arresting hundreds of its militants. The Party retreated to the jungle and
formed the Malayan Peoples’ Liberation Army, with about 13,000 men under arms,
all Chinese.
The Malayan Emergency involved six years of bitter fighting across the Malayan
Peninsula. The British strategy, which proved ultimately successful, was to isolate the
MCP from its support base by a combination of economic and political concessions to
the Chinese and the resettlement of Chinese squatters into “New Villages” in “white
areas” free of MCP influence. The effective mobilisation of the Malays against the
MCP was also an important part the British strategy. From 1949 the MCP campaign
lost momentum and the number of recruits fell sharply. Although the MCP succeeded
in assassinating the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney, in October 1951,
this turn to “terrorist” tactics alienated many moderate Chinese from the Party. The
arrival of Lt-Gen Sir Gerald Templer as British commander in 1952 was the
beginning of the end of the Emergency. Templer invented the techniques of counterinsurgency warfare in Malaya and applied them ruthlessly.
Towards Malaysia
Chinese reaction against the MCP was shown by the formation of the Malayan
Chinese Association (MCA) in 1949 as a vehicle for moderate Chinese political
opinion. Its leader, Tan Cheng Lock, favoured a policy of collaboration with UMNO
to win Malayan independence on a policy of equal citizenship, but with sufficient
concessions to Malay sensitivities to ease nationalist fears. Tan formed a close
collaboration with Tunku (Prince) Abdul Rahman, the Chief Minister of Kedah and
from 1951 successor to Datuk Onn as leader of UMNO. Since the British had
announced in 1949 that Malaya would soon become independent whether the
Malayans liked it or not, both leaders were determined to forge an agreement their
communities could live with as a basis for a stable independent state. The UMNOMCA Alliance (which was later joined by the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC)), won
convincing victories in local and state elections in both Malay and Chinese areas
between 1952 and 1955.
The introduction of elected local government was another important step in defeating
the Communists. After Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953, there was a split in the MCP
leadership over the wisdom of continuing the armed struggle. Many MCP militants
lost heart and went home, and by the time Templer left Malaya in 1954 the
Emergency was over, although Chin Peng led a diehard group that lurked in the
inaccessible country along the Thai border for many years. The Emergency left a
lasting legacy of bitterness between Malays and Chinese.
During 1955 and 1956 UMNO, the MCA and the British hammered out a
constitutional settlement for anciple of equal citizenship for all races. In exchange, the
MCA agreed that Malaya’s head of state would be drawn from the ranks of the Malay
Sultans, that Malay would be the official language, and that Malay education and
economic development would be promoted and subsidised. In effect this meant that
Malaya would be run by the Malays, particularly since they continued to dominate the
civil service, the army and the police, but that the Chinese and Indians would have
proportionate representation in the Cabinet and the parliament, would run those states
where they were the majority, and would have their economic position protected. The
difficult issue of who would control the education system was deferred until after
independence. This came on August 31, 1957, when Tunku Abdul Rahman became
the first Prime Minister of independent Malaya.
This left the unfinished business of the other British-ruled territories in the region.
After the Japanese surrender the Brooke family and the British North Borneo
Company gave up their control of Sarawak and Sabah respectively, and these became
British Crown Colonies. They were much less economically developed than Malaya,
and their local political leaderships were too weak to demand independence.
Singapore, with its large Chinese majority, achieved autonomy in 1955, and in 1959
the young socialist leader Lee Kuan Yew became Prime Minister. The Sultan of
Brunei remained as a British client in his oil-rich enclave. Between 1959 and 1962 the
British government orchestrated complex negotiations between these local leaders and
the Malayan government.
In 1961, Abdul Rahman mooted the idea of forming "Malaysia", which would consist
of Brunei, Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore, all of which had been British
colonies. The reasoning behind this was that this would allow the central government
to control and combat communist activities, especially in Singapore. It was also
feared that if Singapore achieved independence, it would become a base for Chinese
chauvinists to threaten Malayan sovereignty. To balance out the ethnic composition of
the new nation, the other states, whose Malay and indigenous populations would
cancel out the Singaporean Chinese majority, were also included.
Although Lee Kuan Yew supported the proposal, his opponents from the Singaporean
Socialist Front resisted, arguing that this was a ploy for the British to continue
controlling the region. Most political parties in Sarawak were also against the merger,
and in Sabah, where there were no political parties, community representatives also
stated their opposition. Although the Sultan of Brunei supported the merger, the Parti
Rakyat Brunei opposed it as well. At the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference
in 1961, Abdul Rahman explained his proposal further to its opponents. In October,
he obtained agreement from the British government to the plan, provided that
feedback be obtained from the communities involved in the merger. The Cobbold
Commission, named after its head, Lord Cobbold, conducted a study in the Borneo
territories and approved a merger with Sabah and Sarawak; however, it was found that
a substantial number of Bruneians opposed merger. A referendum was conducted in
Singapore to gauge opinion, and 70% supported merger with substantial autonomy
given to the state government.
After reviewing the Cobbold Commission's findings, the British government
appointed the Landsdowne Commission to draft a constitution for Malaysia. The
eventual constitution was essentially the same as the 1957 constitution, albeit with
some rewording. For instance, giving recognition to the special position of the natives
of the Borneo States. Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore were also granted some
autonomy unavailable to the states of Malaya. After negotiations in July 1963, it was
agreed that Malaysia would come into being on 31 August 1963, consisting of
Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. Brunei pulled out after Parti Rakyat Brunei
staged an armed revolt, which, though it was put down, was viewed as potentially
destabilising to the new nation.
The Philippines and Indonesia strenuously objected to this development, with
Indonesia claiming Malaysia represented a form of "neocolonialism" and the
Philippines claiming Sabah as its territory. Indonesian President Sukarno, backed by
the powerful Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), chose to regard Malaysia as a
"neocolonialist" plot against his country, and backed a Communist insurgency in
Sarawak, mainly involving elements of the local Chinese community. Indonesian
irregular forces were infiltrated into Sarawak, where they were contained by
Malaysian and Commonwealth of Nations forces. This period of Konfrontasi lasted
until the downfall of Sukarno in 1965/66. Under Sukarno’s successor, Suharto,
Indonesian-Malaysian relations improved. At the same time Filipino President
Diosdado Macapagal revived the long-dormant Filipino claim to Sabah, once part of
the Sultanate of Sulu. In 1966 the new president, Ferdinand Marcos, dropped the
claim, although it is still a point of contention marring Philippine-Malaysian relations.
Malaysia formally came into being on 16 September 1963, consisting of Malaya,
Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. In 1963 the total population of Malaysia was about 10
The crisis of 1969
The collaboration of the MCA and the MIC in these policies weakened their hold on
the Chinese and Indian electorates. At the same time, the effects of the government’s
affirmative action policies of the 1950s and ‘60s had been to create a discontented
class of educated but underemployed Malays. This was a dangerous combination, and
led to the formation of a new party, the Malaysian People’s Movement (Gerakan
Rakyat Malaysia) in 1968. Gerakan was a deliberately non-communal party, bringing
in Malay trade unionists and intellectuals as well as Chinese and Indian leaders. At
the same time, an Islamist party, the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) and a Chinese
socialist party, the Democratic Action Party (DAP), gained increasing support, at the
expense of UMNO and the MCA respectively.
At the May 1969 federal elections, the UMNO-MCA-MIC Alliance polled only 48
percent of the vote, although it retained a majority in the legislature. The MCA lost
most of the Chinese-majority seats to Gerakan or DAP candidates. The victorious
opposition celebrated by holding a motorcade on the main streets of Kuala Lumpur
with supporters holding up brooms as a signal of its intention to make sweeping
changes. Fear of what the changes might mean for them (as much of the country's
businesses were Chinese owned), a Malay backlash resulted, leading rapidly to riots
and inter-communal violence in which about 6,000 Chinese homes and businesses
were burned and at least 184 people were killed. The government declared a state of
emergency, and a National Operations Council, headed by the Deputy Prime Minister,
Tun Abdul Razak, took power from the government of Tunku Abdul Rahman, who in
September 1970 was forced to retire in favour of Abdul Razak.
Using the Emergency-era Internal Security Act (ISA), the new government suspended
Parliament and political parties, imposed press censorship and placed severe
restrictions on political activity. The ISA gave the government power to intern any
person indefinitely without trial. These powers were widely used to silence the
government’s critics, and have never been repealed. The Constitution was changed to
make illegal any criticism, even in Parliament, of the Malaysian monarchy, the special
position of Malays in the country, or the status of Malay as the national language.
In 1971 Parliament reconvened, and a new government coalition, the National Front
(Barisan Nasional), took office. This included UMNO, the MCA, the MIC, the much
weakened Gerakan, and regional parties in Sabah and Sarawak. The DAP was left
outside as the only significant opposition party. The PAS also joined the Front but
was expelled in 1977. Abdul Razak held office until his death in 1976. He was
succeeded by Datuk Hussein Onn, the son of UMNO’s founder Onn Jaafar, and then
by Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, who had been Education Minister since 1981, and
who held power for 22 years. During these years policies were put in place which led
to the rapid transformation of Malaysia’s economy and society.
Modern Malaysia
In 1970 75 percent of Malaysians living below the poverty line were Malays, the
majority of Malays were still rural workers, and Malays were still largely excluded
from the modern economy. The government’s response was the New Economic
Policy of 1971, which was to be implemented through a series of four five-year plans
from 1971 to 1990. The plan had two objectives: the elimination of poverty,
particularly rural poverty, and the elimination of the identification between race and
economic function. This latter policy was understood to mean a decisive shift in
economic power from the Chinese to the Malays.
Poverty was tackled through an agricultural policy which resettled 250,000 Malays on
newly cleared farmland, more investment in rural infrastructure, and the creation of
free trade zones in rural areas to create new manufacturing jobs. During the 1970s and
‘80s rural poverty did decline, particularly in the Malayan Peninsula, but critics of the
government’s policy contend that this was mainly due to the growth of overall
national prosperity (due in large part to the discovery of important oil and gas
reserves) and migration of rural people to the cities rather than to state intervention.
Little was done to improve the living standards of the low-paid workers in plantation
agriculture, although this group steadily declined as a proportion of the workforce. By
1990 the poorest parts of Malaysia were rural Sabah and Sarawak, which lagged
significantly behind the rest of the country. These years saw rapid growth in
Malaysian cities, particularly Kuala Lumpur, which became a magnet for immigration
both from rural Malaya and from poorer neighbours such as Indonesia, Bangladesh,
Thailand and the Philippines. Urban poverty became a problem for the first time, with
shanty towns growing up around the cities.
The second arm of government policy, driven mainly by Mahathir first as Education
Minister and then as Prime Minister, was the transfer of economic power to the
Malays. Mahathir greatly expanded the number of secondary schools and universities
throughout the country, and enforced the policy of teaching in Malay rather than
English. This had the effect of creating a large new Malay professional class. It also
created an unofficial barrier against Chinese access to higher education, since few
Chinese are sufficiently fluent in Malay to study at Malay-language universities.
Chinese families therefore sent their children to universities in Singapore, Australia,
Britain or the United States – by 2000, for example, 60,000 Malaysians held degrees
from Australian universities. This had the unintended consequence of exposing large
numbers of Malaysians to life in Western countries, creating a new source of
discontent. Mahathir also greatly expanded educational opportunities for Malay
women – by 2000 half of all university students were women.
Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur the tallest building in South-East Asia.
To find jobs for all these new Malay graduates, the government created several
agencies for intervention in the economy. The most important of these were PERNAS
(National Corporation Ltd.), PETRONAS (National Petroleum Ltd.), and HICOM
(Heavy Industry Corporation of Malaysia), which not only directly employed many
Malays but also invested in growing areas of the economy to create new technical and
administrative jobs which were preferentially allocated to Malays. As a result, the
share of Malay equity in the economy rose from 1.5 percent in 1969 to 20.3 percent in
1990, and the percentage of businesses of all kinds owned by Malays rose from 39
percent to 68 percent. This latter figure was deceptive because many businesses that
appeared to be Malay-owned were still indirectly controlled by Chinese, but there is
no doubt that the Malay share of the economy considerably increased. The Chinese
remained disproportionately powerful in Malaysian economic life, but by 2000 the
distinction between Chinese and Malay business was fading as many new
corporations, particularly in growth sectors such as information technology, were
owned and managed by people from both ethnic groups.
Malaysia’s rapid economic progress since 1970, which was only temporarily
disrupted by the Asian financial crisis of 1997, has not been matched by change in
Malaysian politics. The repressive measures passed in 1970 remain in place. Malaysia
has had regular elections since 1974, and although campaigning is reasonably free at
election time, it is in effect a one-party state, with the UMNO-controlled National
Front usually winning nearly all the seats, while the DAP wins some Chinese urban
seats and the PAS some rural Malay ones. Since the DAP and the PAS have
diametrically opposed policies, they have been unable to form an effective opposition
coalition. There is almost no criticism of the government in the media and public
protest remains severely restricted. The ISA continues to be used to silence dissidents,
and the members of the UMNO youth movement are deployed to physically
intimidate opponents.
Mahathir administration
Under Mahathir’s long Prime Ministership (1981-2003), Malaysia’s political culture
became increasingly authoritarian, culminating in the dismissal and imprisonment on
unsubstantiated charges of the Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, in 1997 after
an internal dispute within the government. The complicity of the judiciary in this
piece of persecution was seen as a particularly clear sign of the decline of Malaysian
democracy. The Anwar affair led to the formation of a new party, the People's Justice
Party, or Keadilan, led by Anwar’s wife, Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. At the 1999
elections Keadilan formed a coalition with the DAP and the PAS known as the
Alternative Front (Barisan Alternatif). The result of this was that the PAS won a
number of Malay seats from UMNO, but many Chinese voters disapproved of this
unnatural alliance with the Islamist PAS, causing the DAP to lose many of its seats to
the MCA, including that of its veteran leader, Lim Kit Siang. Wan Azizah won her
husband’s former constituency in Penang but otherwise Keadilan made little impact.
Badawi administration
Mahathir retired in 2003, and his successor, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, freed
Anwar and allowed him to go abroad, which was seen as a portent of a mild
liberalisation. At the 2004 election, the National Front led by Abdullah had a massive
victory, virtually wiping out the PAS and Keadilan, although the DAP recovered the
seats it had lost in 1999. This victory was seen as the result mainly of Abdullah's
personal popularity and the strong recovery of Malaysia’s economy, which has lifted
the living standards of most Malaysians to almost first world standards, coupled with
an ineffective opposition. The government's objective is for Malaysia to become a
fully developed country by 2020 as expressed in Wawasan 2020. It leaves
unanswered, however, the question of when and how Malaysia will acquire a first
world political system (a multi-party democracy, a free press, an independent
judiciary and the restoration of civil and political liberties) to go with its new
economic maturity.
In November 2007, Malaysia was rocked by two anti-government rallies. The 2007
Bersih Rally which was attended by 40,000 people was held in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia, on November 10 to campaign for electoral reform. It was precipitated by
allegations of corruption and discrepancies in the Malaysian election system that
heavily favor the ruling political party, Barisan Nasional, which has been in power
since Malaysia achieved its independence in 1957. The 2007 HINDRAF rally was a
rally held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 25. The rally organizer, the
Hindu Rights Action Force, had called the protest over alleged discriminatory policies
which favour ethnic Malays. The crowd was estimated to be between 5,000 to 30,000.
In both cases the government and police were heavy handed and tried to prevent the
gatherings from taking place.
Taiwan, also known as Formosa, is the largest island in the Republic of China (ROC).
Taiwan is located east of the Taiwan Strait, off the southeastern coast of mainland
China. Since the end of World War II in 1945, the island group has been under the
government of the Republic of China.
Separated from the Asian continent by the 180-kilometer-wide Taiwan Strait, the
main island of the group is 394 kilometres (245 mi) long and 144 kilometres (89 mi)
wide. To the northeast are the main islands of Japan, and the southern end of the
Ryukyu Islands of Japan is directly to the east; the Philippines lie to its south. The
mountainous island spans the Tropic of Cancer and is covered by tropical and
subtropical vegetation. Other minor islands and islets of the group include the
Pescadores, Green Island, and Orchid Island as well as the Diaoyutai Islands which
have been controlled by Japan since the 1970s and are known as the Senkaku-shotō.
The island group has been governed by the Republic of China since 1945 when the
ROC acquired Taiwan from Japan as a result of World War II. Four years later the
ROC lost the Chinese Civil War to the Communist Party of China and retreated to
Taiwan. Taiwan now composes most of ROC's territory and the ROC itself is
commonly known as "Taiwan". The political status of Taiwan is disputed because it
is claimed by the People's Republic of China (PRC) which was established in 1949 on
mainland China and considers itself the successor state to the ROC. Japan had
originally acquired Taiwan from the Qing Empire in 1895 per Article 2 of Treaty of
Shimonoseki. At the end of World War II, Japan renounced all claims to sovereignty
over its former colonial possessions after World War II including Taiwan and Penghu
Taiwan's rapid economic growth in the decades after World War II has transformed it
into an advanced economy as one of the Four Asian Tigers. This economic rise is
known as the Taiwan Miracle. It is categorized as an advanced economy by the IMF
and high-income economy by the World Bank. Its technology industry plays a key
role in the global economy. Taiwanese companies manufacture a large portion of the
world's consumer electronics, although most of them are made in their factories in
mainland China.
Evidence of human settlement in Taiwan dates back 30,000 years, although the first
inhabitants of Taiwan may have been genetically distinct from any groups currently
on the island. About 4,000 years ago, ancestors of current Taiwanese aborigines
settled in Taiwan. These aborigines are genetically related to Malay and maternally to
Polynesians, and linguists classify their languages as Austronesian. It is thought
likely that Polynesian ancestry may be traceable throughout Taiwan.
Records from ancient China indicate that the Han Chinese might have known of the
existence of the main island of Taiwan since the Three Kingdoms period (third
century, 230 A.D.), having assigned offshore islands in the vicinity names like
Greater Liuqiu and Lesser Liuqiu (etymologically, but perhaps not semantically,
identical to Ryūkyū in Japanese), though none of these names has been definitively
matched to the main island of Taiwan. The Ming Dynasty admiral Cheng Ho (Zheng
He) visited Taiwan in 1430.
Han Chinese began settling in the Penghu islands in the 1200s, but Taiwan's hostile
tribes and its lack of the trade resources valued in that era rendered it unattractive to
all but "occasional adventurers or fishermen engaging in barter" until the 16th
Chiang Kai-shek's eventual successor, his son Chiang Ching-kuo, began to liberalize
the ROC's political system. In 1984, the younger Chiang selected Lee Teng-hui, an
ethnically Taiwanese technocrat, to be his vice president. In 1986, the Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) was formed and inaugurated as the first opposition party in
Taiwan to counter the KMT. A year later Chiang Ching-kuo lifted martial law.
After the 1988 death of Chiang Ching-Kuo, President Lee Teng-hui became the first
ethnically Taiwanese president of the ROC. Lee continued to democratize the
government and decrease the concentration of government authority in the hands of
mainland Chinese. Under Lee, Taiwan underwent a process of localization in which
Taiwanese culture and history were promoted over a pan-China viewpoint in contrast
to earlier KMT policies which had promoted a Chinese identity. Lee's reforms
included printing banknotes from the Central Bank rather than the Provincial Bank of
Taiwan, and streamlining the Taiwan Provincial Government with most of its
functions transferred to the Executive Yuan. Under Lee, the original members of the
Legislative Yuan and National Assembly, elected in 1947 to represent mainland
Chinese constituencies and having taken the seats without re-election for more than
four decades, were forced to resign in 1991. The previously nominal representation in
the Legislative Yuan was brought to an end, to reflect the reality that the ROC
government had no jurisdiction over mainland China. Restrictions on the use of
Taiwanese Hokkien in the broadcast media and in schools were lifted as well. During
later years of Lee's administration, he was involved in corruption controversies
relating to government release of land and weapons purchase, although no legal
proceedings commenced.
In the 1990s, the ROC continued its democratic reforms, as President Lee Teng-hui
was elected by the first popular vote held in the ROC during the 1996 Presidential
election. In 2000, Chen Shui-bian of the DPP, was elected as the first non-KMT
President and was re-elected to serve his second and last term since 2004. Polarized
politics has emerged in Taiwan with the formation of the Pan-Blue Coalition of
parties led by the KMT, favoring eventual Chinese reunification, and the Pan-Green
Coalition of parties led by the DPP, favoring an eventual and official declaration of
Taiwan independence.
On September 30, 2007, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party approved a
resolution asserting separate identity from China and called for the enactment of a
new constitution for a "normal country". It also called for general use of "Taiwan" as
the island's name, without abolishing its formal name, the Republic of China. The
Chen administration also pushed for referendums on national defense and UN entry in
the 2004 and 2008 elections, which failed due to voter turnout below the required
legal threshold of 50% of all registered voters. The Chen administration was dogged
by public concerns over reduced economic growth, legislative gridlock due to a panblue, opposition controlled Legislative Yuan, and corruption involving the First
Family as well as government officials.
The KMT increased its majority in the Legislative Yuan in the January 2008
legislative elections, while its nominee Ma Ying-jeou went on to win the presidency
in March of the same year, campaigning on a platform of increased economic growth,
and better ties with the PRC under a policy of "mutual nondenial". Ma took office on
May 20, 2008. Part of the rationale for campaigning for closer economic ties with the
PRC stem from the strong economic growth China attained since joining the World
Trade Organization. However, some analysts say that despite the election of Ma Yingjeou, military tensions with the PRC have not been reduced.
The island of Taiwan lies some 180 kilometers off the southeastern coast of China,
across the Taiwan Strait, and has an area of 35,801 km2 (13,822.8 sq mi). The East
China Sea lies to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Luzon Strait directly to
the south and the South China Sea to the southwest. The island is characterized by the
contrast between the eastern two-thirds, consisting mostly of rugged mountains
running in five ranges from the northern to the southern tip of the island, and the flat
to gently rolling plains in the west that are also home to most of Taiwan's population.
Taiwan's highest point is Yu Shan at 3,952 meters, and there are five other peaks over
3,500 meters. This makes it the world's fourth-highest island. Taroko National Park,
located on the mountainous eastern side of the island, has good examples of
mountainous terrain, gorges and erosion caused by a swiftly flowing river.
The shape of the main island of Taiwan is similar to a sweet potato seen in a south-tonorth direction, and therefore, Taiwanese, especially the Min-nan division, often call
themselves "children of the Sweet Potato." There are also other interpretations of the
island shape, one of which is a whale in the ocean (the Pacific Ocean) if viewed in a
west-to-east direction, which is a common orientation in ancient maps, plotted either
by Western explorers or the Great Qing.
The island of Taiwan lies in a complex tectonic area between the Yangtze Plate to the
west and north, the Okinawa Plate on the north-east, and the Philippine Mobile Belt
on the east and south. The upper part of the crust on the island is primarily made up of
a series of terranes, mostly old island arcs which have been forced together by the
collision of the forerunners of the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate. These
have been further uplifted as a result of the detachment of a portion of the Eurasian
Plate as it was subducted beneath remnants of the Philippine Sea Plate, a process
which left the crust under Taiwan more buoyant.
The east and south of Taiwan are a complex system of belts formed by, and part of the
zone of, active collision between the North Luzon Trough portion of the Luzon
Volcanic Arc and South China, where accreted portions of the Luzon Arc and Luzon
forearc form the eastern Coastal Range and parallel inland Longitudinal Valley of
Taiwan respectively.
The major seismic faults in Taiwan correspond to the various suture zones between
the various terranes. These have produced major quakes throughout the history of the
island. On September 21, 1999, a 7.3 quake known as the "921 earthquake" occurred.
The seismic hazard map for Taiwan by the USGS shows 9/10 of the island as the
highest rating (most hazardous).
On 4 March 2010 at about 01:20 UTC, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit southern
Ethnic groups
Taiwan's population was estimated in 2010 at 23 million, most of whom are on the
island of Taiwan. About 98% of the population is of Han Chinese ethnicity. Of these,
86% are descendants of early Han Chinese immigrants known as the "benshengren"
pinyin: Běnshěng rén; literally "home-province person") in Chinese. This group is
often referred to "native Taiwanese" in English while the Taiwanese aborigines are
also considered as "native Taiwanese" frequently. The benshengren group contains
two subgroups: the Hoklo people(70% of the total population), whose ancestors
migrated from the coastal Southern Fujian (Min-nan) region in the southeast of
mainland China starting in the 17th century; and the Hakka (15% of the total
population), whose ancestors originally migrated south to Guangdong, its surrounding
areas and Taiwan.
12% of population are known as waishengren pinyin: Wàishěng rén; literally "out-ofprovince person") who is composed of people whose ancestores or themselves
immigrated from mainland China after the Second World War with the KMT
The other 2% of Taiwan's population, numbering about 458,000, are listed as the
Taiwanese aborigines, divided into 13 major groups: Ami, Atayal, Paiwan, Bunun,
Rukai, Puyuma, Tsou, Saisiyat, Tao (Yami), Thao, Kavalan, Truku and Sakizaya.
For sociologists, these ethnic classifications are a social construct, the contestation
and compromise between political forces. Sociology scholar Wang Fu-chang writes in
his book that Minnanren, Hakka, Waishengren and indigenous peoples are social
categories that have developed over the last fifty years.
Standard Mandarin is officially recognized by the ROC as the national language and
is spoken by the vast majority of residents. About 70% of the people in Taiwan
belong to the Hoklo ethnic group and speak both Taiwanese (a variant of Min Nan),
as their mother tongue, and Standard Mandarin. Standard Mandarin has been the
primary language of instruction in schools since the Japanese were forced out in the
1940s. The Hakka ethnic group, comprising around 15% of the population, use the
Hakka language. Taiwan's aboriginal minority groups mostly speak their own native
languages, although most also speak Mandarin. The aboriginal languages do not
belong to the Chinese or Sino-Tibetan language family, but rather to the Austronesian
language family.
Although Mandarin is the language of instruction in schools and dominates television
and radio, non-Mandarin languages or dialects have undergone a revival in public life
in Taiwan, particularly since the 1990s after restrictions on their use were lifted. A
large proportion of the population can speak Taiwanese, and many others have some
degree of understanding. People educated during the period of Japanese rule (1895–
1945) were taught using Japanese as the medium of instruction. A declining number
of persons in the older generations only speak the Japanese they learned in school and
the Taiwanese they spoke at home and understand little or no Mandarin.
English is a common second language, with some large private schools providing
English instruction. English is compulsory in students' curriculum once they enter
elementary school. English as a school subject is also featured on Taiwan's education
The cultures of Taiwan are a hybrid blend of various sources, incorporating elements
of traditional Chinese culture, attributable to the historical and ancestry origin of the
majority of its current residents, Japanese culture, traditional Confucianist beliefs, and
increasingly Western values.
After their move to Taiwan, the Kuomintang imposed an official interpretation of
traditional Chinese culture over Taiwanese cultures. The government launched a
program promoting Chinese calligraphy, traditional Chinese painting, folk art, and
Chinese opera.
Since the Taiwan localization movement of the 1990s, Taiwan's cultural identity has
enjoyed greater expression. Identity politics, along with the over one hundred years of
political separation from mainland China has led to distinct traditions in many areas,
including cuisine and music.
The status of Taiwanese culture is debated. It is disputed whether Taiwanese culture is
a regional form of Chinese culture or a distinct culture. Speaking Taiwanese as a
symbol of the localization movement has become an emblem of Taiwanese identity.
One of Taiwan's greatest attractions is the National Palace Museum, which houses
more than 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting and
porcelain, and is considered one of the greatest collection of Chinese art and objects
in the world. The KMT moved this collection from the Forbidden City in Beijing in
1949 when it fled to Taiwan. The collection, estimated to be one-tenth of China's
cultural treasures, is so extensive that only 1% is on display at any time. The PRC had
said that the collection was stolen and that it legitimately belongs in China, but
Taiwan has long defended its collection as a necessary act to protect the pieces from
destruction especially during the Cultural Revolution. Relations regarding this
treasure have warmed recently as the PRC has agreed to lending relics and that that
Beijing Palace Museum Curator Zheng Xinmiao said that artifacts in both Chinese
and Taiwanese museums are "China's cultural heritage jointly owned by people across
the Taiwan Strait." Popular sports in Taiwan include basketball and baseball. Taiwan
is also the major Asian country for Korfball, where it enjoys mild popularity.
International Community Radio Taipei is the most listened to International Radio
Media in Taiwan.
Karaoke, drawn from contemporary Japanese culture, is extremely popular in Taiwan,
where it is known as KTV. KTV businesses operate in a hotel like style, renting out
small rooms and ballrooms varying on the number of guests in a group. Many KTV
establishments partner with restaurants and buffets to form all-encompassing
elaborate evening affairs for families, friends, or businessmen. Tour buses that travel
around Taiwan have several TV's, equipped not for watching movies, but primarily
for signing Karaoke. The entertainment counterpart of a KTV is an MTV, being found
much less frequently out of the city. There, movies out on DVD can be selected and
played in a private theater room. However MTV, more so than KTV, has a growing
reputation for being a place that young couples will go to be alone and intimate.
Taiwan has a high density of 24-hour convenience stores, which in addition to the
usual services, provide services on behalf of financial institutions or government
agencies such as collection of parking fees, utility bills, traffic violation fines, and
credit card payments. They even provide the service of mailing packages.
Taiwanese culture has also influenced other cultures. Bubble tea and milk tea are
available in Australia, Europe and North America. Taiwan television variety shows
are very popular in Singapore, Malaysia and other Asian countries. Taiwanese films
have won various international awards at film festivals around the world. Ang Lee, a
Taiwanese director, has directed critically acclaimed films such as: Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon; Eat Drink Man Woman; Sense and Sensibility; Brokeback Mountain;
and Lust, Caution. Other famous Taiwanese directors include Tsai Ming-Liang,
Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-hsien.
Over 93% of Taiwanese are adherents of a combination of Buddhism, Confucianism,
and Taoism; 4.5% are adherents of Christianity, which includes Protestants, Catholics,
Latter-day Saints and other, non-denominational, Christian groups; , and 2.5% are
adherents of other religions, such as Islam. Taiwanese aborigines comprise a notable
subgroup among professing Christians: "...over 64 percent identify as Christian...
Church buildings are the most obvious markers of Aboriginal villages, distinguishing
them from Taiwanese or Hakka villages."Confucianism is a philosophy that deals
with secular moral ethics, and serves as the foundation of both Chinese and
Taiwanese culture. The majority of Taiwanese people usually combine the secular
moral teachings of Confucianism with whatever religions they are affiliated with.
One especially important goddess for Taiwanese people is Matsu, who symbolizes the
seafaring spirit of Taiwan's ancestors from Fujian and Guangdong.
As of 2009, there are 14,993 temples in Taiwan, approximately one place of worship
per 1,500 residents. 9,202 of those temples were dedicated to Taoism. In 2008,
Taiwan had 3,262 Churches, an increase of 145.
Taiwan's quick industrialization and rapid growth during the latter half of the
twentieth century, has been called the "Taiwan Miracle" or "Taiwan Economic
Miracle". As it has developed alongside Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong,
Taiwan is one of the industrialized developed countries known as the "Four Asian
Japanese rule prior to and during World War II brought forth changes in the public
and private sectors of the economy, most notably in the area of public works, which
enabled rapid communications and facilitated transport throughout much of the island.
The Japanese also improved public education and made the system compulsory for all
Taiwanese citizens during this time.
When the KMT government fled to Taiwan it brought the entire gold reserve and the
foreign currency reserve of mainland China to the island which stabilized prices and
reduced hyperinflation.[citation needed] More importantly, as part of its retreat to
Taiwan, KMT brought with them the intellectual and business elites from mainland
China. The KMT government instituted many laws and land reforms that it had never
effectively enacted on mainland China. The government also implemented a policy of
import-substitution, attempting to produce imported goods domestically. Much of this
was made possible through US economic aid, subsidizing the higher cost of domestic
In 1962, Taiwan had a per capita gross national product (GNP) of $170, placing the
island's economy squarely between Zaire and Congo. By 2008 Taiwan's per capita
GNP, adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), had soared to $33,000 (2008 est.)
contributing to a Human Development Index equivalent to that of other developed
Today Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist, export-driven economy with gradually
decreasing state involvement in investment and foreign trade. In keeping with this
trend, some large government-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized.
Real growth in GDP has averaged about eight percent during the past three decades.
Exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. The trade surplus is
substantial, and foreign reserves are the world's fifth largest as of 31 December 2007.
Agriculture constitutes only two percent of the GDP, down from 35 percent in 1952.
Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being moved offshore and with
more capital and technology-intensive industries replacing them.[citation needed]
Taiwan has become a major foreign investor in mainland China, Thailand, Indonesia,
the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. It is estimated that some 50,000 Taiwanese
businesses and 1,000,000 businesspeople and their dependents are established in the
Because of its conservative financial approach and its entrepreneurial strengths,
Taiwan suffered little compared with many of its neighbors from the 1997 Asian
Financial Crisis. Unlike its neighbors South Korea and Japan, the Taiwanese economy
is dominated by small and medium sized businesses, rather than the large business
groups. The global economic downturn, however, combined with poor policy
coordination by the new administration and increasing bad debts in the banking
system, pushed Taiwan into recession in 2001, the first whole year of negative growth
since 1947. Due to the relocation of many manufacturing and labor intensive
industries to mainland China, unemployment also reached a level not seen since the
1973 oil crisis. This became a major issue in the 2004 presidential election. Growth
averaged more than 4% in the 2002–2006 period and the unemployment rate fell
below 4%. Since the global financial crisis starting with United States in 2007, the
unemployment rate has risen to over 5.9% and Economic Growth fallen to -2.9%.
Leading technologies of Taiwan include:
* Bicycle manufacturing, ex: Giant Bicycles, Merida
* Biotechnology
* Semiconductor device fabrication
* Laptops, ex: Acer, Asus, BenQ
* Smartphones, ex: HTC
Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state off the southern
tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator, south of the
Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands.
Singapore is a highly cosmopolitan World City, with a key role in international trade
and finance. The country is the world's fourth leading financial centre and the
Singaporean economy is often ranked amongst the world's top ten most open,
competitive and innovative.
Singapore has a diverse populace of 5 million people made up of Chinese, Malays,
Indians, Asians and Caucasians of different ethnic origins. This is in line with the
nation's history as an immigrant nation.
The populace of Singapore has the sixth highest percentage of foreigners in the world.
42% of the population in Singapore are foreigners and foreigners make up 50% of the
service sector. The country is also the second most densely populated in the world
after Monaco. A.T. Kearney names Singapore as the most globalised country in the
world in its Globalization Index.
Even before independence in 1965, Singapore was already one of the richest states in
East Asia due to its strategic location as a port. Singapore's GDP per capita in 1965
was $511, third highest in East Asia after Japan and Hong Kong. After independence,
Foreign direct investment into Singapore and a state-led drive for industrialization
based on plans by Goh Keng Swee and Albert Winsemius created a modern economy
focused on industry, education and urban planning.
Today, the port of Singapore continues to be amongst the top five busiest ports in the
world. The World Bank ranks Singapore as the world's top logistics hub.
Singapore is the fourth wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per
capita and twentieth wealthiest in terms of GDP (nominal) per capita. Despite
Singapore's relatively small physical size, the country has the world's ninth largest
foreign reserves. The Singapore Armed Forces is also the most technologically
advanced and well-equipped in its region.
The English name of Singapore is derived from the Malay name Singapura (Sanskrit
"Lion City"). Today it is sometimes referred to as the Lion City. Studies indicate that
lions probably never lived there; the beast seen by Sang Nila Utama, founder of
Singapore, who gave it the Malay name of Singapura meaning Lion City, was most
likely a tiger.
"Singapore" is the name of both the city and country, which are the same entity. The
entire country constitutes a single municipality.
Following the war, the British government allowed Singapore to hold its first general
election, in 1955, which was won by a pro-independence candidate, David Marshall,
who became Chief Minister.
Demanding complete self-rule, Marshall led a delegation to London, but was refused
by the British. He resigned upon return, and was replaced by Lim Yew Hock, whose
policies then convinced the British. Singapore was granted full internal selfgovernment with its own prime minister and Cabinet overseeing all matters of
government except defence and foreign affairs.
Elections were held on 30 May 1959 with the People's Action Party winning a
landslide victory. Singapore eventually became a self-governing state within the
Commonwealth on 3 June 1959, and Lee Kuan Yew was sworn in as the first prime
minister. Then Governor of Singapore, Sir William Allmond Codrington Goode,
served as the first Yang di-Pertuan Negara until 3 December 1959. He was succeeded
by Yusof bin Ishak, later first President of Singapore.
Singapore declared independence from Britain unilaterally in August 1963, before
joining the Federation of Malaysia in September along with Malaya, Sabah and
Sarawak as the result of the 1962 Merger Referendum of Singapore. Singapore was
expelled from the Federation two years after heated ideological conflict between the
state's PAP government and the federal government in Kuala Lumpur. Singapore
officially gained sovereignty on 9 August 1965. Yusof bin Ishak was sworn in as
President, and Lee Kuan Yew became the first prime minister of the Republic of
In 1990, Goh Chok Tong succeeded Lee as Prime Minister. During his tenure, the
country faced the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the 2003 SARS outbreak, and terrorist
threats posed by Jemaah Islamiyah. In 2004, Lee Hsien Loong, eldest son of Lee
Kuan Yew, became the third prime minister. Amongst his more notable decisions is
the plan to open casinos to attract tourism.
Singapore is a parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral
parliamentary government representing different constituencies. The Constitution of
Singapore establishes representative democracy as the nation's political system. The
People's Action Party (PAP) dominates the political process and has won control of
Parliament in every election since self-government in 1959. Freedom House ranks
Singapore as "partly free" in its "Freedom in the World report" and The Economist
ranks Singapore as a "hybrid regime", the third rank out of four, in its "Democracy
Singapore is often called an illiberal democracy or socialist democracy by
international observers. Some have termed it an "engineered society," on the premise
that its laws tend to value national strength over individual liberty. The bulk of the
executive powers rests with the Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister. The office of
President of Singapore, historically a ceremonial one, was granted some veto powers
in 1991 for a few key decisions such as the use of the national reserves and the
appointment of judiciary positions. Although the position is to be elected by popular
vote, only the 1993 election has been contested to date. The legislative branch of
government is the Parliament.
Parliamentary elections in Singapore are plurality-based for group representation
constituencies since the Parliamentary Elections Act was modified in 1991.
Members of Parliament (MPs) consist of elected, non-constituency and nominated
Members. The majority of MPs are elected to Parliament at a General Election on a
first-past-the-post basis and represent either Single Member or Group Representation
Constituencies (GRCs).
Singapore has consistently been rated as the least corrupt country in Asia and among
the world's ten most free from corruption by Transparency International.
Although Singapore's laws are inherited from English and British Indian laws, and
include many elements of English common law, the government has also chosen not
to follow some elements of liberal democratic values. There are no jury trials and
there are laws restricting freedom of speech, which the government argues may breed
ill will or cause disharmony. Criminal activity is punished with heavy penalties
including heavy fines, corporal punishment (caning) and long prison terms. The
government argues that Singapore has the sovereign right to determine its own
judicial system and impose what it sees as an appropriate punishment, including
capital punishment (hanging) for first-degree murder and drug trafficking.
Singapore consists of 63 islands, including mainland Singapore. There are two manmade connections to Johor, Malaysia: the Johor-Singapore Causeway in the north,
and the Tuas Second Link in the west. Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and
Sentosa are the largest of Singapore's many smaller islands. The highest natural point
is Bukit Timah Hill at 166 m (545 ft).
Singapore has on-going land reclamation projects with earth obtained from its own
hills, the seabed, and neighbouring countries. As a result, Singapore's land area grew
from 581.5 km2 (224.5 sq mi) in the 1960s to 704 km2 (271.8 sq mi) today, and may
grow by another 100 km2 (38.6 sq mi) by 2030. The projects sometimes involve some
of the smaller islands being merged together through land reclamation in order to
form larger, more functional islands, such as in the case of Jurong Island.
Under the Köppen climate classification system, Singapore has a tropical rainforest
climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity,
and abundant rainfall. Temperatures range from 22 to 34 °C (71.6 to 93.2 °F). On
average, the relative humidity is around 90% in the morning and 60% in the
afternoon. During prolonged heavy rain, relative humidity often reaches 100%.[48]
The lowest and highest temperatures recorded in its maritime history are 19.4 °C
(66.9 °F) and 35.8 °C (96.4 °F).
May and June are the hottest months, while November and December make up the
wetter monsoon season. From August to October, there is often haze, sometimes
severe enough to prompt public health warnings, due to bush fires in neighbouring
Indonesia. Singapore does not observe daylight saving time or a summer time zone
change. The length of the day is nearly constant year round due to the country's
position near the equator.
About 23% of Singapore's land area consists of forest and nature reserves.
Urbanisation has eliminated many areas of former primary rainforest, with the only
remaining area of primary rainforest being Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. A variety of
parks are maintained, such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Singapore has a highly developed market-based economy, which has historically
revolved around extended entrepôt trade. Along with Hong Kong, South Korea and
Taiwan, Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The economy depends heavily on
exports and refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing, which constituted
26% of Singapore's GDP in 2005 and includes significant electronics, petroleum
refining, chemicals, mechanical engineering and biomedical sciences sectors. In 2006
Singapore produced about 10% of the world's foundry wafer output. Singapore has
one of the busiest ports in the world and is the world's fourth largest foreign exchange
trading centre after London, New York and Tokyo.
Singapore has been rated the most business-friendly economy in the world, with
hundreds of thousands of foreign expatriates working in multi-national corporations.
In addition, it also employs hundreds of thousands of foreign manual workers.
As a result of a global recession and a slump in the technology sector, the country's
GDP contracted 2.2% in 2001. The Economic Review Committee (ERC) was set up
in December 2001, and recommended several policy changes with a view to
revitalising the economy. Singapore has since recovered from the recession, largely
due to improvements in the world economy; the economy grew by 8.3% in 2004,
6.4% in 2005 and 7.9% in 2006.
Singapore introduced a Goods and Services Tax (GST) with an initial rate of 3% on 1
April 1994 substantially increasing government revenue by S$1.6 billion (US$1b,
€800m) and stabilising government finances. The taxable GST was increased to 4% in
2003, to 5% in 2004, and to 7% on 1 July 2007.
Singapore is a popular travel destination, making tourism one of its largest industries.
About 7.8 million tourists visited in 2006. Total visitor arrivals were 10.2 million in
2007. To attract more tourists, the government decided to legalise gambling and to
allow two casino resorts (euphemistically called Integrated Resorts) to be developed
at Marina South and Sentosa in 2005. To compete with regional rivals like Bangkok,
Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai, the government has announced that the city area
would be transformed into a more exciting place by lighting up the civic and
commercial buildings. Food has also been promoted as an attraction for tourists, with
the Singapore Food Festival held every July to celebrate Singapore's cuisine.
Singapore is also promoting itself as a medical tourism hub: about 200,000 foreigners
seek medical care in the country each year, and Singapore medical services aim to
serve one million foreign patients annually by 2012 and generate USD 3 billion in
revenue. The government states that this could create some 13,000 new jobs within
the health industries.
The currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar, represented by the symbol S$ or
the ISO abbreviation SGD. The central bank is the Monetary Authority of Singapore,
responsible for issuing currency. Singapore established the Board of Commissioners
of Currency in 1967 and issued its first coins and notes. The Singapore dollar was
exchangeable at par with the Malaysian ringgit until 1973. Interchangeability with
the Brunei dollar is still maintained. On 27 June 2007, to commemorate 40 years of
currency agreement with Brunei, a commemorative S$20 note was launched; the back
is identical to the Bruneian $20 note launched concurrently.
Foreign relations
Singapore maintains diplomatic relations with 175 countries, although it does not
maintain a high commission or embassy in many of those countries. It is a member of
the United Nations, the Commonwealth, ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement.
For obvious geographical reasons, relations with Malaysia and Indonesia are most
important but the domestic politics of the three countries often threatens their
relations. On the other hand, Singapore enjoys good relations with many European
nations, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the latter sharing ties
via the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) along with Malaysia, Australia
and New Zealand. Good relations are also maintained with the United States, a
country perceived as a stabilising force in the region to counterbalance the regional
Singapore supports the concept of Southeast Asian regionalism and plays an active
role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which it is a
founding member. It is also a member of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) forum, which has its Secretariat in Singapore. Singapore also has close
relations with fellow ASEAN nation Brunei and maintains Army training facilities
Due to its diverse population and immigrant background, Singaporean culture has
often been described as a mix of cultures - British, Malay, Chinese, Indian and
Peranakan. Foreigners also make up 42% of the population in Singapore and they play
an important role in influencing Singaporean culture.
Eating, along with shopping, is said to be the country’s national pastime. Singaporean
cuisine is an example of the country's diversity and cultural diffusion; with significant
influences from British, Chinese, Indian, Malay and Tamil cuisine. Everyday
Singaporean food includes Hainanese chicken rice, Fish and chips, Chicken fried
steak and Malay satay.
Since the 1990s, the government has been striving to promote Singapore as a centre
for arts and culture, and to transform the country into a cosmopolitan 'gateway
between the East and West'. The highlight of these efforts was the construction of
Esplanade, a centre for performing arts that opened on 12 October 2002.
The Singapore Arts Festival is organised anually by the National Arts Council. The
stand-up comedy scene is also growing, including a weekly open mic.
Singapore hosted the 2009 Genee International Ballet Competition, a prestigious
classical ballet competition promoted by the Royal Academy of Dance, an
international dance examination board based in London, Britain.
State-owned MediaCorp operates all seven free-to-air terrestrial local television
channels licensed to broadcast in Singapore, as well as 14 radio channels. Radio and
television stations are all government-owned entities. The radio stations are mainly
operated by MediaCorp with the exception of four stations, which are operated by
SAFRA Radio and SPH UnionWorks respectively. The Cable and IPTV Pay-TV
Service are owned by Starhub TV and Singtel Mio TV. Private ownership of satellite
dish receivers capable of viewing uncensored televised content from abroad is illegal.
The Singapore government recognises four official languages: English, Malay,
Chinese (Mandarin), and Tamil. English is the first and most dominant language in
Singapore. The forms of English spoken in Singapore ranges from Standard
Singapore English to Singlish.
Amongst the four official languages in Singapore, English has the most number of
speakers. This is followed by Madarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
Singapore is effectively a multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-racial nation. The
population of Singapore has the 6th highest percentage of foreigners globally. 42% of
the population in Singapore are foreigners and foreigners make up 50% of the service
sector. Most foreigners come from China, Malaysia, Philippines, North America,
Middle East, Europe, Australia and India. Many of these foreigners bring with them
their own languages as well.
English is the first language of Singapore and has been heavily promoted as such
since the country's independence. The English used is primarily based on British
English, with some American English influences. The use of English became
widespread in Singapore after it was implemented as a first language medium in the
education system, and English is the most common language in Singaporean
literature. In school, children are required to learn English and one of the three other
official languages.
By law, all signs and official publications are required to be primarily in English,
although they are occasionally translated versions into the other official languages.
Malay is the national language for symbolic and historical reasons. The Malay
language is used in the national anthem "Majulah Singapura" and printing of coins.
However, over 85% of Singaporeans do not speak Malay.
Mandarin (Chinese) is also spoken widely in Singapore. Mandarin's use has spreaded
largely as a result of government-sponsored public campaigns.
Malay is generally spoken by Singapore's Malay community, while Tamil is spoken
by about 60% of Singapore's Indian community or 5% of all Singaporeans. Indian
languages such as Malayalam and Hindi are also spoken by a small group of
Singaporean Indians in Singapore.
The Singapore government recognises four official languages: English, Malay,
Chinese (Mandarin), and Tamil. English is the first and most dominant language in
Singapore. The forms of English spoken in Singapore ranges from Standard
Singapore English to Singlish.
Amongst the four official languages in Singapore, English has the most number of
speakers. This is followed by Madarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
Singapore is effectively a multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-racial nation. The
population of Singapore has the 6th highest percentage of foreigners globally. 42% of
the population in Singapore are foreigners and foreigners make up 50% of the service
sector. Most foreigners come from China, Malaysia, Philippines, North America,
Middle East, Europe, Australia and India. Many of these foreigners bring with them
their own languages as well.
English is the first language of Singapore and has been heavily promoted as such
since the country's independence. The English used is primarily based on British
English, with some American English influences. The use of English became
widespread in Singapore after it was implemented as a first language medium in the
education system, and English is the most common language in Singaporean
literature. In school, children are required to learn English and one of the three other
official languages.
By law, all signs and official publications are required to be primarily in English,
although they are occasionally translated versions into the other official languages.
Malay is the national language for symbolic and historical reasons. The Malay
language is used in the national anthem "Majulah Singapura" and printing of coins.
However, over 85% of Singaporeans do not speak Malay.
Mandarin (Chinese) is also spoken widely in Singapore. Mandarin's use has spreaded
largely as a result of government-sponsored public campaigns.
Malay is generally spoken by Singapore's Malay community, while Tamil is spoken
by about 60% of Singapore's Indian community or 5% of all Singaporeans. Indian
languages such as Malayalam and Hindi are also spoken by a small group of
Singaporean Indians in Singapore.
Dubai is one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located
south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula. Dubai has the largest population
and is the second-largest emirate by area, after Abu Dhabi. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are
the only two emirates to possess veto power over critical matters of national
importance in the country's legislature.
The earliest recorded mention of Dubai is in 1095, and the earliest settlement known
as Dubai town dates from 1799. Dubai was formally established in the early 19th
century by the Al Abu Falasa clan of Bani Yas, and it remained under clan control
when the United Kingdom assumed the protection of Dubai in 1892. Its geographical
location made it an important trading hub and by the beginning of the 20th century, it
was an important port. In 1966, the town joined the newly independent country of
Qatar to set up a new monetary unit, the same year oil was discovered. The oil
economy lead to a massive influx of foreign workers, quickly expanding the city by
300% and bringing in international oil interests. The modern emirate of Dubai was
created after the UK left the area in 1971. At this time Dubai, together with Abu
Dhabi and five other emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates. A free trade zone
was built around the Jebel Ali port in 1979, allowing foreign companies unrestricted
import of labour and export capital. The Gulf War of 1990 had a negative financial
effect on the city, as depositors withdrew their money and traders withdrew their
trade, but subsequently the city recovered in a changing political climate and thrived.
Today, Dubai has emerged as a global city and a business hub. Although Dubai's
economy was built on the oil industry, currently the emirate's main revenues are from
tourism, property, and financial services. Dubai has recently attracted world attention
through many innovative large construction projects and sports events. This increased
attention has highlighted labour and human rights issues concerning its largely South
Asian workforce. Dubai's property market experienced a major downturn in 2008 and
2009 as a result of the slowing worldwide economic climate, and a 20% correction in
property values is expected by 2011.
In the 1820s, Dubai was referred to as Al Wasl by British historians. Few records
pertaining to the cultural history of the UAE or its constituent emirates exist and
because of the region's oral traditions, folklore and myth were not written down. The
linguistic origins of the word Dubai are disputed; some believe it to have originated
from the Persian language, while some believe that Arabic is its linguistic root.
According to Fedel Handhal, a researcher in the history and culture of the UAE, the
word Dubai may have come from the word Daba (a derivative of Yadub, which
means to creep); referring to the slow flow of Dubai Creek inland. The poet and
scholar Ahmad Mohammad Obaid traces it to the same word, but to its alternative
meaning of locust.
Although stone tools have been found at many sites, little is known about UAE's early
inhabitants as only a few settlements have been found. Many ancient towns in the
area were trading centres between the Eastern and Western worlds. The remnants of
an ancient mangrove swamp, dated at 7,000 BC, were discovered during the
construction of sewer lines near Dubai Internet City. The area was covered with sand
about 5,000 years ago as the coast retreated inland, becoming a part of the city's
present coastline. Early Islamic ceramics have been found from the 3rd and 4th
century. Prior to Islam, the people in this region worshiped Bajir (or Bajar). The
Byzantine and Sassanian (Persian) empires constituted the great powers of the period,
with the Sassanians controlling much of the region. After the spread of Islam in the
area, the Umayyad Caliph, of the eastern Islamic world, invaded south-east Arabia
and drove out the Sassanians. Excavations by the Dubai Museum in the region of AlJumayra (Jumeirah) found several artifacts from the Umayyad period.
The earliest recorded mention of Dubai is in 1095, in the "Book of Geography" by the
Andalusian-Arab geographer Abu Abdullah al-Bakri. The Venetian pearl merchant
Gaspero Balbi visited the area in 1580 and mentioned Dubai (Dibei) for its pearling
industry. Since 1799, there has been a settlement known as Dubai town. In the early
19th century, the Al Abu Falasa clan (House of Al-Falasi) of Bani Yas clan
established Dubai, which remained a dependent of Abu Dhabi until 1833. On 8
January 1820, the sheikh of Dubai and other sheikhs in the region signed the "General
Maritime Peace Treaty" with the British government. In 1833, the Al Maktoum
dynasty (also descendants of the House of Al-Falasi) of the Bani Yas tribe left the
settlement of Abu Dhabi and took over Dubai from the Abu Fasala clan without
Dubai came under the protection of the United Kingdom by the "Exclusive
Agreement" of 1892, in which the UK agreed to protect Dubai against the Ottoman
Empire. Two catastrophes struck the town during the 1800s. First, in 1841, a smallpox
epidemic broke out in the Bur Dubai locality, forcing residents to relocate east to
Deira. Then, in 1894, fire swept through Deira, burning down most homes. However,
the town's geographical location continued to attract traders and merchants from
around the region. The emir of Dubai was keen to attract foreign traders and lowered
trade tax brackets, which lured traders away from Sharjah and Bandar Lengeh, which
were the region's main trade hubs at the time.
Dubai's geographical proximity to Iran made it an important trade location. The town
of Dubai was an important port of call for foreign tradesmen, chiefly those from Iran,
many of whom eventually settled in the town. By the beginning of the 20th century, it
was an important port. Dubai was known for its pearl exports until the 1930s; the
pearl trade was damaged irreparably by World War I, and later on by the Great
Depression in the 1930s. With the collapse of pearling, many residents migrated to
other parts of the Persian Gulf.
In the early days since its inception, Dubai was constantly at odds with Abu Dhabi. In
1947, a border dispute between Dubai and Abu Dhabi on the northern sector of their
mutual border, escalated into war. Arbitration by the British and the creation of a
buffer frontier running south eastwards from the coast at Ras Hasian resulted in a
temporary cessation of hostilities. Electricity, telephone services, and an airport were
established in Dubai in the 1950s, when the British moved their local administrative
offices there from Sharjah. Oil was discovered in Dubai in 1871, after which the town
granted concessions to international oil companies. The discovery of oil led to a
massive influx of foreign workers, mainly Indians and Pakistanis. The city's
population from 1968 to 1975 grew by over 300%.
On 2 December 1971 Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi and five other emirates, formed
the United Arab Emirates after former protector Britain left the Persian Gulf in 1971.
In 1973, Dubai joined the other emirates to adopt a uniform currency: the UAE
dirham. In the 1970s, Dubai continued to grow from revenues generated from oil and
trade, even as the city saw an influx of immigrants fleeing the civil war in Lebanon.
Border disputes between the emirates continued even after the formation of the UAE;
it was only in 1979 that a formal compromise was reached that ended hostilities. The
Jebel Ali port was established in 1979. Jafza (Jebel Ali Free Zone) was built around
the port in 1985 to provide foreign companies unrestricted import of labour and
export capital.
The Persian Gulf War of 1990 had a huge effect on the city. Depositors withdrew
massive amounts of money from Dubai banks due to uncertain political conditions in
the region. Later in the 1990s many foreign trading communities — first from
Kuwait, during the Persian Gulf War, and later from Bahrain, during the Shia unrest
— moved their businesses to Dubai. Dubai provided refueling bases to allied forces at
the Jebel Ali free zone during the Persian Gulf War, and again during the 2003
Invasion of Iraq. Large increases in oil prices after the Persian Gulf War encouraged
Dubai to continue to focus on free trade and tourism.
Dubai is situated on the Persian Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates and is roughly
at sea level (16 m/52 ft above). The emirate of Dubai shares borders with Abu Dhabi
in the south, Sharjah in the northeast, and the Sultanate of Oman in the southeast.
Hatta, a minor exclave of the emirate, is surrounded on three sides by Oman and by
the emirates of Ajman (in the west) and Ras Al Khaimah (in the north). The Persian
Gulf borders the western coast of the emirate. Dubai is positioned at 25°16′11″N
55°18′34″E / 25.2697°N 55.3095°E / 25.2697; 55.3095 and covers an area of 4,114
km² (1,588 mi²), which represents a significant expansion beyond its initial 1,500 mi²
designation due to land reclamation from the sea.
Dubai lies directly within the Arabian Desert. However, the topography of Dubai is
significantly different from that of the southern portion of the UAE in that much of
Dubai's landscape is highlighted by sandy desert patterns, while gravel deserts
dominate much of the southern region of the country. The sand consists mostly of
crushed shell and coral and is fine, clean and white. East of the city, the salt-crusted
coastal plains, known as sabkha, give way to a north-south running line of dunes.
Farther east, the dunes grow larger and are tinged red with iron oxide.
The flat sandy desert gives way to the Western Hajar Mountains, which run alongside
Dubai's border with Oman at Hatta. The Western Hajar chain has an arid, jagged and
shattered landscape, whose mountains rise to about 1,300 meters in some places.
Dubai has no natural river bodies or oases; however, Dubai does have a natural inlet,
Dubai Creek, which has been dredged to make it deep enough for large vessels to pass
through. Dubai also has multiple gorges and waterholes which dot the base of the
Western Al Hajar mountains. A vast sea of sand dunes covers much of southern
Dubai, and eventually leads into the desert known as The Empty Quarter. Seismically,
Dubai is in a very stable zone — the nearest seismic fault line, the Zagros Fault, is
200 km (124.27 mi) from the UAE and is unlikely to have any seismic impact on
Dubai. Experts also predict that the possibility of a tsunami in the region is minimal
because the Persian Gulf waters are not deep enough to trigger a tsunami.
The sandy desert surrounding the city supports wild grasses and occasional date
palms. Desert hyacinths grow in the sabkha plains east of the city, while acacia]and
ghaf trees grow in the flat plains within the proximity of the Western Al Hajar
mountains. Several indigenous trees such as the date palm and neem as well as
imported trees like the eucalypts grow in Dubai's natural parks. The houbara bustard,
striped hyena, caracal, desert fox, falcon and Arabian oryx are common in Dubai's
desert. Dubai is on the migration path between Europe, Asia and Africa, and more
than 320 migratory bird species pass through the emirate in spring and autumn. The
waters of Dubai are home to more than 300 species of fish, including the hammour.
The typical marine life off the Dubai coast includes tropical Fish, jellyfish, coral,
dugong, dolphins, whales and sharks. Various types of turtles can also be found in the
area including the Hawksbill turtle and Green Turtle which are listed as endangered
Dubai Creek runs northeast-southwest through the city. The eastern section of the city
forms the locality of Deira and is flanked by the emirate of Sharjah in the east and the
town of Al Aweer in the south. The Dubai International Airport is located south of
Deira, while the Palm Deira is located north of Deira in the Persian Gulf. Much of
Dubai's real-estate boom is concentrated to the west of the Dubai Creek, on the
Jumeirah coastal belt. Port Rashid, Jebel Ali, Burj Al Arab, the Palm Jumeirah and
theme-based free-zone clusters such as Business Bay are all located in this section.
Dubai has a hot arid climate. Summers in Dubai are extremely hot, windy and dry,
with an average high around 40 °C (104 °F) and overnight lows around 30 °C (86 °F).
Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are warm and short with an average
high of 23 °C (73 °F) and overnight lows of 14 °C (57 °F). Precipitation, however,
has been increasing in the last few decades with accumulated rain reaching 150 mm
(5.91 in) per year.
According to the census conducted by the Statistics Centre of Dubai, the population of
the emirate was 1,771,000 as of 2009, which included 1,370,000 males and 401,000
females. The region covers 497.1 square miles (1,287.4 km2). The population density
is 408.18/km2 – more than eight times that of the entire country. Dubai is the second
most expensive city in the region, and 20th most expensive city in the world.
As of 1998, 17% of the population of the emirate was made up of UAE nationals.
Approximately 85% of the expatriate population (and 71% of the emirate's total
population) was Asian, chiefly Indian (51%), Pakistani (16%), Bangladeshi (9%) and
Filipino (2.5%). A quarter of the population however reportedly traces their origins to
Iran. In addition, 16% of the population (or 288,000 persons) living in collective
labour accommodation were not identified by ethnicity or nationality, but were
thought to be primarily Asian. The median age in the emirate was about 27 years. The
crude birth rate, as of 2005, was 13.6%, while the crude death rate was about 1%.
Although Arabic is the official language of Dubai, Persian , Chinese ,Urdu, Hindi,
Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil, Tagalog, and other languages are spoken in Dubai.
English is the lingua franca of the city and is very widely spoken by residents.
Article 7 of the UAE's Provisional Constitution declares Islam the official state
religion of the UAE. The government subsidizes almost 95% of mosques and employs
all Imams; approximately 5% of mosques are entirely private, and several large
mosques have large private endowments.
Dubai also has large Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and other religious
communities residing in the city. Non-Muslim groups can own their own houses of
worship, where they can practice their religion freely, by requesting a land grant and
permission to build a compound. Groups that do not have their own buildings must
use the facilities of other religious organisations or worship in private homes. NonMuslim religious groups are permitted to openly advertise group functions; however,
proselytizing or distributing religious literature is strictly prohibited under penalty of
criminal prosecution, imprisonment, and deportation for engaging in behaviour
offensive to Islam.
Historically, Dubai and its twin across the Dubai creek, Deira (independent of Dubai
City at that time), were important ports of call for Western manufacturers. Most of the
new city's banking and financial centres were headquartered in the port area. Dubai
maintained its importance as a trade route through the 1970s and 1980s. Dubai has a
free trade in gold and, until the 1990s, was the hub of a "brisk smuggling trade" of
gold ingots to India, where gold import was restricted. Dubai's Jebel Ali port,
constructed in the 1970s, has the largest man-made harbour in the world and was
ranked seventh globally for the volume of container traffic it supports. Dubai is also a
hub for service industries such as information technology and finance, with industryspecific free zones throughout the city. Dubai Internet City, combined with Dubai
Media City as part of TECOM (Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media
Free Zone Authority) is one such enclave whose members include IT firms such as
EMC Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, and IBM, and media organisations
such as MBC, CNN, BBC, Reuters, Sky News and AP.
Dubai's gross domestic product as of 2008 was US$ 82.11 billion. Although Dubai's
economy was built on the back of the oil industry, revenues from oil and natural gas
currently account for less than 6% of the emirate's revenues. It is estimated that Dubai
produces 50,000 to 70,000 barrels of oil a day and substantial quantities of gas from
offshore fields. The emirate's share in UAE's gas revenues is about 2%. Dubai's oil
reserves have diminished significantly and are expected to be exhausted in 20 years.
real estate and construction (22.6%), trade (16%), entrepôt (15%) and financial
services (11%) are the largest contributors to Dubai's economy. Dubai's top exporting
destinations include India (US$ 5.8 billion), Switzerland (US$ 2.37 million) and
Saudi Arabia (US$ 0.57 million). Dubai's top re-exporting destinations include India
(US$ 6.53 billion), Iran (US$ 5.8 million) and Iraq (US$ 2.8 billion). The emirate's
top import sources are India (US$ 12.55 billion), China (US$ 11.52 billion) and the
United States (US$ 7.57 billion). As of 2009 India was Dubai's largest trade partner.
The government's decision to diversify from a trade-based, but oil-reliant, economy to
one that is service and tourism-oriented made property more valuable, resulting in the
property appreciation from 2004–2006. A longer-term assessment of Dubai's property
market, however, showed depreciation; some properties lost as much as 64% of their
value from 2001 to November 2008. The large scale real estate development projects
have led to the construction of some of the tallest skyscrapers and largest projects in
the world such as the Emirates Towers, the Burj Khalifa, the Palm Islands and the
world's second tallest, and most expensive hotel, the Burj Al Arab. The Dubai
Financial Market (DFM) was established in March 2000 as a secondary market for
trading securities and bonds, both local and foreign. As of fourth quarter 2006, its
trading volume stood at about 400 billion shares, worth US$ 95 billion in total. The
DFM had a market capitalisation of about US$ 87 billion.
Dubai's property market experienced a major downturn in 2008 and 2009 as a result
of the slowing economic climate. Mohammed al-Abbar, Chief Executive Officer of
Emaar told the international press in December 2008 that Emaar had credits of USD
70 billion and the state of Dubai additional USD 10 billion while holding estimated
USD 350 billion in real estate assets. By early 2009, the situation had worsened with
the global economic crisis taking a heavy toll on property values, construction and
employment. As of February 2009 Dubai's foreign debt was estimated at
approximately USD $80 billion, although this is a tiny fraction of the sovereign debt
A City Mayors survey rated Dubai as 44th among the world's best financial cities,
while another report by City Mayors indicated that Dubai was the world's 33rd richest
city, in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). Dubai is also an international
financial centre and has been ranked 37th within the top 50 global financial cities as
surveyed by the Mastercard Worldwide Centres of Commerce Index (2007), and 1st
within the Middle East.
The UAE culture mainly revolves around the religion of Islam and traditional Arab,
and Bedouin culture. In contrast, the city of Dubai is a highly cosmopolitan society
with a diverse and vibrant culture. The influence of Islamic and Arab culture on its
architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle are very prominent as well. Five times
every day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques which are
scattered around the country. Since 2006, the weekend has been Friday-Saturday, as a
compromise between Friday's holiness to Muslims and the Western weekend of
In 2005, 84% of the population of metropolitan Dubai was foreign-born, about half of
them from India. The city's cultural imprint as a small, ethnically homogenous
pearling community was changed with the arrival of other ethnic groups and nationals
— first by the Iranians in the early 1900s, and later by Indians and Pakistanis in the
1960s. Dubai has been criticized for perpetuating a class-based society, where migrant
workers are in the lower classes.
Major holidays in Dubai include Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and
National Day (2 December), which marks the formation of the United Arab Emirates.
Annual entertainment events such as the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and Dubai
Summer Surprises (DSS) attract over 4 million visitors from across the region and
generate revenues in excess of US$ 2.7 billion. Large shopping malls in the city, such
as Deira City Centre, Mirdiff City Centre, BurJuman, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai
Mall and Ibn Battuta Mall as well as traditional souks attract shoppers from the
region. Arab food is very popular and is available everywhere in the city, from the
small shawarma diners in Deira and Al Karama to the restaurants in Dubai's hotels.
Fast food, South Asian, Chinese cuisines are also very popular and are widely
available. The sale and consumption of pork, though not illegal, is regulated and is
sold only to non-Muslims, in designated areas. Similarly, the sale of alcoholic
beverages is regulated. A liquor permit is required to purchase alcohol; however,
alcohol is available in bars and restaurants within hotels. Shisha and qahwa
boutiques are also popular in Dubai. Dubai is known for its nightlife. Clubs and bars
are found mostly in hotels due to the liquor laws. The New York Times described
Dubai as "the kind of city where you might run into Michael Jordan at the Buddha
Bar or stumble across Naomi Campbell celebrating her birthday with a multiday
The Islamic dress code is not compulsory, unlike in neighboring Saudi Arabia. Most
Emirati males prefer to wear a kandura, an ankle-length white shirt woven from wool
or cotton, and most Emirati women wear an abaya, a black over-garment covering
most parts of the body. This attire is particularly well-suited for the UAE's hot and dry
climate. Western-style clothing is, however, dominant because of the large expatriate
population, and this practice is beginning to grow in popularity among Emiratis.
Etiquette is an important aspect of UAE culture and tradition, to which visitors are
expected to conform. Recently, many expatriates have disregarded the law and been
arrested for indecent clothing, or lack thereof, at beaches. Western-style dress is
tolerated in appropriate places, such as bars or clubs, but the UAE has maintained a
strict policy of protecting highly public spaces from cultural insensitivity.
The United Arab Emirates is a part of the khaliji tradition, and is also known for
Bedouin folk music. During celebrations singing and dancing also take place and
many of the traditional songs and dances have survived to the present time. Yowalah
is the traditional dance of the UAE. Young girls would dance by swinging their long
black hair and swaying their bodies in time to the strong beat of the music. Men
would re-enact battles fought or successful hunting expeditions, often symbolically
using sticks, swords or rifles.
Hollywood and Bollywood movies are popular in Dubai. Since 2004, the city has
hosted the annual Dubai International Film Festival which serves as a showcase Arab
film making talent. Musicians Amr Diab, Diana Haddad, Tarkan, Aerosmith, Santana,
Mark Knopfler, Elton John, P!nk, Shakira, Celine Dion, Coldplay, Keane , Phil
Collins and A R Rahman have performed in the city. Kylie Minogue was reportedly
paid 3.5 million dollars to perform at the opening of the Atlantis resort on November
20, 2008. The Dubai Desert Rock Festival is also another major festival consisting of
Heavy metal and rock artists.
Football and cricket are the most popular sports in Dubai. Five teams — Al Wasl, AlShabab, Al-Ahli, Al Nasr and Hatta — represent Dubai in UAE League football.
Current champions Al-Wasl have the second-most number of championships in the
UAE League, after Al Ain. Cricket is followed by Dubai's large South Asian
community and in 2005, the International Cricket Council (ICC) moved its
headquarters from London to Dubai. The city has hosted several Pakistan matches and
two new grass grounds are being developed in Dubai Sports City. Dubai also hosts
both the annual Dubai Tennis Championships and The Legends Rock Dubai tennis
tournaments, as well as the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament, all of which attract
sports stars from around the world. The Dubai World Cup, a thoroughbred horse race,
is held annually at the Meydan Racecourse.
The school system in Dubai does not differ from that of the United Arab Emirates. As
of 2009, there are 79 public schools run by the Ministry of Education that serve
Emiratis and expatriate Arab people as well as 145 private schools. The medium of
instruction in public schools is Arabic with emphasis on English as a second
language, while most of the private schools use English as their medium of
instruction. Most private schools cater to one or more expatriate communities.
The New Indian Model School, Dubai (NIMS), Delhi Private School, Our Own
English High School, the Dubai Modern High School, and The Indian High School,
Dubai offer either a CBSE or an Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Indian
syllabus. Similarly, there are also several reputable Pakistani schools offering FBISE
curriculum for expatriate children.
Dubai English Speaking School, Jumeirah Primary School, Jebel Ali Primary School,
Cambridge International School, Jumeirah English Speaking School, King's School
and the Horizon School all offer British primary education up to the age of eleven.
Dubai British School, Dubai College, English College Dubai, Jumeirah English
Speaking School – Arabian Ranches, Jumeirah College and St. Mary's Catholic High
School are British eleven-to-eighteen secondary schools offering General Certificate
of Secondary Education and A-Levels. Emirates International School, Cambridge
High School and Wellington International School provides full student education up
to the age of 18, and offers International General Certificate of Secondary Education
and A-Levels. Deira International School, Dubai International Academy and Jumeirah
English Speaking School offer the International Baccalaureate program with the
IGCSE program. Dubai American Academy, American School of Dubai and the
Universal American School of Dubai offer curriculum of the United States.
The Ministry of Education of the United Arab Emirates is responsible for
accreditation of schools. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority
(KHDA) was established in 2006 to develop education and human resource sectors in
Dubai, and license educational institutes.
Approximately 10% of the population has university or postgraduate degrees. Many
expatriates tend to send their children back to their home country or to Western
countries for university education and to India for technology studies. However, a
sizable number of foreign accredited universities have been set up in the city over the
last ten years. Some of these universities include Manchester Business School,
Michigan State University Dubai (MSU Dubai), the Birla Institute of Technology &
Science, Pilani - Dubai (BITS Pilani), Heriot-Watt University Dubai, American
University in Dubai (AUD), the American College of Dubai, Mahatma Gandhi
University (Off-Campus Centre), Institute of Management Technology – Dubai
Campus, SP Jain Center Of Management, University of Wollongong in Dubai, and
MAHE Manipal. In 2004, the Dubai School of Government in collaboration with
Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Medical
School Dubai Center (HMSDC) were established in Dubai. The Dubai Public
Libraries is the public library system in Dubai.
Tourism is an important part of the Dubai government's strategy to maintain the flow
of foreign cash into the emirate. Dubai's lure for tourists is based mainly on shopping,
but also on its possession of other ancient and modern attractions. As of 2007, Dubai
was the 8th most visited city of the world. Dubai is expected to accommodate over 15
million tourists by 2015. Dubai is the most populous emirate of the seven emirates of
United Arab Emirates. It is distinct from other members of the UAE in that a large
part of the emirate's revenues are from tourism.
Dubai has been called the "shopping capital of the Middle East". Dubai alone has
more than 70 shopping malls, including the world's 7th largest shopping mall, Dubai
Mall. The city draws large numbers of shopping tourists from countries within the
region and from as far as Eastern Europe, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. While
boutiques, some electronics shops, department stores and supermarkets operate on a
fixed-price basis, most other outlets consider friendly negotiation a way of life.
Dubai is also known for its souk districts located on either side of the creek.
Traditionally, dhows from the Far East, China, Sri Lanka, and India would discharge
their cargo and the goods would be bargained over in the souks adjacent to the docks.
Many boutiques and jewellery stores are also found in the city. Dubai is known as
"the City of Gold" and Gold Souk in Deira houses nearly 250 gold retail shops. Dubai
Duty Free at the Dubai International Airport offers merchandise catering to the
multinational passengers using the airport.
Dubai has a rich collection of buildings and structures of various architectural styles.
Many modern interpretations of Islamic architecture can be found in Dubai, due to an
architectural boom in the Arab World. Modern Islamic architecture has recently been
taken to a new level with such buildings being erected such as the Burj Khalifa,
currently the world's tallest building. The Burj Khalifa's design is derived from the
patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture, with the triple-lobed footprint of
the building based on an abstracted version of the desert flower hymenocallis which
is native to the Dubai region.
Dubai has a number of amusement parks and gardens. In addition, there are numerous
small parks and heritage villages. Dubai Municipality's Strategic Plan for 2007–2011
seeks to increase the per capita green area to 23.4 m² (27.98 yd²) and the cultivated
land in urban areas to 3.15% by 2011. The Municipality has started a greenery project
which will be completed in four phases planting 10,000 trees in each phase. Famous
parks include:
* Creekside Park, Bur Dubai
* Safa Park, Sheikh Zayed Road
* Al Mumzar Beach Park, Deira
* Jumeirah Open Beach Park, Jumeirah Beach Road
* Za'abeel Park, Sheikh Zayed road
* Mushrif Park, Deira, Dubai
* Wild Wadi Water Park, D 94 road (United Arab Emirates) Jumeirah Beach Road
* Wonderland Amusement Park, Bur Dubai
Dubai's rapid growth means that it is stretching its limited sewage treatment
infrastructure to its limits. Currently, human waste from Dubai's 1.3 million
inhabitants is collected daily from thousands of septic tanks across the city and driven
by tankers to the city's only sewage treatment plant at Al-Awir. Because of the long
queues and delays, some tanker drivers resort to illegally dumping the effluent into
storm drains or behind dunes in the desert. Sewage dumped into storm drains flows
directly into the Persian Gulf, near to the city's prime swimming beaches. Doctors
have warned that tourists using the beaches run the risk of contracting serious
illnesses like typhoid and hepatitis. Dubai municipality says that it is committed to
catching the culprits and has imposed fines of up to $25,000 and threatened to
confiscate tankers if dumping persists. The municipality maintains that test results
show samples of the water are "within the standard".
Transport in Dubai is controlled by the Roads and Transport authority. The public
transport network faces huge congestion and reliability issues which a large
investment programme is attempting to address, including over AED 70 billion of
improvements planned for completion by 2020, when the population of the city is
projected to exceed 3.5 million. In 2009, according to Dubai Municipality statistics,
there were an estimated 1,021,880 cars in Dubai. In January 2010, the number of
Dubai residents who use public transport stood at 6%. Although the government has
invested heavily in the Dubai's road infrastructure, this has not kept pace with the
increasing number of vehicles. This, coupled with the induced traffic phenomenon,
has led to growing problems of congestion.
Five main routes — E 11 (Sheikh Zayed Road), E 311 (Emirates Road), E 44 (DubaiHatta Highway), E 77 (Dubai-Al Habab Road) and E 66 (Oud Metha Road) — run
through Dubai, connecting the city to other towns and emirates. Additionally, several
important intra-city routes, such as D 89 (Al Maktoum Road/Airport Road), D 85
(Baniyas Road), D 75 (Sheikh Rashid Road), D 73 (Al Dhiyafa Road), D 94
(Jumeirah Road) and D 92 (Al Khaleej/Al Wasl Road) connect the various localities
in the city. The eastern and western sections of the city are connected by Al Maktoum
Bridge, Al Garhoud Bridge, Al Shindagha Tunnel, Business Bay Crossing and
Floating Bridge.
The Public Bus Transport system in Dubai is run by the Roads and Transport
Authority (RTA). The bus system services 140 routes and transported over about
109.5 million people in 2008. By the end of 2010, there will be 2,100 buses in service
across the city. The Transport authority has announced the construction of 500 airconditioned (A/C) Passenger Bus Shelters, and has plan for 1,000 more across the
emirates in a move to encourage the use of public buses.
Dubai also has an extensive taxi system, by far the most frequently used means of
public transport within the Emirate. There are both government-operated and private
cab companies. There are more than 3000 taxis operating within the emirate. Taxi
cabs in Dubai make an average of 192,000 trips every day, lifting about 385,000
persons. In 2009 taxi trips exceeded 70 million trips serving around 140.45 million
Dubai International Airport (IATA: DXB), the hub for the Emirates Airline, serves
the city of Dubai and other emirates in the country. The airport was the 15th busiest
airport in the world by passenger traffic handling 40.9 million passengers in 2009.
The airport was also the 6th busiest airport in the world by international passenger
traffic. In addition to being an important passenger traffic hub, the airport is the 7th
busiest cargo airport in world, handling 1.927 million tonnes of cargo in 2009, a 5.6%
increase compared to 2008 and was also the 4th busiest International freight traffic
airport in world. Emirates Airline is the national airline of Dubai. As of 2009, it
operated internationally serving 101 destinations in 61 countries across six continents.
The development of Al Maktoum International Airport, currently under construction
in Jebel Ali, was announced in 2004. Plans called for a dedicated road between the
current Dubai International Airport and the new one, but currently progress is stalled
by unspecified "challenges", according to an Emirates spokesperson.
A $3.89 billion, Dubai Metro project is currently operational although partly underconstruction. The Red Line is operational and runs through the heart of the city. The
Metro system was partially opened on September 2009 and will be fully operational
by 2014. UK-based international service company Serco Group is responsible for
operating the metro. The metro comprises the Green Line from Al Rashidiya to the
main city center and the Red Line from the airport to Jebel Ali. A Blue and a Purple
Line have also been planned. The Dubai Metro (Green and Blue Lines) will have 70
km (43.5 mi) of track and 43 stations, 37 above ground and ten underground. The
Dubai Metro is the first urban train network in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Palm Jumeirah Monorail is a monorail line on the Palm Jumeirah. The monorail
connects the Palm Jumeirah to the mainland, with a planned further extension to the
Red Line of the Dubai Metro. The line opened on April 30, 2009. It is the first
monorail in the Middle East. Two trams systems are expected to be built in Dubai by
2011. The first is the Downtown Burj Khalifa Tram System and the second is the Al
Sufouh Tram. The Downtown Burj Khalifa Tram System is a 4.6 km (2.86 mi) tram
service that is planned to service the area around the Burj Khalifa, and the second
tram will run 14.5 km (9 mi) along Al Sufouh Road from Dubai Marina to the Burj Al
Arab and the Mall of the Emirates.
Dubai has announced it will complete a link of the UAE high speed rail system which
will eventually hook up with the whole GCC and then possibly Europe. The High
Speed Rail will serve passengers and cargo.
There are two major commercial ports in Dubai, Port Rashid and Port Jebel Ali. Port
Jebel Ali is the world's largest man-made harbour, the biggest port in the Middle East,
and the 7th-busiest port in the world. One of the more traditional methods of getting
across Bur Dubai to Deira is through abras, small boats that ferry passengers across
the Dubai Creek, between abra stations.
According to Wikipedia, ‘Tourism is the activities of persons traveling to and staying
in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for
leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity
remunerated from within the place visited.’
Tourism differs from travel in the following aspects:
Reason to travel: It can be anything but remuneration from the place visited.
It requires a change from familiar environment.
Period of stay: The least would be one day and maximum would be a year.
In recent years tourism in India has shot up at lightening speed. India has succeeded in
becoming the most preferred place amongst domestic and overseas traveler. Tourism
exposes the international traveler to India’s diverse culture. According to some
official estimates Indian tourism has surpassed global tourism as far as penetration of
foreign tourists and revenue is concerned. As far as internal reasons are concerned,
India tourism has progressed due to the rate of growth of Indian economy. To develop
the infrastructure the tourism industry has invested in latest equipments, international
standard security systems and CRM tools.
Indian Prospect
The developing world has immensely contributed to the economic boost that India is
currently enjoying and it's tourism sector has not been left out of the share of profits
either- a major achievement for the image of brand India build up by a successful
financial system in place in our country.
Some economists credit this fiscal feature of success of Indian financial system to the
income generated by the tourism segment, movements across the cross-section of
rising business opportunities, agricultural and educational sectors opening up as well
as novel and attractive packaging of brand-building for India that have in turn,
benefited the travel industry as well. Besides this, strategic planning of excursion
packages, eco-tourism, sports events that bring the spot-light on India and greater
patronage by greater number of MNC's heading to our shores as well as
diversifications of the Indian open industries norm have contributed to the growth of
Indian economy and thereby, Indian tourism.
The WTO (World Tourism Organization) reports that as many as 698 million people
traveled to a foreign country in 2000, spending over US$ 478 billion while on tour; if
India too had a share in these results, then surely the impact of Indian economy as a
contributor to rising world economy and its impact on tourism cannot be ignored.
More of free spending of disposable incomes, greater markets opening up and better
scope for industrialization and earning opportunities have led the way for India's
economy to successfully launch the enhanced tourism sector.
What has contributed to the economic growth of India and the tourism sector at large
are factors of industrialization, education, higher number of qualified professionals,
opening up of foreign markets, liberal trade policies and better advertising and
strategic marketing.
The above factors have been collectively responsible for boosting our country's
economic reserves and the impact of India's economic growth on tourism is
increasingly being felt in specialty sectors like spiritual tourism, spa tourism,
student/senior citizen or family vacation plan segments in tourism as well as (surprise,
surprise!) adventure tourism! Better amenities and modernization of roads,
infrastructure in hotels, local lodging options, accreditation of genuine travel
operators and guides etc., training being imparted by government and private sector
individuals interested in developing specific regions for tourism promotion and
encouraging global gains for India have all been strategized well. These policies put
in place after significant contribution from field experts like market watchers, tourism
ministry and education and foreign affairs ministry support systems are governed by
the needs of tourists visiting India for a certain cultural flavor, yet, not be deprived of
comforts, hygiene, security and conveniences that are world-class.
Understanding and fulfilling needs of global tourists for quality vacationing: the kickoff for creditable performance and strong impact of India's economic growth on
Indian tourism receipts combined with better passenger transport systems and
customized food and lodging preferences taken into consideration by exclusive tour
operators has meant a niche segment of the country's top travel agencies generating
considerable income for their industry. No wonder, as things stand, tourism has
become the number one export earner, ahead of automotive products, chemicals,
petroleum and food for India and this would not have been possible without the
combining of governmental, community and private industry powers through
diversification in the economy. This diversification of economy is a sign of health for
India as a developing nation fast emerging as a major player in the tourism sector,
which has got a shot in the arm thanks to better management at local and urban levels.
The only issue of concern is that should India or any of its major tourism generating
regions become dependent for its economic survival upon one industry, it can put
major stress upon this sector and its people, who may be compelled to perform well
consistently. One solution for easing the burden of India's welcome economic growth
off the shoulders of the locals is for our developing country to explore other
resources, apart from embracing specialized tourism pockets, as a way to boost the
Impact of tourism on rural India will be so great that all other rural welfare scheme
will be pale by comparison. Interestingly a bulk of India?s cultural wealth is in the
rural areas. It is this what a significant percentage of visitors come to see. When they
are there, they help the rural economy by staying in the local hotels, eat local food and
buy local handicrafts. Every tourist whether external or internal, carries back
souvenirs to show off. The latter is a cottage industry product. Each is unique and
each has a local imprint on it. This will drive up the village economy. People in the
villages will suddenly find themselves as entrepreneur-supplying products to a very
prosperous visitor. In addition, roads, food, shops, hotels, guides will provide
employment to millions. In short rural economy will get a huge boost.
Tourism is a bonanza waiting to be exploited. Returns on little bit of money invested
are phenomenal. Investment money is waiting to come to India except that it has not
found the right modus operandi. Investors in the West know that India has the right
mix to make any tourists happy. This investment is to be welcomed with open arms.
The latter will boost the external tourist arrivals from current 4 million to 20 million a
year in ten years. Monies they will spend while in India could exceed $20 billion
every year. This money is easy money. Again look at the spin-off benefits to the rural
economy as well as employment at hotels and inns in the big cities. These benefits are
worth having.
As I said above India has to use its culture, history, exotic places, four seasons
weather to its greatest advantage. Vigorous promotion of all these contents is to be a
continuous affair. Europe and Caribbean are continuously promoting themselves in
US, even though they get bulk of the tourists. In Caribbean, US citizens usually
holidays, to be away from the daily hustle and bustle of life. Sun at the Equator is
strong; hence they pick up a tan (in fact Sun and heat roasts them on the beaches with
dire health consequences). The later becomes a showpiece for next few weeks to talk
at the office and workplace. Indirectly it aids the marketing effort. Europe is vast; a
US tourist can visit beautiful cities or visit their ancestor?s history. After a while, all
cities look alike, whether it is US or Europe. That is when other places to visit are
selected. Places like India should be up in their mind first. India has a traditional
hospitality, a continuous culture, excellent weather system, cultural diversity, two
thousand year old artifacts and spiritual experience in Yoga & religion unmatched
anywhere else. What more can a tourist ask for a holiday? In one package, he or she
gets transported as close to the heavens as possible.
Tourism worldwide is a $3,700 billion industry. This includes both internal and
external tourism. In US and Europe internal tourism is about 85% of the business. The
foregoing is also true about China, where newly emerging middle class has taken to
visit sites within China in a big way. Egypt, Thailand and other countries in Africa
and Asia, favored by tourists have 80% external tourists. Internal tourism in these
places is a small. Tourists to India are a mix of NRIs returning home and external
visitors going to exotic places. Internal tourism is not well developed although; India
has a 200 million middle class with money to spend. Part of the reason is, lack of inexpensive facilities to cater to the local tourism. Still almost half of the tourism
revenue of $12 billion a year in India is generated by internal tourism. With a bit of
more effort this could be raised four fold.
Indian culture and its ten thousand year old history is a massively powerful brand on
which tourism industry can grow. Last year a total of 4.5 million tourists arrived
India. It generated $4 bllion revenue. It is low figure; both in tourist arrivals and
monies they spent while in India. Even Thailand with coast overlooking Bay of
Bengal had a higher external tourist count. Egypt after the departure of Sadat and
Nasser had an astronomical rise both in tourist arrivals and revenues generated.
Europeans and Americans go to see the Pyramids in Egypt. In the process they sustain
the Egyptian economy. China has used the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden
City as the main sales brand in its drive to attract tourists. Taking each of the US
Presidents in last twenty years, during their visit to China, to see the Great Wall, has
been a perfect marketing tool for them. Both Egypt and China have not much more to
offer. Hardly anyone speaks English or the European languages in both the places. In
Egypt you have to endure sand storms and terror attacks to see the Pyramids. In China
Communists control over travel outside the marked areas, restricts options. Tourists
come to see things of beauty and have a good time. They also like to see interesting
places, have fun, enjoy good food, good lodging, and if possible get a religious or a
spiritual experience. Anybody who could provide these things attracts tourists. In
short, the host country is supposed to spoil them with hospitality and give them an
experience to remember.
With rich cultural heritage one wonders, why is India so far behind in attracting
Well it is not a priority industry for development in India. Hence its infrastructure to
cater the external tourists is primitive. But consider this: - 20 million outside tourists
could bring in $30 to 40 billion revenue in a year. For this big money spinner, all
India got to do is to use private money to upgrade the tourism infrastructure, build
new hotels & inns, provide hospitable tour environment and manage tourism industry
on Western footings. Quite a bit of this infrastructure upgrade is already under way as
part of much vaulted industrial infrastructure upgrade planned for the next five years.
Tourism industry infrastructure upgrade could piggyback on this. This extra money
spent will have much faster return.
Impact of tourism on the economy of the country: Tourism emerged as an industry in
recent past. This new industry is developing as the biggest industry of the world. And
now the technical boom helps tourism to be in the main driving seat of any countries
economy. According to the survey of World Tourism Organization tourist movement
throughout the world can touch the 1600 million mark within 2020. And that’s why
the specialists of this industry think that “it is a new economic phenomenon, a new
business, a new industry of vast dimension and magnitude.” The biggest feature of
this industry is that it can generate maximum employment opportunity. And it’s
simply because of the number of subsidiary industries.
Tourism is one of the driving force which helps regional development and economic
development. The Government of India understood the importance of tourism as an
industry in 1980’s. So tourism is a late-started industry in this country. Recent study
shows that the globalization and open economy helped tourism to emerge as one of
the biggest FOREX earner of this country. It brings the opportunity of infrastructure
development. The overall development of any country depends specially on the
improvement of road, vehicles, communication, water supply, airports, and railway
stations. Economic progress and industry development depends completely on the
overall development of country. And tourism plays a major role on this overall
infrastructural advancement. Directly and indirectly tourism helps agriculture and
other industries. Few examples can show the importance of tourism in Indian
1) Tourism industry can generate 5 million job opportunity.
2) Foreign tourists buy handicrafts of almost of one thousand crore Rs. in a year.
3) Total income from this smoke-less industry in this country is almost 20000 crore
Rs. and that is again without any factory.
4) Regions like Aurangabad in Maharastra, Khajuraho in MP, Jammu & Kashmir,
Raghurajpur in Orissa etc emerged with the help of tourism only.
If one is to think about the impact of India's economic growth on tourism in the
country, one needs to study this feature as part of the larger picture of the developing
world's contribution to this fiscal boost. While some economists may attribute the
success of Indian economy to the profits generated by the tourism sector, which in
turn were boosted by innovative marketing, brand-building and strategic planning of
tour packages, other thinkers may credit the rise in number of MNC's and
diversifications of the Indian open industries norm as being the chief cause. However,
if the WTO (World Tourism Organization) is to be believed, as many as 698 million
people have traveled to a foreign country in 2000 and have spent over US$ 478 billion
while on tour. Now, logically presuming India too had a share in that pie, however big
or small it may be, it would be acceptable to conclude that this free spending of
disposable incomes, on the rise in India too, has been a major reason for the way in
which people in India are spurring on economic growth and the tourism sector
therefore, cannot be left out either.
Contributors to economic growth: industrialization, education, qualified professionals,
opening up of foreign markets, liberalization of trade policies and better advertising
and marketing
The above factors have been collectively responsible for boosting our country's
economic reserves and the impact of India's economic growth on tourism is
increasingly being felt in specialty sectors like spiritual tourism, spa tourism,
student/senior citizen or family vacation plan segments in tourism as well as (surprise,
surprise!) adventure tourism! Better amenities and modernization of roads,
infrastructure in hotels, local lodging options, accreditation of genuine travel
operators and guides etc., training being imparted by government and private sector
individuals interested in developing specific regions for tourism promotion and
encouraging global gains for India have all been strategized well. These policies put
in place after significant contribution from field experts like market watchers, tourism
ministry and education and foreign affairs ministry support systems are governed by
the needs of tourists visiting India for a certain cultural flavor, yet, not be deprived of
comforts, hygiene, security and conveniences that are world-class.
Indian tourism receipts combined with better passenger transport systems and
customized food and lodging preferences taken into consideration by exclusive tour
operators has meant a niche segment of the country's top travel agencies generating
considerable income for their industry. No wonder, as things stand, tourism has
become the number one export earner, ahead of automotive products, chemicals,
petroleum and food for India and this would not have been possible without the
combining of governmental, community and private industry powers through
diversification in the economy. This diversification of economy is a sign of health for
India as a developing nation fast emerging as a major player in the tourism sector,
which has got a shot in the arm thanks to better management at local and urban levels.
The only issue of concern is that should India or any of its major tourism generating
regions become dependent for its economic survival upon one industry, it can put
major stress upon this sector and its people, who may be compelled to perform well
consistently. One solution for easing the burden of India's welcome economic growth
off the shoulders of the locals is for our developing country to explore other
resources, apart from embracing specialized tourism pockets, as a way to boost the
There have been several attempts by researchers to estimate the importance of tourism
activities in a region or at the local level. The greatest difficulty in these analyses
traditionally had been the fact that no separate industry can be identified as tourism
industry which could exclusively cater only to the tourists. the same time this nonexistent industry plays key role in shaping the economy of the various regions or areas
even countries. The tourism industry, which is a combination of several sectors of the
economy, caters to local residents and industries as well as non-resident customers.
For example, the restaurants in any area serve to several customers who are residents
as well as non-residents of that specific area. Any analysis that considers the
transaction of this sector in its totality for estimating the benefit derived from tourism
expenditure ends up with highly overestimated multipliers. To make things simpler
for the readers who are not familiar with the much used and important tool of
economic analysis, the input-output model is explained below without going into its
technicalities. An input-output model is primarily production oriented and takes into
account the transactions within an economy for the purchasing sectors and selling
sectors at different stages of the consumption, i.e., intermediate and final. It also takes
into account the export-import components as well as private and government
consumption. All these parameters, finally, allow identifying the value addition by
each sector to the economy. As an analytical tool it computes the coefficients and the
multipliers for each sector which depicts the impact of each sector on every individual
sector of the economy as well as on the overall economy. With the help of inputoutput analysis, one can measure impact of the tourism sector in terms of output,
income and employment generation within the economy.
Tourism has played a pivotal in social progress. It is also an important vehicle in
widening socio-economic and cultural contacts. A wide array of interestsentertainment, sports, religion, culture, adventure, education, health and businessdrives tourism. Tourist expenditure generates multiple effects with extensive outreach
along its value chain. Adding to the demand for a variety of goods and services,
tourism offers potential to exploit synergies across a large number of sectors such as
agriculture, horticulture, poultry, handicrafts, transport, construction etc., where
growth of income has favourable impact on poverty alleviation.
Tourism facilitates business contacts, widens markets and helps diffusion of growth
impulses across territories to promote broad based employment and income
generation. Investment in tourist infrastructure adds to economic growth, catalyses
generation of income and employment, which in turn, leads to further growth in
demand for tourism and stimulates subsequent rounds of investment in a virtuous
Statistics of Growth
1. Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report of 2009 from the World
Economic Forum, has ranked India as 11th in the Asia Pacific region and 62nd
overall, moving up three places on the list of the world's most attractive
2. Ranked 14th best tourist destination for its natural resources and 24th for its
cultural resources, owing to many World Heritage sites, rich flora and fauna
and strong creative industry.
3. In the 18th Session of the General Assembly of UN WTO in 2009, India was
re-elected to the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism
Organization for another four years term. India is a member of the Executive
Council of UN WTO continuously for the last 19 years.
4. Foreign Tourist Arrivals during the period January-February 2010 were 10.92
lakh with a growth rate of 12.7%, as compared to the FTAs of 9.68 lakh and a
negative growth rate of 13.8% during January-February 2009 over the
corresponding period of 2008.
5. Foreign Exchange Earnings in US$ terms during the month of February 2010
were US$ 1434 million as compared to FEE of US$ 923 million during the
month of February 2009 and US$ 1305 million in February 2008.The growth
rate in FEE in US$ terms in February 2010 over February 2009 was 55.4% as
compared to the growth of (-)29.3% in February 2009 over February 2008.
6. Investment Opportunities
7. Hotel industry
8. Service apartments
9. Adventure Tourism
10. Health Tourism
11. Convention centres
12. Wildlife Tourism
13. Highway Tourism
14. Amusement Parks
Infrastructure Development
1. Infrastructure Development holds the key to India’s sustained growth in the
tourism sector. Therefore, the Ministry of Tourism has been making efforts to
develop quality tourism infrastructure at tourist destinations and circuits. The
Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 94 projects for an amount of Rs.394.85
crore for infrastructure augmentation including rural tourism projects in the
year 2009-10 (up to November 09).
2. The Ministry has launched a scheme for development of nationally and
internationally important destinations and circuits through Mega Projects. To
date 29 mega projects have already been identified and of these 21 projects
have been sanctioned.In the current year, the Ministry has sanctioned mega
projects in Madhya Pradesh at Chitrakooot, as Spiritual and Wellness
Destination for an amount of Rs.2401.98 lakhs. The mega projects are a
judicious mix of culture, heritage, spiritual and ecotourism in order to give
tourists a holistic perspective.
3. Ministry of Tourism is also taking initiatives with other Central Govt.
Ministries, such as Railways, Civil Aviation, Road Transport & Highways,
Food Processing and Urban Development and also the concerned State
Governments to achieve convergence and synergy with their programmes so
that the impact of investment on these destinations is maximized.
Other initiatives
1. In the year 2009, Ministry of Tourism organised workshop on World Class
Tourism Infrastructure and decided that the Ministry will meet the expenditure
on the architect’s fee upto 2% of the project cost which could be included in
the cost estimates.
2. Ministry of Tourism has issued the guidelines for facilitating construction of
heliport as a component of destination development project in hilly / remote
3. The Ministry of Tourism has decided to consider proposals for grant of
financial assistance upto Rs.5 crore for construction of one convention centre
at any well-connected and accessible tourist destination in each State/UT for
promotion of Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE)
4. The Caravan tourism policy announced by the Ministry of Tourism is aimed to
promote and facilitate and incentivise development of
5. Caravan Parks in the public sector, private sector and PPP mode
6. Caravans in the public sector, private sector and PPP mode
7. Caravan Tourism can effectively meet the growing demand of accommodation
while ensuring adherence to quality, standards and safety norms.
8. Sustainable Tourism
9. The true potential of tourism lies in adopting responsible and sustainable
practices on both the demand and supply sides of the tourism chain, enabling
an effective response to climate change. This is closely interlinked with
inclusive growth through sustainable community participation.
10. This ‘sustainable’ tourism route has been adopted by the Ministry of Tourism
in the innovative Rural Tourism Project, by strengthening the disadvantaged
but skilled rural artisan communities through support to capacity building and
vernacular infrastructure, while laying emphasis on the role of women.
11. In furtherance of these objectives and achievements, Ministry of Tourism in
association with UNDP and key stakeholders in the tourism industry organised
four regional conferences on Sustainable Tourism for Inclusive Growth at
Shillong, Chennai, Bhopal and Cochin.
Hotel Infrastructure
1. The requirement of hotel accommodation in the country is estimated at 240
thousand rooms against availability of around 90 thousand rooms. It is
estimated that there will be a requirement of additional 30,000 hotel rooms in
Delhi. The Ministry of Tourism is therefore actively involved in monitoring
the creation of additional accommodation for the games. Following initiatives
have been taken for augmentation of accommodation infrastructure:
2. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has de-linked credit for hotel projects from
commercial real estate, thereby enabling hotel projects to avail credit at
relaxed norms and reduced interest rates.
3. In addition, the External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) norms have been
relaxed by Ministry of Finance to solve the problem of liquidity being faced
by the hotel industry due to economic slow down.
4. Commonwealth Games 2010
5. The XIX Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held in Delhi during 3rd
to 14th October 2010. It is expected that around 100 thousand persons would
be visiting during the Games.The following initiatives have been taken by the
Ministry to use this opportunity and showcase India as a unique and hospitable
tourism destination:
6. A Task Force constituted for this purpose monitors the additional new hotel
accommodation coming up in the Delhi NCR by holding regular meetings
with all concerned land owning authorities, concerned Ministries /
7. Governemnt has decided that Delhi Development Authority (DDA) flats
located at Vasant Kunj and Jasola, New Delhi will be upgraded / furnished and
operated by Indian Tourist Development Corporation (ITDC) for the
Commonwealth Games as alternate accommodation of three star standards.
8. Government has also proposed to utilize the services of rooms available from
the licensed guest houses and Bed & Breakfast units for the Games.
9. India Tourism Development Corporation
10. Hotel Ashok, Samrat and Janpath under the ITDC have been declared as the
Official Hotels for the Games. While The Ashok & Samrat would be the
Games Family Hotels, Janpath would be for Press and Media. These hotels
have undergone a major renovation work to prepare them for the event.
11. Manpower & Volunteer Development
12. Providing more than 3000 volunteers, trained in hospitality sector, for the
games under the “Earn While You Learn” scheme.
13. Training more than 3000 taxi/coach and auto rickshaw drivers with an
objective of making them more tourists friendly.
14. Training of owners and service staff of the approved guests house in Delhi so
that there is a quality improvement in the services being provided.
15. Quality Human Resource Development
16. It is estimated that to cater for the growing need of the hospitality sector, over
203 thousand hospitality trained manpower would be required annually,
therefore, it has been the endeavour of the Ministry of Tourism to put in place
a system of training and professional education with necessary infrastructural
support, capable of generating manpower to meet the needs of the tourism and
hospitality industry, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
17. Ministry of Tourism has decided to support additional Institutes of Hotel
Management (IHM) in states. New Food Crafts Institutes (FCI) are also being
set up. Ministry has also been providing financial assistance for modernization
and capacity enhancement of IHMs and FCIs. A Scheme of Capacity Building
for Service Providers is being implemented to impart hospitality training to
those employed in this sector.
18. As a part of 100 days agenda of the Government, Ministry has taken following
initiatives to provide skilled manpower in hospitality sector:
19. Skill training of youth in Hospitality sector (Hunar Se Rojgar Tak): The
Institutes of Hotel Management (IHMs) have initiated a six to eight week fast
track skill training programme for youth under twenty five years of age in
food production and food and beverage services. About 5000 youths will be
trained in the year.
20. Skill Certification: The service providers, who are working in the hospitality
sector, would undertake a five day orientation programme followed by test
that would be based on practical and viva voce. Thereafter, the participants
would be provided a skill certificate, which will enhance their employability in
the market. About 5000 existing service providers would be certified in the
International Cooperation
1. In the 18th Session of the General Assembly of UN WTO held in October
2009 in Astana, Kazakhstan, India was re-elected to the Executive Council of
the United Nations World Tourism Organization for another four years term.
India is a member of the Executive Council of UN WTO continuously for the
last 19 years.
2. In the first Joint Working Group Meeting on Tourism between India and
Indonesia in Yogyakarta, Indonesia held in August 2009, it was agreed to
carry forward the cooperation.
3. A Joint Action Plan on Tourism Cooperation was signed between India and
Singapore in August 2009 in New Delhi in the presence of the visiting senior
Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Education, Republic of Singapore
and the Minister of Tourism,Government of India.
4. A Joint Action Programme for the period 2009-10 for the implementation of
the agreement between India and Russian Federation on Cooperation in
Tourism was signed during the visit of the Russian President to India in
December 2008.
Overseas Marketing and Promotion
1) Ministry of Tourism has consistently been working on a two-pronged strategy for
marketing of 'Incredible India' brand. The strategy includes visible branding in the
outdoor media such as advertising at airports, on trams, taxis and buses and
through the print, online and electronic media, as well as through participation in
Travel Marts and Road Shows. For promotion of Indian Cuisine, which is an
integral component of the Indian Tourism product, support has been extended to
Indian Food Festivals organized in various countries. The India tourism office in
New York has supported Indian Food Festivals organized in Colombia, Ecuador,
Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay in S. America.
2) Work orders have been issued for launch of print media campaigns in America,
APAC and Europe regions. Advertising Campaigns have also been undertaken by
the India tourism offices overseas in their respective regions. Promotional
activities have also been stepped up in the overseas markets with added focus on
emerging markets, for generating greater awareness about India as a tourist
destination and increasing India’s share in international tourist arrivals and
3) There has been an increased focus on potential and emerging markets in East/
South East Asia, and East European countries. Road Shows, in collaboration with
the Indian Association of Tour Operators, have been organized in Japan and South
Korea to promote the Visit India 2009 Scheme. India tourism, Frankfurt supported
& participated in Road Shows organized in the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Croatia
and Slovenia in June 2009.
4) A series of promotional initiatives were taken to minimize the negative impact of
the global economic slowdown and terrorist attack in Mumbai, which had an
adverse effect on tourism in the country. Some of them are as under:
5) An Incredible India Evening was organized in Beijing in April 2009. More than
600 persons representing a cross section of the Chinese media, travel trade,
members of the diplomatic corps, and prominent members of the Indian
community attended the function. A five day “Incredible India” Food Festival was
also arranged to coincide with the India Evening.
6) The India tourism office in New York participated in a “Caribbean Conclave”
organized in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago in June 2009.
7) The India tourism Offices in New York, Frankfurt, Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo
have participated in major travel fairs and exhibitions in South America, CIS, East
European countries, East Asia and South East Asia, including Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Romania, Kazakhstan, Ukraine,
Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China, S. Korea, etc.
8) Major promotional events were organised in Moscow and St. Petersburg in
September 2009.
9) Visit India 2009
10) The initiatives taken to minimize the negative impact of the global economic
slowdown included a “Visit India 2009” scheme launched in collaboration with all
stakeholders including airlines, hotels, tour operators, State Governments for
incentivising travel to India, organizing Road Shows in important tourist
generating markets overseas, arranging familiarisation tours to India for
international travel trade and media representatives to keep them updated on
safety / security conditions in the country and media campaigns in the print,
electronic, online and outdoor media.
Other Promotional Activities
The Ministry of Tourism, through the India tourism office in London
undertook an advertising campaign in the print and outdoor media in London
to coincide with the Queens Baton Relay for the Commonwealth Games 2010,
which was flagged off from the Buckingham Palace on 29th October 2009.
The campaign included advertisements on hoardings, billboards, LED
Screens, bus shelters, etc. at Heathrow airport and at prominent locations in
London city as well as in leading dailies . Outdoor advertising was also
undertaken on taxis in New York, Miami, Chicago, London, Edinburgh,
Milan, Rome, Tokyo, on buses / cable cars in San Francisco, Seoul, Miami,
Philadelphia, Chicago, Toronto, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bahrain, Muscat,
and on hoardings / billboards in Tokyo, Milan, New York, Toronto, Ottawa,
Edmonton, Dubai, Nice Airport, Cannes, Singapore, etc.
“Incredible India” events were organized in Russia in September, 2009 as part
of the celebrations of the “Year of India in Russia” and a major India
promotion event “India Calling” organized in association with the National
Geographic Society at Hollywood Bowl and California Plaza in Los Angeles
in September 2009.
Joint Promotions have been organized by India tourism offices overseas in
collaboration with Tour Operators / Airlines and Wholesalers, in Rome,
Dubai, Sharjah, West Palm Beach & Naples in Florida, Madrid & Barcelona
in Spain, Brugge in Belgium, Basel, Bern & Zurich in Switzerland and
The Ministry of Tourism organized a series of Road Shows in collaboration
with the Indian Association of Tour Operators, Adventure Tour Operators
Association of India and the PATA India Chapter to project India as a tourist
destination, in the aftermath of the global economic slowdown.
India tourism offices overseas have participated in approximately 104 Travel
Fairs and Exhibitions in important tourist generating markets the world over as
well as in emerging and potential markets to showcase and promote the
tourism products of the country. These include the major international Travel
Fairs such as the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, PATA Travel Mart
in Hangzhou, China, ITB – Asia in Singapore Top Resa in Paris, and World
Travel Market (WTM) in London.
Ministry continued to provide Hospitality to Journalists/ tour operators/ Travel
agents/ TV teams/ Photographers etc. from overseas markets. Till now
Ministry has offered hospitality to 700 guests (approx.).
Social Awareness Campaign
Ministry continued its efforts to reinforce its brand through Incredible India
campaigns. Through, Social Awareness Campaigns attempt was made to
sensitize the stakeholders and masses about the importance of tourism and
protection of heritage sites. Through generic campaign in the first half of the
current financial year, awareness about various destinations/sub-tourism
products was generated. In the second half of the financial year, Ministry
continued its efforts of creating social awareness through focused campaigns.
Recent Initiatives
Rural Tourism
Rural Tourism showcases the rural life, art, culture and heritage of India,at rural
locations in villages and benefits the local community economically and socially. It
enables interaction between tourists and local population for a mutually enriching
experience, the Government of India has taken several steps to develop and promote
rural tourism. The Ministry of Tourism has partnered with the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) for Endogenous Rural Tourism as pilot projects
for capacity building. Within prescribed limits, this Ministry funds the hardware
projects and the funds for capacity building were provided by the UNDP through this
Ministry The software component was implemented with the involvement of an
NGO/Gram Panchayat identified by the UNDP in co-ordination with the District
Collector and the local community. The Ministry also extends the scheme of Capacity
Building for Service Providers (CBS) to other rural sites beyond those covered under
partnership with the IJNDP.
The focal point for each site is the District Collector for ensuring convergence with
other Yojanas and Schemes. The project implementation is monitored by the Project
Standing Committee chaired by the Joint Secretary (Tourism). Field visits are
conducted by the Ministry of Tourism-UNDP Teams.
To monitor the projects, the National Workshops and Regional Review Meetings have
been held regularly where initiatives were taken to further strengthen the scheme
which included home-stay with food, guide- training among the local youth,
enhancing the role of women, linkage with tout operators and encouragement of the
foreign students to stay with the rural host community, etc. In some sites, e.g Hodka,
Pocharnpalli, Kumbhalangi, Karaikudi (Chettinad), Aranmula, Raghurajpur, tour
operators are involving such communities within their groups.
UNDP has created a panel of architects to advise, guide and provide design inputs for
site hardware work plan with sensitivity to the local environment using local skills,
material and style. In many sites, the architects have been able to give new
dimensions which are based on local skill, material and style
Medical Tourism
Medical Tourism is gaining momentum and the several initiatives have been taken by
the Ministry to promote this segment. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India
participated at the International Tourism Bourse (1TB) at Berlin, where India was
promoted as the new emerging healthcare destination. The Ministry also participated
in New York Times Travel Show to promote Indian healthcare services and invite
investment into India. Further, a new category of medical visa has been introduced
which can be given for a specific purpose to foreign tourists coming to India for
medical treatment.
Cruise Tourism
India, with its vast and beautiful coastline, virgin forests and undisturbed idyllic
islands, long historical and cultural tradition of architecture, theatre and performing
arts, is a high potential tourist destination for cruise tourists. The cruise tourism
potential in the country should be assessed from the medium-term and long-term
perspective with details of foreign and domestic stakeholders. Huge untapped
potential lies in Cruise tourism in India such as Development of major terminals,
Development of non-major ports, Rationalization of duty structure for import of
vessels, Development of inland water cruise etc.
Adventure Tourism
Adventure tourism has immense potential for growth. For experiencing the different
types of adventure tourism right like rock climbing, river rafting, para gliding,
mountaineering and under water diving, the Ministry has been sanctioning projects in
various States.
Wellness Tourism
India, as the world knows, is a Wellness destination. The potential of wellness
systems, developed through centuries of wisdom of this ancient civilization would be
fully tapped. This is being done by positioning India as a centre of Ayurveda, Yoga,
Siddha, Naturopathy, etc. together with the spiritual philosophy that was integral to
the Indian way of life. The Ministry of Tourism has highlighted wellness in a big way
through publicity and promotional activities.
Tourism- Policies and Schemes
National Tourism Policy
In order to develop tourism in India in a systematic manner, position it as a major
engine of economic growth and to harness its direct and multiplier effects for
employment and poverty eradication in an environmentally sustainable manner, the
National Tourism Policy was formulated in the year 2002. Broadly, the “Policy”
attempts to:* Position tourism as a major engine of economic growth;
* Harness the direct and multiplier effects of tourism for employment generation,
economic development and providing impetus to rural tourism;
* Focus on domestic tourism as a major driver of tourism growth.
* Position India as a global brand to take advantage of the burgeoning global travel
trade and the vast untapped potential of India as a destination;
* Acknowledges the critical role of private sector with government working as a
pro-active facilitator and catalyst;
* Create and develop integrated tourism circuits based on India’s unique
civilization, heritage, and culture in partnership with States, private sector and other
agencies; and
* Ensure that the tourist to India gets physically invigorated, mentally rejuvenated,
culturally enriched, spiritually elevated and “feel India from within”.
Scheme for Product/Infrastructure and Destination Development
The focus under this scheme is on improving the existing products and developing
new tourism products to world class standards. For infrastructure and product
development, the Ministry of Tourism has been providing Central Financial
Assistance to the State Governments during the 9th Five Year Plan which resulted in
strengthening of the infrastructure and product development in the country. The
scheme has been restructured during the 10th Five Year Plan to meet the present day
infrastructure requirements. The past experience had been that a large number of
small projects had been funded under the Scheme, spreading the resources very thinly,
which at times had not created the desired impact. The focus in the Tenth Plan has
been to fund large projects of infrastructure or product development in an integrated
Under the revised scheme, the destinations are carefully selected based on the tourism
potential. Master planning of these destinations is undertaken so as to develop them in
an integrated holistic manner. The master plan is suppose to tie up all backward and
forward linkages, including environmental considerations. Realizing the importance
of destination development, the total outlay for this sector has been increased
substantially. Important tourist destinations in each State, in consultation with the
State Governments, are taken up for development. This include activities ranging
from preparation of master plans to implementation of the master plans. The
destinations are selected in consultation with the State/UT Governments.
Scheme for Integrated Development of Tourist Circuits
Under this Central Financial Assistance scheme the Ministry of Tourism Government
of India has been extending assistance to States for development of tourism
infrastructure. Experience has shown that in the past funds under the CFA have been
used to fund a large number of small isolated projects, spread throughout the length
and breadth of the country resulting in the resources being spread very thinly.
Therefore, in order to provide quick and substantial impact, during the 10th Five Year
Plan, this new scheme of Integrated Development of Tourist Circuits have been taken
up. The objective of the scheme is to identify tourist circuits in the country on an
annual basis, and develop them to international standards. The aim is to provide all
infrastructure facilities required by the tourists within these circuits. The Ministry of
Tourism aim at convergence of resources and expertise through coordinated action
with States/UTs and private sector.
Scheme of Assistance for Large Revenue Generating Projects
It is recognized that the development of tourism infrastructure projects requires very
large investment that may not be possible out of the budgetary resources of the
Government of India alone. In order to remove these shortcomings and to bring in
private sector, corporate and institutional resources as well as techno-managerial
efficiencies, it is proposed to promote large revenue generating projects for
development of tourism infrastructure in public private partnerships and in
partnerships with other Government / Semi-Government agencies.
Large revenue generating project, which can be admissible for assistance under this
scheme, should be a project, which is also a tourist attraction, or used by tourists and
generates revenue through a levy of fee or user charges on the visitors. Projects like
Tourist trains, Cruise vessels, Cruise Terminals, Convention Centres, Golf Courses
etc. would qualify for assistance. However, this is only an illustrative list.
Hotel & Restaurant component will not be eligible for assistance under the scheme
either on a stand-alone basis or as an integral part of some other project. Besides hotel
& restaurants, procurement of vehicles and sports facilities like stadiums will also not
be eligible for assistance under the scheme.
Scheme for Rural Tourism
Tourism growth potential can be harnessed as a strategy for Rural Development. The
development of a strong platform around the concept of Rural tourism is definitely
useful for a country like India, where almost 74% of the population resides in its 7
million villages. Across the world the trends of industrialization and development
have had an urban centric approach. Alongside, the stresses of urban lifestyles have
led to a “counter-urbanization” syndrome. This has led to growing interest in the rural
areas. At the same time this trend of urbanization has led to falling income levels,
lesser job opportunities in the rural areas leading to an urbanization syndrome in the
rural areas. Rural Tourism is one of the few activities which can provide a solution to
these problems. Besides, there are other factors which are shifting the trend towards
rural tourism like increasing levels of awareness, growing interest in heritage and
culture and improved accessibility, and environmental consciousness. In the
developed countries, this has resulted in a new style of tourism of visiting village
settings to experience and live a relaxed and healthy lifestyle. This concept has taken
the shape of a formal kind of Rural Tourism. Under this Scheme, thrust is to promote
village tourism as the primary tourism product to spread tourism and its socio222
economic benefits to rural and its new geographic regions. Key geographic regions
are identified for development and promotion of Rural Tourism. The implementation
is done through a Convergence Committee headed by the District Collector. Activities
like improving the environment, hygiene, infrastructure etc. are covered for
assistance. Apart from providing financial assistance, the focus is to tap the resources
available under different schemes of Department. of Rural Development, State
Governments and other concerned Departments of the Government of India.
Scheme for Support to Public Private Partnerships in Infrastructure (Viability Gap
Developement of infrastructure require large investments that cannot be undertaken
out of public financing alone. Thus, in order to attract private capital as well as
techno-managerial efficiencies associated with it, the government is committed to
promoting Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure development. This
scheme has been put into effect for providing financial support to bridge the viability
gap of infrastructure projects undertaken through Public Private Partnerships.
Scheme for Market Development Assistance (MDA)
The Marketing Development Assistance Scheme (MDA), administered by the
Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, provides financial support to approved
tourism service providers (i.e. hoteliers, travel agents, tour operators, tourist transport
operators etc., whose turnover include foreign exchange earnings also) for
undertaking the following tourism promotional activities abroad:
(A) Sales-cum-study tour
(B) Participation in fairs/exhibitions
(C) Publicity through printed material
Indian tourism receipts combined with better passenger transport systems and
customized food and lodging preferences taken into consideration by exclusive tour
operators has meant a niche segment of the country's top travel agencies generating
considerable income for their industry. No wonder, as things stand, tourism has
become the number one export earner, ahead of automotive products, chemicals,
petroleum and food for India and this would not have been possible without the
combining of governmental, community and private industry powers through
diversification in the economy. This diversification of economy is a sign of health for
India as a developing nation fast emerging as a major player in the tourism sector,
which has got a shot in the arm thanks to better management at local and urban levels.
The only issue of concern is that should India or any of its major tourism generating
regions become dependent for its economic survival upon one industry, it can put
major stress upon this sector and its people, who may be compelled to perform well
consistently. One solution for easing the burden of India's welcome economic growth
off the shoulders of the locals is for our developing country to explore other
resources, apart from embracing specialized tourism pockets, as a way to boost the
The developing world has immensely contributed to the economic boost that India is
currently enjoying and it's tourism sector has not been left out of the share of profits
either- a major achievement for the image of brand India build up by a successful
financial system in place in our country.
Some economists credit this fiscal feature of success of Indian financial system to the
income generated by the tourism segment, movements across the cross-section of
rising business opportunities, agricultural and educational sectors opening up as well
as novel and attractive packaging of brand-building for India that have in turn,
benefited the travel industry as well. Besides this, strategic planning of excursion
packages, eco-tourism, sports events that bring the spot-light on India and greater
patronage by greater number of MNC's heading to our shores as well as
diversifications of the Indian open industries norm have contributed to the growth of
Indian economy and thereby, Indian tourism.
The WTO (World Tourism Organization) reports that as many as 698 million people
traveled to a foreign country in 2000, spending over US$ 478 billion while on tour; if
India too had a share in these results, then surely the impact of Indian economy as a
contributor to rising world economy and its impact on tourism cannot be ignored.
More of free spending of disposable incomes, greater markets opening up and better
scope for industrialization and earning opportunities have led the way for India's
economy to successfully launch the enhanced tourism sector.
What has contributed to the economic growth of India and the tourism sector at large
are factors of industrialization, education, higher number of qualified professionals,
opening up of foreign markets, liberal trade policies and better advertising and
strategic marketing.
The above factors have been collectively responsible for boosting our country's
economic reserves and the impact of India's economic growth on tourism is
increasingly being felt in specialty sectors like spiritual tourism, spa tourism,
student/senior citizen or family vacation plan segments in tourism as well as (surprise,
surprise!) adventure tourism! Better amenities and modernization of roads,
infrastructure in hotels, local lodging options, accreditation of genuine travel
operators and guides etc., training being imparted by government and private sector
individuals interested in developing specific regions for tourism promotion and
encouraging global gains for India have all been strategized well. These policies put
in place after significant contribution from field experts like market watchers, tourism
ministry and education and foreign affairs ministry support systems are governed by
the needs of tourists visiting India for a certain cultural flavor, yet, not be deprived of
comforts, hygiene, security and conveniences that are world-class.
Tourism is widely conceived to be a service which results in considerable degree of
sharing between the host community and the visitors. The natural environment as well
as the cultural heritage of a community becomes selling products in tourism. The
interaction between the hosts and visitors leaves its mark on the environment, people
and culture of the hosts.
Responsible tourism is a concept which measures the effects of tourism on the well
being of the host community, their culture as well as on local environment. In this
respect, responsible tourism is a concept which acts as an impact assessment
instrument. Responsible tourism envisages minimum negative effect on culture of the
indigenous society and environment. Simultaneously tourism shall improve the wellbeing of the people, ensure environment sustainability besides magnifying host
This paper attempts to evaluate the tourism horoscope of the Wayanadu District from
the angle of responsible tourism. Wayanadu is a unique geographical and environment
unit given its attitude, climate and other environmental features. The microclimate of
the district is classified as cloud forest. Ecology is highly fragile due to its tropical
nature coupled with intensive agricultural activity. Socio-cultural environment of the
district is also unique as the tribal people constitutes one-fourth of the total population
and the high degree of agricultural orientation of the people. It is into this peculiar
socio-cultural framework that tourism enters as an entirely exogenous variable. The
tourism industry is promoted by professionals and entrepreneurs who are mostly
outsiders. But the industry decisively produces certain economic, cultural and
environmental effects.
The effects of tourism on the agrarian economy, well being of the indigenous people
and on the fragile environment needs analytical attention. In Wayanadu, the dominant
players in the tourism industry are the resort owners and the home stay providers. The
resorts are established by professional people with sizable capital. Since the local
people are not professionals and are not owners of capital, the benefit from the
industry doesn’t go to them. Lack of education and skill formation makes their cause
worse. Thus, tourism as a service product comes outside the delivery capabilities of
the local people.
Wayanadu, as a tourism destination is known for its scenic beauty. Reserved forests,
wild life sanctuaries, water falls, rock caves, riverine islands, mountains, hill stations
and dams are the major tourist spots in the district.
The following are the major tourist destinations in the district:
The Vythiri Tourism Area (VTA).
The Muthanga Wildlife Sanctury,
Kuruva Island,
Thirunelli forests,
Banasura Sagar and Karappuzha dams,
Soochippara, Meenmutty and Kanthanpara waterfalls
Idackal Caves and
Pookkodu Lake
All these tourist destinations are ecologically sensitive and are facing ecological
strains due to excessive tourist inflows over the last five years. Resorts and home
stays thrive around these tourist destinations. Increasing number of resorts without
adequate environment protection measures is causing rapid depletion of the cloud
forests in the district. Rising temperature, declining fog cover and its duration and
decreasing rainfall in the district’s microclimatic area are supportive of the ongoing
vegetation depletion and environment degradation.
Resorts and home stays are the two important types of tourism infrastructure available
in the district. Most of the resorts are located in the Vythiri Tourism Area (VTA)
which lies near to the Churam (Ghat) in the south – eastern border of the district. The
Vyhiri Tourism Area holds the longest stretch of cloud forest in the district.
The Vythiri Tourism Area (VTA)
The Vythiri Tourism Area comprises of mainly the Vythiri panchayat and the
adjoining areas. Vythiri is located near the upper mouth of the ghat (churam). The
environmental significance of Vythiri is that the area is dominated by cloud forests.
Long stretch of fog during the day time coupled with cool microclimatic conditions
makes it the most attractive tourist area in the district. The wilderness of lush
evergreen forests complemented by wet and cool climate makes it a hot tourist
destination despite is remoteness compared to other tourist locations in Kerala.
Lakkidi which is in the Vythiri Tourism Area was the largest rain receiving region in
Kerala till recently. The tourism spectrum of Vythiri is dominated by resorts. Around
seventy per cent of the major resorts in Wayanadu are located in Vythiri. Last year
India Today magazine has selected the Vythiri Resort as one of the fifty must see
destinations in India.
Agriculture and tourism are the two important activities in the VTA. Expansion of
tourism in the VTA is not finished with mushrooming of resorts. Supplementary
tourism activities including trade and hotels along with rapid semi-urbanisation of the
area have lead to deterioration of cloud forests in the VTA. Decline in forest cover
lead to declining rainfall, reduced fog impact and increasing day temperatures. Now,
Lakkidi is no more the rainiest place in Kerala as Neryamangalam has pushed it to the
second spot.
Another instance of tourism making no responsibility to environment protection is the
increasing volume of non-degradable waste in the VTA. In the absence of a public
authority like a municipality to carryout solid waste disposal, plastic and other nondegradable wastes are threatening the fragile ecology of the VTA.
The Vythiri Tourism Area again fails when its contribution to the indigenous
community is measured. As the entire resorts are owned by professional firms from
other districts, the participation of the local community as entrepreneurs in tourism
development becomes negligible. The resorts also use outsiders at managerial and
skilled manpower level, leaving only unskilled employment opportunities to the
locals. The most marginalised of the indigenous people; the Adivasis are completely
outside benefit circle of the tourism industry. Often the forest products from the
adivasis are procured by intermediary traders and sold to the tourists.
Tourism in rest of Wayanadu: the responsible scenario.
In rest of Wayanadu, the tourism industry’s effect on the environment is the same as
in the case of the VTA. But in contrast to the VTA, the local community has able to
get greater benefit here. This is because the tourism suppliers in rest of Wayanadu are
homes stay suppliers and there are only few resorts. The home stays are mostly
arranged by local inhabitants. The reward for food, accommodation and guidance to
the tourists are all goes to the local home stay provider. But in rest of Wayanadu also,
the participation of the indigenous Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste population is
almost nil. Tourism is not positively contributing to their income or in other words,
the weaker sections of the local community are economically untouched by tourism
generated income expansion. Further, there is little interaction between the tourists
and the scheduled tribes who are supposed to be the original inhabitants of the district.
The cultural and artistical treasures of the community are not represented to the
tourists; and therefore cultural tourism never enters into the scenario. Instead, the
Dalits are increasingly displaced from their land and are absorbed to the glittering
consumerist culture by shedding away their own cultural identity. Tourism in the
district is uni-centric in the sense that it is ‘nature based’ and not culture based.
The major tourist destinations in rest of Vynadu are also ecological hotspots.
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary which inhabits elephants, leopards, different bird
species etc. recently registered increasing number of elephant attacks on the tourists.
In Thirunelly, expansion of farming activities compelled a group of King cobras to
attack farmers in mid 2007. Toward the end of summer last year, leopards made many
attack on house hold animals due to rapid shrinking of their homeland.
Another area where tourism adversely affected environment is the three waterfallsMeenmutty, Soochippara and Kanthanpara which lies in the Meppady grama
panchayath. These waterfalls are the latest to enter into the tourist map; and are
witnessing excess tourist inflows over the last few years. There is no authority to
check accumulation of non degradable waste, in the sides of these waterfalls.
The ‘Uravu’ enterprise tries to make a link between the local people and the tourism
industry is a venture which utilises tourism to benefit the local community. ‘Uravu’ is
making traditional and tribal products at a commercial scale for the tourists. Uravu is
tries to give income to the local people by employing them in the manufacture of the
traditional nature based products. Uravu can be considered as the pioneer in the
empirical application of the concept of responsible tourism in the district by
establishing a link between the domestic industry and the local people. But ‘Uravu’
remains a product based enterprise and is not destination based as the resorts. Hence
the benefit from the industry to the indigenous people remains marginal.
Tourism in the Wayanadu district is ‘nature based’. It is the scenic beauty of the
district which makes it a tourist destination. But the effect of the ‘nature based’
tourism on the remaining ecological hotspots of the district is turning out to be
destructive. Ecologically sensitive areas like the previously untouched ‘Kuruva
Island’ and Muthanga Forests are now coming under more strains due to excess
tourist inflows. The ‘Kuruva’ which is a reverine island, is losing its biological
diversity and antiquity due to lack of preservation strategies. Besides, the large scale
depletion of the cloud forest vegetation in the district is accelerating forces of micro
climatic charges. The depletion of forest cover over the last one and a half decade has
reduced the duration and intensity of cold period both across day and year. The flora
and fauna of the district also lost considerable portion of their diversity due to the
depletion of cloud forests.
Tourism in the district has not improved the well-being of the local people and hence
produced only economic exclusion. There is little interaction between the local people
and the visitors which produces cultural exclusion. The adverse effect of tourism on
the district’s environment proves the existence of environmental exclusion. At the
same time, the natural beauty of the district attracts the tourists. In conclusion, tourism
has produced natural inclusion and cultural exclusion in the district.
Asian Prospect
Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy and developing
countries are attempting to cash in on this expanding industry in an attempt to boost
foreign investment and financial reserves. While conceding that the uncontrolled
growth of this industry can result in serious environmental and social problems, the
United Nations contends that such negative effects can be controlled and reduced.
Arguing that 'tourism needs to be more sustainable', the world body is organising a
'dialogue' this April in the UN Commission on Sustainable Development to bring
together national and local governments, the tourism industry, trade unions and
activist groups to realise this goal. In the following article, Anita Pleumarom
considers whether the global tourism industry can really be propelled towards
sustainability under the current international and political regime that underpins the
drive towards globalisation.
BEFORE getting into the cold facts of global economics, let me begin with another
story to warm up. I was perplexed when I recently read in the newspaper that
Thailand's forestry chief had said: 'Humans can't live in the forest because human
beings aren't animals. Unlike us, animals can adapt themselves to the wild or any
environment naturally.' This was to legitimatise the government's plan to remove
hundreds of thousands of rural and hill tribe people from protected areas.
This man, who is in charge of conserving the forests, is at the same time very strongly
pushing to open up the country's 81 national parks to outside investors and visitors in
the name of 'eco-tourism'. Can we conclude, then, that the forestry chief considers
developers and tourists as animals that know how to adapt to the forest and behave in
the wild naturally?
While authorities want to stop the access to forest lands and natural resources of
village people, another group of people - namely tourism developers and tourists with
lots of money to spend - are set to gain access to the area. While authorities believe
that local people, who have often lived in the area for generations, are not capable of
managing and conserving their land and natural resources - under a community
forestry scheme for example - they believe they themselves in cooperation with the
tourist industry can properly manage and conserve 'nature' under a national ecotourism plan. Taking the above quote seriously, cynics may be tempted to say there is
obviously a gap between 'human rights' and 'animal rights'.
How is this story linked to globalisation? First of all, that humans cannot live in the
forest is - of course - not a Thai concept. It is a notion of Western conservation
ideology - an outcome of the globalisation of ideas and perceptions. Likewise, that
eco-tourism under a 'good management' system is beneficial to local people and
nature is also a Western concept that is being globalised. In fact, Thailand's forestry
chief thinks globally and acts locally. A lesson that can be learned from this is that the
slogan 'Think Globally, Act Locally' that the environmental movements have
promoted all the years, has not necessarily served to preserve the environment and
safeguard local communities' rights, but has been co-opted and distorted by official
agencies and private industries for profit-making purposes. The tourism industry is
demonstrating this all too well.
Many developing countries, facing debt burdens and worsening trade terms, have
turned to tourism promotion in the hope that it brings foreign exchange and
investment. Simultaneously, leading international agencies such as the World Bank,
United Nations agencies and business organisations like the World Travel & Tourism
Council (WTTC) have been substantially involved to make tourism a truly global
However, tourism in developing countries is often viewed by critics as an extension of
former colonial conditions because from the very beginning, it has benefited from
international economic relationships that structurally favour the advanced capitalist
countries in the North. Unequal trading relationships, dependence on foreign interests,
and the division of labour have relegated poor countries in the South to becoming
tourism recipients and affluent countries in the North to the position of tourism
generators, with the latter enjoying the freedom from having to pay the price for the
meanwhile well-known negative impacts in destinations.
Transnational corporations
Travel and tourism has emerged as one of the world's most centralised and
competitive industries, and hardly any other economic sector illustrates so clearly the
global reach of transnational corporations (TNCs). Over recent years, the industry has
increasingly pressured governments around the world to liberalise trade and
investment in services and is likely to benefit tremendously from the General
Agreement on Trade in Services - a multilateral agreement under the World Trade
Organisation (WTO).
GATS aims to abolish restrictions on foreign ownership and other measures which
have so far protected the services sector in individual countries. For the hotel sector,
for example, GATS facilitates franchising, management contracts and licensing.
Moreover, foreign tourism companies will be entitled to the same benefits as local
companies in addition to being allowed to move staff across borders as they wish,
open branch offices in foreign countries, and make international payments without
restrictive regulations.
Foreign investment will also be increasingly deregulated under the GATT/WTO
system. According to the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures
(TRIMs), foreign companies will no longer be obliged to use local input. The
Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) proposed by Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries goes even further, calling for
unrestricted entry and establishment of foreign firms, national treatment, repatriation
of profits, technology transfer, etc.
Accordingly, the WTTC has recently presented its 'Millennium Vision' on travel and
tourism, including the following key areas:
Get governments to accept travel and tourism as a strategic economic development
and employment priority;
Move towards open and competitive markets by supporting the implementation of
GATS, liberalise air transport and deregulate telecommunications in international
Eliminate barriers to tourism growth, which involves the expansion and improvement
of infrastructure - e.g. the increase of airport capacity, construction and modernisation
of airports, roads and tourist facilities.
On a tour through South-East Asian countries in February 1998, WTTC president
Geoffrey Lipman also strongly supported the privatisation of state enterprises,
particularly airlines and airports. His visit in Thailand, for example, coincided with
the announcement of British Airways - a prominent member of the WTTC - that it
was interested in taking over 25% of Thai Airways International. And the British
Airport Authority promptly followed up by proposing to buy a major equity share in
the provincial airports of Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai, which are all located at
popular tourist spots. However, the selling out of state companies to foreigners has
been facing growing public opposition in Thailand so that privatisation is not
progressing as planned.
Meanwhile, even the voices of the tourism industry in Asia are urging a cautious
approach towards globalisation. Imtiaz Muqbil, a renowned tourism analyst based in
Bangkok, warned: 'The independence of thousands of small and medium size
enterprises, including hotels and tour operators, is at risk.' This is because most local
enterprises will hardly be able to compete with foreign companies. Moreover, Muqbil
suggested that as an outcome of globalisation, Asian countries may face 'the prospects
of huge growth in leakage of foreign exchange earnings.' In conclusion, he said, 'The
radical restructuring of travel and tourism ... could strike at the heart of national
It is already a well-established fact that in some developing countries, more than twothirds of the revenue from international tourism never reaches the local economy
because of the high foreign exchange leakages. Now, as the new free trade and
investment policies are being implemented, their balance sheets may even worsen
because the profits and other income repatriated by foreign companies is likely to
grow larger than the inflow of capital. That means, the claims that globalisation and
liberalisation of tourism will bring wealth, progress, social achievements and
improved environmental standards to developing countries need to be seriously
A recently published document by the UN Conference on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD) states that Asia-Pacific countries urgently need to bolster their bargaining
positions in the field of tourism services and negotiate better terms in exchange for
opening their markets. However, governments have barely had time to examine the
potential impacts of globalisation, and many local tourism-related companies are
already in financial trouble due to the economic crisis. So it is very unlikely that they
can strengthen their negotiating power. Even major Asian airlines can hardly survive
in this crisis-hit business environment; the recent temporary closure of Philippine
Airlines is an illustrative example.
Economic globalisation has also generated considerable criticism because it comes
along with the erosion of power of governments. Opponents argue that local and
national institutions will no longer be able to properly fulfil their responsibilities such
as providing social services, preserving the environment, and implementing
sustainable development programmes.
Indeed, the multilateral agreements facilitating globalisation have shown little, if any,
concern for social and ecological issues. On the environment front, the WTO has
discussed proposals to introduce 'environmental standards' and 'eco-labels' developed
by international setting bodies.
Critics say this move is likely to be dominated by TNC interests, which attempt to
appropriate the environmental agenda and push for self-regulation. Meanwhile,
existing national environmental policies and laws adopted by democratically elected
governments will be undermined.
The WTTC, for example, vows to 'promote sustainability in travel and tourism'
through its Green Globe programme, but - as its 'Millennium Vision' document states
- 'strongly believes that the environmental policy agenda should focus on (the
industry's) self-improvement, incentives, and light-handed regulation as the preferred
The increasing influence of private sector interests on international forums negotiating
the environmental agenda has reinforced concerns that genuine efforts to set up a
more stringent framework for the tourism industry may be jeopardised. In this context
it is important to note that the seventh session of the UN Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD) this year will include important discussions on the issues of
sustainable tourism.
So far, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution on 'Sustainable Tourism'
as part of its 'Programme for the further implementation of Agenda 21', the action
programme adopted at the Rio Earth Summit. This resolution acknowledges the need
to consider further the importance of tourism in the context of Agenda 21. Among
other things, it states: 'For sustainable patterns of consumption and production in the
tourism sector, it is essential to strengthen national policy development and enhance
capacity in the areas of physical planning, impact assessment, and the use of
economic and regulatory instruments, as well as in the areas of information, education
and marketing.' Furthermore, the resolution calls for participation of all concerned
parties in policy development and implementation of sustainable tourism
What is important to keep in mind is that this UN resolution stresses the need for a
democratic regulation of tourism development, which is in stark contradiction to the
lobbying efforts by the agents of tourism globalisation towards deregulation and an
industry-led and self-regulated scenario.
This conflict featured prominently at the fourth Conference of Parties to the UN
Convention on Biological Diversity (COP4) in Bratislava, Slovakia, last May, which
included discussions on the integration of biodiversity into sectoral activities such as
tourism. Many government delegates there resisted attempts by the German
government to get approval from the Ministerial Roundtable at COP4 for a
programme to develop global guidelines on biodiversity and sustainable tourism.
Observers noted that the increased promotion of interests of the powerful German
tourism industry at the UN level by the German government has been conspicuous
over recent years.
Official and NGO representatives were surprised by the insistence of the Germans to
work on global guidelines and to seek endorsement for this programme from the CSD.
The delegate from Samoa, for example, reiterated that sustainable tourism is a
complicated issue that will be dealt with by the CSD next year and complained: 'We
are not in favour of some of the top-down approaches we have seen here (at COP4).'
Other delegates expressed concern over the relevance, objectives and funding of the
proposed programme.
Significantly, critical observers warned that an ill-advised proposal on global
guidelines under the Convention could have devastating consequences for local and
indigenous communities - socially, culturally and ecologically. 'The tourism industry's
propensity towards unrestricted growth and its commoditisation of indigenous
cultures must be recognised as clearly unsustainable,' commented an NGO
representative during the Bratislava Conference.
Meanwhile, there are justifiable fears that under the new economic globalisation
schemes, sustainable and eco-tourism activities will even further enable TNCs to gain
commercial access to ecologically sensitive areas and biological resources and
accelerate the privatisation of biodiversity, all to the detriment of local communities'
land and resource rights and the natural environment. As the Austrian environment
minister told delegates at COP4, 'Sustainable tourism offers new market
Indeed, the debate on tourism principles and guidelines is a tricky one - not only
because it is heavily overshadowed by politics of global players. Another point of
concern is that guidelines and programmes, as discussed and adopted by advocates of
sustainable tourism at the international level, naturally remain very vague. Usually,
they are also overly euphemistic, with buzzwords abounding: e.g. empowerment of
local communities; local participation and control; equitable income distribution;
benefits to nature conservation and biodiversity protection; etc.
A tourism researcher from the University of British Columbia, Nick
Kontogeorgopoulos, suggested that attempts to implement tourism projects based on
such guidelines are bound to fail altogether because it is simply impossible to apply
them to highly disparate and heterogeneous destinations. He says, 'While these
altruistic principles are laudable in theory, the absence of place-specific context strips
them of empirical evidence.' In conclusion: Not the global game, but local
circumstances and conditions represent the essential determinant of success for
sustainable development.
In Asia, social and environmental activists argue that the inflationary tourism policies
in the context of globalisation have greatly contributed to the present economic crisis.
During the era of the so-called bubble economy, indiscriminate and unsustainable
investments led to the rapid conversion of lands into massive tourism complexes,
including luxury hotels, golf courses and casinos, and related infrastructure such as
airports, highways, and dams to generate electricity. With economic liberalisation, the
tourism, real estate and construction industries boomed, backed by local banks and
global speculative capital. An essay written by renowned tourism critic and media
activist Ing. K. reflects the anger of many Thais about the developments that have led
to the country's bankruptcy. She presents the hard facts as follows:
'Land speculation became a national pastime, permeating every beautiful village,
however remote. Land prices skyrocketed. Villagers sold agriculturally productive
land to speculators. Practically overnight, fertile land became construction sites. The
plague kept spreading; corruption got out of control. National parks and forest
reserves were encroached upon by golf courses and resorts ...
'Many instant millionaires were made, but much of this new rich money was not
wisely invested in productive ventures. Instead, most of it was spent on luxury
"dream" products and services, in pursuit of the consumer lifestyle.
'Many of these people were merely imitating tourists and were influenced by the
prevailing free-spending frenzy. Greed and consumerism devastated whole
communities all over Thailand, raising the temperature even higher, on every level of
'In the end, we have nothing to show for it but whole graveyards of unsold high-rise
condominiums, shophouses, golf course and resort developments and housing estates.'
Now, all discussions and work programmes relating to the implementation of global
and local Agendas 21 and sustainable development appear - more than ever - removed
from reality in view of the unfolding Asian crisis - a human disaster with millions of
unemployed and landless people falling below the poverty line. According to the
latest figures from UN agencies, more than 100 million people in the region are newly
impoverished. And there are growing fears that the machinations of unregulated
global speculative capital now threaten to ruin not only Asian economies but the rest
of the world as well.
A major question that needs to be addressed in this context: Where will all the money
come from for sustainable development and tourism projects? In Thailand, for
example, the World Bank and the Japanese OECF have agreed to provide loans to
improve and expand tourism as part of a social investment programme (SIP) aimed at
tackling the problems of unemployment and loss of income arising from the economic
crisis. It has been stressed that tourism development is crucial for the country's
economic recovery, and 'community participation' and 'sustainability' are mentioned
as major components in projects. But critics have warned that firstly, tourism is not a
quick commodity that can pull the country out of its economic pains. And secondly,
much of the borrowed money will be used for new developments in national parks
and biodiversity-rich areas in the drive to promote 'eco-tourism'.
Let me confront you with a provocative idea now. It is not the longstanding efforts by
the many experts promoting and working on the implementation of global and local
Agendas that bring us closer to sustainable tourism. Ironically, it is rather the current
all-embracing crisis which may eventually make tourism more sustainable - at least in
environmental terms. Why?
First of all, a basic problem of sustainable tourism has been the rapidly expanding
numbers of travellers. But as a result of the crisis, tourism growth has come to a
standstill. Due to currency devaluation, increasing unemployment, declining income
and deflation, Asian markets are collapsing. Even the numbers of Japanese going
abroad for holidays are now declining for the first time in 18 years. European and
American holidaymakers have also shunned South-East Asian countries because of
1997's smog disaster, caused by forest fires in Indonesia, and political turmoil in the
region - e.g. in Burma, Cambodia and - more recently - Indonesia.
As the economic contagion is spreading, the travel fever that had gripped Russia and
other East European countries after the fall of the Soviet Union is also on the wane, as
the Russian currency, the rouble, has plummeted dramatically and the economy
slumps. Moreover, amid the decline of business activities in Asia, stockmarket slumps
and fears of a global recession, nervous companies around the world are limiting
corporate travel spending. The WTTC, which had earlier in 1998 forecast growth
averaging 7% a year throughout 2008, now expects the global tourism market to
remain flat in the next years. This may be bad in terms of economics but,
unquestionably, the environment will benefit from stagnating or even decreasing
tourist numbers.
For instance, the air travel industry has been identified as one of the biggest
environmental villains in tourism. With fewer people travelling, however, the AsiaPacific aviation industry is now flying into a deep recession. Airlines are fighting for
survival by closing or cutting unprofitable routes, selling aircraft and cancelling
orders for new aircraft. Governments are forced to cut budgets for airport expansion
and construction. Ultimately, that means less pollution and less environmentally
damaging developments.
The real estate and construction industries, which are both inextricably linked to the
tourism industry, were the first industries that crash-landed when the Asian bubble
economy burst. As a result, many speculative and unsustainable hotel and resort
development projects have been abandoned, and new construction is down to a
trickle. An excellent example is golf, which became a symbol of globalised leisure
and tourist lifestyle in Asian tiger societies. But as the frenzy to build luxurious golf
course complexes - including hotels, housing estates and shopping centres - has
almost stopped completely, and middle-class people affected by the crisis are turning
away from the expensive sport of golf, environmentalists can be relieved: The malaise
of rampant land grabs, national park encroachments, deforestation, etc. related to golf
courses is no longer as threatening as it was a few years ago.
On the other hand, while many tourism-related companies may have scrapped or
postponed potentially harmful projects, one needs to acknowledge that because of the
financial crunch, public and private investments in environmental protection are also
being cut. Moreover, there have been warnings that the crisis has resulted in an
upsurge of crime, prostitution, drug abuse and other social vices related to tourism.
But most importantly, Asian societies are beginning to realise that the current global
economic capitalist system has utterly failed to bring achievements in all terms. Now
burdened with having to pay for the activities of unscrupulous speculators and
additionally suffering from free-market-oriented structural adjustment programmes
imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), people are losing faith in a
globalised economy. Some experts even go so far as to say that free trade and
investment liberalisation is 'yesterday's story'. Malaysia in particular has recently
taken decisive steps to shut itself off from global markets by strictly controlling
foreign capital flows.
Asian governments are now likely to move towards greater self-reliance as they are
pressured by people of all walks of life to look into economic strategies that are
chiefly based on domestic financial resources and the domestic market. This involves
the strengthening of the agricultural sector and local industries to protect people's
livelihoods in the first place. Forces still seeking to further prop up economically risky
service industries such as tourism are likely to be weakened.
Moreover, the crisis has also created considerable public debate about the impacts of
global culture and lifestyle, including the issues of consumerism and the wasteful and
unproductive use of resources. In several Asian countries - such as Korea, Thailand
and Malaysia - outbound tourism is now being discouraged as it is seen as
conspicuous consumption that has contributed to the negative balance of payments.
The issues of democracy and human rights are also gaining momentum in the region.
As never before, people are making use of their civil rights and call for transparency
and democratic procedures to phase out corruption and harmful government policies
and development plans. The growing opposition of Thai environmentalists and
villagers to the move of the government to open up protected areas for 'mass ecotourism' is just one example.
All in all, I believe, the current Asian crisis, which is likely to become a global crisis,
poses a fundamental challenge - and an important opportunity - to re-evaluate the
issues of globalisation, sustainable development and tourism. As Asian societies begin
to acknowledge that rapid economic growth under global regimes has devastating
effects on people's lives and the environment, we may find that a stringent regulation
of tourism, which involves a stricter limitation of tourist numbers and a halt to the
unlimited spatial expansion of tourism, is better than further promoting tourism
growth and hoping that this growth can be handled with 'good management',
education of tourists, etc. What the current crisis really appears to confirm is - what
many tourism critics have been saying all along - the global tourism industry just
cannot be propelled towards sustainability under the conventional economic and
political structures. That means, efforts to implement social and environmental
agendas and sustainable tourism are unlikely to progress unless profound structural
changes take place in the global system. (Third World Resurgence No. 103, March
Anita Pleumarom coordinates the Bangkok-based Tourism Investigation &
Monitoring Team (t.i.m.-team) and publishes New Frontiers - a bimonthly newsletter
on tourism, development and environment issues in the Mekong region - with support
from TWN.
Thailand is a country with a population of roughly 60 million people and a land size
of 513,115 square-kilometers, or the equivalent of France. Originally a tourist
destination for mainly adventurous backpackers traveling on a budget and in search of
untouched, pristine locations, the increasing ease and decreasing expense of travel,
combined with a growing public relations blitz to increase tourism to the country has
resulted in ever growing numbers of visitors annually. This has led to a concomitant
growth in the necessary accoutrements of the tourist industry such as lodging, eating
and entertainment facilities, luxury resorts and golf courses.
Tourism has become Thailand's leading source of foreign exchange, and thus plays an
unquestionably important role in the Thai economy. 5.3 million tourists visited the
country in 1990, a figure that is expected to double in the next four years. In 1989 the
industry generated 91 million baht or US$3.64 billion, and it is believed that figure
will reach 800 billion baht or US$32 billion by the year 2000. At the same
time,Thailand is suffering from many of the negative aspects of tourism, including
"prostitution, drug addiction, AIDS, erosion of traditional values, increases in the cost
of living, unequal income distribution, rapid increases in land prices in some
locations, pollution, and environmental degradation". From the destruction of coral
and marine life due to water activities such as boating and scuba diving, and waste
dumping by hotels and restaurants, as well as the uncontrolled building of tourist
facilities on islands such as Koh Samui, Koh Phang nan and Phuket, to the
deterioration of local culture in the hill tribes of the North, to the slavery of young
children and women in the prostitution industry that has led to the rampant spread of
AIDS, Thailand can be seen as fast approaching a crisis situation. The destruction that
has been wrought, particularly in the South, has led to growing demands for
environmental projects, plans and protection. Many of these programs, however, can
be seen as too little too late, and are in many cases overlooked for economic reasons.
Tourism in Thailand is seen as being concentrated in small, specific areas such as the
beaches of the South and the more mountainous region of the North. This has led to
very intense exploitation of the resources within these regions. Development within
these regions was neither carefully planned nor monitored, so that within ten years the
beautiful beaches and picturesque villages of the islands of Koh Samui and Phuket
have been overrun by concrete bungalows and hotels, video and 'girlie' bars, shooting
ranges and golf courses. The influx of what has been termed 'mass' tourism has caused
the more discerning tourist to look for more pristine, less developed spots, leading to
the spread of the Koh Samui syndrome to other islands. Koh Phi Phi, a national park,
has within a very short time begun to follow the same path as Samui, regardless of its
designation as a protected area. The island of Phuket has long been an upscale version
of Koh Samui, for tourists with a larger budget and for wealthy Thais on vacation.
The island is known for its fancy resorts and renowned yacht club and marina. Koh
Samui offers an example of the negative effects that have been and will be visited
upon the southern islands of Thailand due to tourism. Koh Samui is 250 square
kilometers, with an estimated 1.1 million tourists visiting every year by the end of the
century. The tourism boom to this island began at the end of the 1980s, and was aided
by the establishment of a daily ferry service, the construction of a small airport with
regular flights from Bangkok, extension of the road system, and the continued
construction of bungalows and hotels which now number over 220.
"Unfortunately, the very fragile coastal, marine and small island environment upon
which tourism has been built has come under increasing pressure as a result of the
largely uncontrolled, and hardly anticipated, tourism boom. The phenomenal amount
of construction work which has taken place over the last decade or so has, in the main,
proceeded unbridled by planning controls. Such building restrictions that exist have
been largely ignored, often quite willfully. As a result, the coastal landscape, so
important an element of the aesthetic environment, has in places been changed quite
The marine environment has suffered equally, from the destruction of coral by
anchors and scuba divers, as well as pollution from the motor boats and the
continuous dumping of untreated waste that is pumped into the sea by the resorts
along the shore. A Thai newspaper reported that the island cannot effectively cope
with 75% of the waste that is created each day. This 75% is "burned, buried or
dumped at sea". The island is increasingly suffering from water as well as power
shortages. A 1989 conservation plan undertaken by the Tourism Authority of
Thailand and the National Environment Board to improve public utilities and
environmental preservation measures through 63 development projects was
implemented in 1992. From personal experience however, the island had noticeably
deteriorated from 1992 to 1995. Chaweng beach, the main tourist destination, is no
longer a pretty sight. The main road, once relatively peaceful with long black
stretches of undeveloped land interspersed with local markets, a few restaurants, bars
and stores, is now alight with the glowing neon of 'girlie' bars, tattoo parlors, tourist
shops, a continuous selection of restaurants, some monstrous discotheques and the
constant honking and screeching of the endless number of taxi pickup trucks that will
take you anywhere along the strip for some $.30 US. The recommendation for
conservation areas on the islands of Koh Samui, Phuket and Koh Pha-ngan has yet to
be implemented. These three islands are becoming more and more overdeveloped,
pushing more tourists on to new, less developed islands such as Krabi Beach, Koh
Tao and Koh Phi Phi.
The overflow of tourists to the town of Pattaya, which received three million visitors
in 1989, led to a faecal contamination increase of 87% from 1977 to 1987. This
pushed the Thai government to suspend tourist development in nineteen national
parks, and to construct artificial coral reefs to counteract marine damage by tourists
and fishermen using explosives. On June 4 1992 the National Environmental Act was
passed, but was beyond the means of the country to implement in the way of domestic
skills and manpower. The environmental degradation taking place in relation to
tourism is credited to such possible explanations as lack of information and
technology, lack of skills by Thai planners in the field of 'recreation management',
lack of authority for proper implementation, lack of coordination among government
officials and departments, lack of long term thinking and planning and lack of
resources. Also inhibiting environmental protection are: the power of economic gain
over all other concerns, as well as corruption in government and the predominance of
outside ownership of tourist facilities, who do not have as vested an interest in the
long term condition of the location as they are more free to get up and move when the
tourists leave. Most tourism business owners are outsiders who emigrated to the
island after tourism boomed. Some local residents even pessimistically commented
that business owners do not realize the importance of environment conservation
because they just came to make profit. When the island is totally destroyed and cannot
give benefits to them anymore, they will leave.
Along with the environmental devastation wreaked by tourism, there is also the
economic effect upon poor Thais who in no way benefit - in fact suffer from the
growth of tourism. Many local fishermen and their families have been forcibly
removed from coastal areas to make room for new hotels and restaurants. Most of the
villagers on Koh Muk, an island near Haad Chao Mai national park in Trang province,
have been pushed back into the mangrove forests to make room for tourist lodgings.
The villagers never owned the land, but they never needed to, until land speculators
came with bills of sale from local land officials in the city. Once free to fish as they
chose, these villagers now face an unsure future.
As such a major source of revenue, the tourism industry is very important to Thailand.
The continued degradation of the environment, however, will in the long run cause
the tourists to choose other destinations that are more pristine, depriving Thailand of
valued tourist dollars. Thus, to promote tourism into the future, greater efforts must be
made to implement environmentally sustainable tourist policies and programs.
Another important issue related to tourism in Thailand is prostitution and the growth
of the sex trade to satisfy foreign travelers, many of whom come to Thailand on sex
tour package trips. This phenomena began in the 1960s mainly with American
soldiers stationed in Vietnam who came to Thailand for R&R vacations. In the early
1980s the number of Thai prostitutes was estimated at 1 million; there were 400,000
more women than men in Bangkok, the country's capital, and 89% of all tourists were
male. The World Health Organization estimated that between 45, 000 to 50, 000 Thais
had AIDS in 1989, and that possibly one out of every two prostitutes in the Northern
region was infected with the disease. The AIDS problem, as well as the prostitution
issue was left untouched for many years for fear of harming the tourism industry. The
growing recognition, however, of the long term effects of such a policy has led to
greater efforts to curb sex tourism and to initiate AIDS education and precautionary
measures such as distributing condoms and issuing health cards.
Forty-five million Americans are currently uninsured and health expenditures in the
United States are rising faster than wages and inflation. Despite spending more on
health care than any other industrialized nation, the United States in 2000 ranked 37th
in the World Health Organization's evaluation of health care systems around the
globe. Reforming domestic health care was a big issue in the US presidential
campaign, yet a growing number of Americans and insurance providers are turning to
international solutions.
About 750,000 Americans traveled overseas for medical treatment in 2007, and the
number of so-called medical tourists could increase to more than 15 million in 2017.
In previous decades, the medical tourism industry was dominated by cosmetic and
dental procedures. Today everything from knee replacements to major heart surgery
can be obtained in developing countries where internationally accredited health
centers provide high-quality treatment with lower costs and shorter waiting periods
than in the United States.
A heart-valve replacement priced at US$200,000 or more in an American hospital can
cost $10,000 in India, according to the University of Delaware, including airfare and a
post-operative vacation package. Average savings in Thailand are about 70%
compared with the United States, and between 50% and 75% in Latin America.
Thailand's Bumrungrad Hospital treated 400,000 international patients in 2007,
including 65,000 Americans. Thanks to an increase in foreign patients, the hospital's
total revenue for 2008 is predicted to rise to $618 million.
Overall the effects of medical tourism are mixed. On the one hand, the industry can
boost a developing country's gross domestic product and investment in health
facilities. Upgrades in a country's hospitals also tend to decrease external brain drain,
as top physicians find local jobs instead of leaving for employment in developed
A study by the Confederation of Indian Industry predicts that by 2012 the medical
tourism industry could add up to $2.3 billion to the country's annual GDP. The head
of India's Wockhardt hospitals, which cater to foreigners, reported two dozen Indian
doctors returning from the United States and Britain to work in his facilities.
In many cases, however, medical tourism threatens to exacerbate unequal access to
quality health care in developing countries. Although relatively cheap by most
Western standards, the private hospitals that treat foreigners are out of reach for the
majority of people, and the revenue they bring in rarely makes its way to the public
sector. According to a 2006 report by the World Health Organization, less than 4% of
India's total government spending in recent years has gone toward health.
External brain drain is often replaced by internal brain drain, as doctors leave public
health care centers to work in private hospitals. Last year NPR reported on a shortage
of Thai doctors in the capital's public hospital because of the higher pay offered at
Some doctors, however, split their time between public and private facilities to
balance serving the public sector with earning enough income to support their
families. An editorial in Thai English-language newspaper The Nation cites the
promotion of medical tourism as a factor in the country's failure to meet its goal of
providing one doctor per 1,800 citizens.
The situation in Cuba has been described as "medical apartheid". Top quality
treatment that is available to foreigners and to the Cuban elite is off limits to most of
the country's population who can't afford to pay for health care in dollars. Based on
interviews with Cuban citizens, Canada's National Post reported that access to basic
pharmaceuticals was severely limited, either priced in dollars or restricted to the black
Some countries are responding to this public health dilemma. Private hospitals in the
Philippines have been asked to accommodate more local charity patients. India's
Health Secretary Naresh Dayal has suggested that private hospitals should provide
medical treatment to poor patients free of charge as revenues increase. Others have
proposed that India tax the currently subsidized private hospitals to support public
health initiatives.
So far, a set of best practices on balancing medical tourism with improvements in
public health has yet to make its way into international agreements or hospital
accreditation processes.
Nonetheless, the major cost savings associated with medical tourism are attracting
more patients and health insurance companies than ever before. Blue Cross & Blue
Shield of South Carolina now facilitates travel from the United States to Thailand and
other international hospitals through its Companion Global Healthcare subsidiary.
Legislation was introduced in West Virginia that would provide incentives to state
employees who go abroad for medical treatment. According to Business Week, more
and more insurers will be offering overseas options to their policyholders in the next
five to 10 years.
Medical tourism is not an alternative to significant reform of the US health care
industry. Aside from the negative effects on public health overseas - plus the
environmental impact of long-distance air travel linked to the industry - medical
tourism is not predicted to reduce the country's health spending by more than 1% to
2%. The overseas options will cost health care providers in the United States roughly
$16 billion in 2008, according to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions - a figure
that may jump to $373 billion or more within a decade.
India is the land of innumerable Gods and Goddesses, languages, religions and
traditions but still in this diversity one can find a unity. India is a country with a
diverse topography-from the great Himalayan mountains in the north, the Thar desert
in the west, the rain-fed Delta (the Sunder bans) in east and the coastal areas in the
south. India has a panorama of scenes, which reflects the spectrum of Indian colours.
According to Ministry of Tourism, the first ten months (January-October) of the
calendar year 2006 witnessed a total tourist inflow of 34,102,72 as against 30,153,62
in the same period of the last year. The total foreign exchange earnings earned in the
first ten months (January-October) of the calendar year 2006 stood at US$ 5035.25
million against US$ 4466.03 million for the same period in 2005. Further, according
to the World Travel and Tourism Council, India's travel and tourism (T&T) industry
is expected to contribute 2.1 percent to Gross Domestic Product in 2006(INR 713.8
billion or US$ 16.3 billion).
Role of Tourism Industry in India GDP has been quite alarming since the past few
Tourism industry has contributed enormously in the flourishing graph of India's
economy by attracting a huge number of both foreign and domestic tourists traveling
for professional as well as holiday purpose.
The tourism industry in India witnessed a stupendous growth in 2006. The growth in
the inflows in India's tourism industry is calculated both in terms of business and
The number of foreign tourists arriving from all over the world rose from 0.37 percent
to 0.53 percent as has been stated by UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in
the year 2006. This remarkable growth in the graph of tourism industry in India
popularized the entire South Asia as one of the most spectacular tourist terminal.
Indian tourism industry contributes to around 5.9 percent of the country's GDP and it
provides employment to around 41.8 million of inhabitants.
Tour Operators
Many tour operators are running their business in India. Starting from small to MNCs
every firm is in the operation to earn their profit from the most promising business i.e.
tourism. Some names are :, India’s leading online travel company was founded in the year
2000 by Deep Kalra. Created to empower the Indian traveller with instant booking
and comprehensive choices, the company began its journey in the US-India travel
market. It aimed to offer a range of best-value products and services along with
cutting-edge technology and dedicated round-the-clock customer support.
After consolidating its position in the market as a brand recognised for its reliability
and transparency, MakeMyTrip followed its success in the US by launching its India
operations in 2005.
With the foresight to seize the opportunities in the domestic travel market, brought on
by a slew of new airlines, MakeMyTrip offered travellers the convenience of online
travel bookings at rock-bottom prices. Rapidly, MakeMyTrip became the preferred
choice of millions of travellers who were delighted to be empowered by a few mouse
MakeMyTrip’s rise has been lead by the vision and the spirit of each one of its
employees, for whom no idea was too big and no problem too difficult. With untiring
innovation and determination, MakeMyTrip proactively began to diversify its product
offering, adding a variety of online and offline products and services. MakeMyTrip
also stayed ahead of the curve by continually evolving its technology to meet the ever
changing demands of the rapidly developing global travel market.
Steadily establishing itself across India and the world, MakeMyTrip simultaneously
nurtured the growth of its offline businesses like its franchises and affiliates
simultaneously, augmenting the brand’s already strong retail presence further.
Today, MakeMyTrip is much more than just a travel portal or a famous pioneering
brand - it is a one-stop-travel-shop that offers the broadest selection of travel products
and services in India. MakeMyTrip is the undisputed online leader, with its share of
the travel market extending to more than 50% of all online sales, a fact evinced by the
trust placed in it by millions of happy customers.
Remaining reliable, efficient and at the forefront of technology, MakeMyTrip’s
commitment and customer-centricity allows it to better understand and provide for its
customers’ diverse needs and wants, and deliver consistently. With dedicated 24x7
customer support and offices in 20 cities across India and 2 international offices in
New York and San Francisco (in addition to several franchise locations),
MakeMyTrip is there for you, whenever and wherever.
Presently, the company is on track to achieve sales of INR 2500 crores
(approximately US$ 500 million) in the financial year ending March 2010, making it
India’s largest travel company.
MakeMyTrip’s Products:
* International and Domestic Air Tickets, Holiday Packages and Hotels
* Domestic Bus and Rail Tickets
* Private Car and Taxi Rentals
* MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions)
* B2B and Affiliate Services
Cox and Kings India Ltd.
Cox & Kings (India) Ltd.,(CKIL), is the longest established travel company in the
world since 1758 and in December 2009 successfully listed on the stock exchange in
India. Its distinguished history began when it was appointed as general agents to the
regiment of Foot Guards in India under the com mand of Lord Ligonier and
handled the Royal Cavalry, Artillery and Infantry, Royal Wagon Train, the
Household Brigade, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force came under its wings.
Today, it is a premium brand in all travel related services, employing over 1,400
professionals and headquartered in India.
The company is networked through a mix of branch sales offices, franchised sales
shops, General Sales Agents (GSAs), and Preferred Sales Agents (PSAs). The
company has 14 branch sales offices located in Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai,
Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Pune, Nagpur and
Goa. The company has appointed 79 franchisees across 20 states covering 70 cities.
The company’s extensive network of 185 GSAs and PSAs covering all major
towns and cities of India enhances its reach.
It has subsidiaries in UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, US, UAE and Singapore
and operates from Moscow (Russia), Maldives and Tahiti through branch offices
and Spain, Sweden, Germany, Italy, France, South America and South Africa
through representative offices.
The company owns Tempo Holidays Australia, East India Travel Company in North
America, ETN in the UK and Quoprro Global Services Pvt Ltd,(visa processing).
In December 2009 it also acquired MyPlanet Australia Pty Ltd and Bentours
International Pty Ltd in Australia.
The business can be broadly categorised as Leisure Travel, Corporate Travel, MICE,
Trade Fairs, Visa Processing and foreign exchange. Over the last two years the
company has won many awards. In January 2010 it was awarded the Most Admired
Tour Operator by SATTE. Cox and Kings has also been awarded First Runner up in
the Best Large Tour Operator category awarded by the Telegraph Ultra Travel
luxury survey UK 2010 and First Runner Up in the Favourite Tour Operator
category awarded by Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards (2010). In 2009,
it won the Best Domestic Tour Operator, Most Innovative Travel Company and the
Best Inbound Tour Operator award at the TAFI TravelBiz Monitor Awards. It won
the Today’s Traveller Platinum Award for the most innovative travel company
and it also won the Economic Times Award for the Best Outbound Tour Operator in
India. In 2008, Mr. Ajay Ajit Peter Kerkar, Global CEO, Cox and Kings was
honoured with the WTM Global Award 2008 for his remarkable contribution to
the travel and tourism industry by the World Travel Market (WTM).
CKIL is one of the founding members of the World Travel and Tourism Council
(WTTC), and are members of premier industry associations namely the Travel
Agents Federation of India (TAFI), the Travel Agents Association of India
(TAAI), Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), and the Pacific Asia
Travel Association (PATA).
Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook Group plc is one of the world's leading leisure travel groups with sales
of £9.3 billion and 22.1 million customers. We operate under five geographic
segments in 21 countries, and are number one or number two in our core markets. Our
business is supported by 31,000 employees, a fleet of 95 aircraft and a network of
over 3,400 owned and franchised travel stores.
Employment Opportunities
The travel and tourism industry (about US$3800 billion per year) is nearly 7 times the
size of the Information Technology industry (about US$560 billion per year).
However we do not give it seven times the importance that we do to I.T.!
If we did, we would be earning more than US$70 billion per year from this sector
during 2003 -2004. India’s market share is only 0.38% of the total world tourism
industry; there is no reason why this cannot be expanded to ten times the present
Employment opportunities
India is a Tourist’s Paradise as far as our 10,000 year old Heritage, History and
Cultures are concerned. We only get 3.0 million tourists per year, the same as the city
countries of Dubai, Singapore and some small cities of Europe and North & South
America. Even small countries, like Malaysia and Thailand get nearly 10 million
tourists per year. China gets nearly 47 million tourists per year. One tourist results in
the employment generation of nearly 2 to 4 jobs!
There are hundreds of vocations connected for the requirement of tourist related
activities, starting from the travel industry, transport companies, airlines, road
transport, hotel and hospitality, tourist guides, shopping and leisure activities,
language guides, etc.
Tourism has emerged as an instrument for employment generation, poverty
alleviation and sustainable human development. During 2003-2004, direct
employment in the tourism sector was estimated to be 21.54 million. Tourism also
promotes national integration and international understanding and gives support to
local handicrafts and cultural activities.
Tourism with its wide range of constituent sub sectors is now world's largest industry.
The dramatic growth of tourism over the last twenty five years is one of the most
remarkable economic and social phenomena of the period.
Tourism activity has long lasting socio-economic impacts on the host economy and
community. The employment impact of tourism goes beyond employment in sectors
in which tourists directly spend their money, such as hotels, restaurants and airlines.
The establishments which receive tourists also buy goods and services from other
sectors that generate employment in those sectors through multiplier effect.
In India, there has been 220.1 million domestic tourist visits in the year 2000 that
increased to 234.8 million in the year 2001 and 273.3 million in 2002. In the year
2003, 2.75 million tourists visited the country.
Conservative estimates of tourism related employment (base year 2002) by our
professionals reveal that tourism generates about 7.5 million full time job equivalents
in India. It translates to about 11 million actual jobs.
Our professionals discussed with various stakeholders in the local tourism markets.
Such discussions brought out various constraints faced by tourism industry at various
tourist destinations in the country. Major constraints are poor quality of infrastructure,
malpractices by operators, manpower not being qualified resulting in poor quality of
service, absence of a diversified value bundle as a product offer to the tourists, proper
marketing and promotion, air connectivity and concerns related with carrying capacity
and environment.
The emerged picture of tourism potential and related employment coupled with the
identification of gaps in planning, provision, positioning and marketing of tourism
point towards the requisite interventions at macro as well as micro level. Macro
interventions are related with macro economic policy framework in which tourism
industry operates in the country. On the other hand, micro interventions are related
with spatial planning, efficient provision and marketing of tourist destinations.
Above observations coupled with timely and efficient implementation of programs
and plans outlined in the tourism policies of respective States can catalyze the growth
of tourism industry in the country resulting in creation of more tourism related jobs.
Besides above, some additional measures are required to improve the air and surface
connectivity of all these destinations. Further, the issues related with environment and
fragility of eco-systems needs special attention.
Special attention is also required for increasing the employment of women in the
tourism industry. Employers should set up programs and schemes encouraging
women to move into non-traditional occupations, invest in women's training, appoint
them in managerial positions, and re-appoint them after years of diminished
involvement due to family responsibilities.
To sum up, Indian tourism has vast potential for generating employment and earning
large sums of foreign exchange besides giving a fillip to the country's overall
economic and social development. Much has been achieved by way of increasing air
seat capacity, increasing trains and railway connectivity to important tourist
destinations, four-laning of roads connecting important tourist centers and increasing
availability of accommodation by adding heritage hotels to the hotel industry and
encouraging paying guest accommodations. But much more remains to be done. Since
tourism is a multi-dimensional activity, and basically a service industry, it would be
necessary that all wings of the Central and State governments, private sector and
voluntary organizations become active partners in the endeavor to attain sustainable
growth in tourism if India is to become a world player in the tourist industry
Tourism in India has grown substantially over the last three decades. Foreign tourist
arrivals in India recorded an increase of 13.2 per cent during the year 2005 as
compared to the year 2004. India's share in the world tourism market during the year
2005 was 0.49 per cent, as against 0.44 per cent in 2004. Foreign exchange earnings
during the year 2005 were Rs. 25,172 crores as against Rs. 21,828 crores in 2004.
Domestic tourism plays a vital role in achieving the national objectives of promoting
social and cultural cohesion and national integration. Its contribution to generation of
employment is very high. With the increase in income levels and emergence of a
powerful middle class, the potential for domestic tourism has grown substantially
during the last few years. During the year 2004, about 366 million domestic tourist
visits were made and for the year 2005 it was estimated at 382 million visits.
The organisations involved in the development of tourism at the Centre are Ministry
of Tourism, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, National Council for
Hotel Management and Catering Technology, India Tourism Development
Corporation Limited, Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering and National
Institute of Water Sports.
The Ministry of Tourism is responsible for formulation and implementation of
policies and programmes for the development of tourism within the country and for
attracting foreign tourists to India by way of developing tourism infrastructure,
publicity and promotion, dissemination of information, co-ordination and supervision
of activities of various segments of industry such as hotels, travel agencies, tour
operators, etc.
There are 20 field offices of the Ministry of Tourism in India and 13 in other countries
to undertake both developmental and promotional activities. While the overseas
offices are in constant contact with tourists, travel intermediaries and media to
promote tourism in India, the field offices in India provide facilitation services to
tourists and co-ordinate with the State Governments on tourism infrastructural
development. The main objectives of the overseas tourist offices are to position India
in the tourism generating markets as a preferred tourism destination, to promote
various Indian tourism products vis-a-vis competition faced from various destinations
and to increase India's share of the global tourism market. These objectives are met
through an integrated marketing strategy and synergised promotional activities
undertaken in association with the Travel Trade and State Governments.
India Tourism Development Corporation Development Limited
India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) came into existence in October 1966
with the objective of developing and expanding tourism infrastructure in the country
and thereby promoting India as a tourist destination. Working on the philosophy of
public sector, ITDC succeeded in achieving its objectives by promoting the largest
hotel chain in India and providing all tourist services, i.e. accommodation, catering,
transport, in-house travel agency, duty free shopping, entertainment, publicity,
consultancy, etc., under a single window. It also offers consultancy services from
concept to commissioning in the tourism field both for private as well as public
In pursuance of the disinvestment policy of the Government, 18 hotels have been
disinvested. Keeping in view the changed scenario, the Corporation has suitably been
restructured so that it continues to fulfill its original mandate for tourism development
in the country. Besides consolidating and expanding its existing business areas, ITDC
has made diversification into new avenues/innovative services like full-fledged
money changer services and Western Union Money Transfer, Training Consultancy in
hospitality sector, event management and consultancy and execution of tourism and
engineering projects.
India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) came into existence in October 1966
with the objective of developing and expanding tourism infrastructure in the country
and thereby promoting India as a tourist destination. Working on the philosophy of
public sector, ITDC succeeded in achieving its objectives by promoting the largest
hotel chain in India and providing all tourist services, i.e. Accommodation, Catering,
Transport, in-house Travel Agency, Duty Free Shopping, Entertainment, Publicity,
Consultancy, etc., under a single window. It also offers consultancy services from
concept to commissioning in the tourism field both for private as well as public
In pursuance of the disinvestment policy of the Government, 18 hotels have been
disinvested. Keeping in view the changed scenario, the Corporation has suitably been
restructured so that it continues to fulfill its original mandate for tourism development
in the country. Besides consolidating and expanding its existing business areas, ITDC
has made diversification into new avenues/innovative services like full-fledged
Money Changer Services and Western Union Money Transfer, Training Consultancy
in hospitality sector, event management and consultancy and execution of tourism and
engineering projects.
ITDC has been a pioneering tourism organisation which provides all the tourist
services/facilities under one roof. ITDC's present network consists of 8 Ashok Group
Hotels, 7 Joint Venture Hotels including one under construction, two Restaurants
(including one Airport Restaurant), 13 Transport Units, 1 Tourist Service Station, 37
Duty Free Shops at International as well as Domestic Custom Airports, 1 Tax Free
outlet, 1 Sound & Light Show and 4 Catering Outlets. Besides, ITDC is also
managing a Hotel at Bharatpur and a Tourist Complex at Kosi and a SEL show at
Sabarmati, Ahmedabad owned by the Department of Tourism.
The Ashok International Trade Division of ITDC offers world class duty free
shopping facilities to international travellers at its 38 outlets, earning crucial foreign
exchange for the country and showcasing Indian products to the world.
The Ashok Travels and Tours (ATT) handles work relating to Domestic/International
ticketing, hotel booking and tour packages, car and coach rentals, money changing
services, money transfer services, overseas insurance and organizing exhibitions.
The Ashok Reservation and Marketing Services (ARMS) Division of ITDC, which is
mainly responsible for marketing of Ashok Group of Hotels, participated in
national/international events like ITB Berlin to ensure direct interaction with Foreign
Tour Operators to promote various services of ITDC.
The Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management (AIH&TM) of ITDC has
been associated with the pioneering efforts in human resource development for more
than three decades. Awarded the ISO-9001-2000 Certification, the institute conducts
18 months Craft/Certificate courses in the field of Culinary Skill Development,
besides providing training to management trainees/apprentices and organising
Executive Development programmes for the officials of ITDC. Under an MOU signed
with the prestigious Kurukshetra University, the AIH&TM started 4-year Bachelor's
Degree Course in International Hospitality Business Management from August 2004.
The Ministry of Tourism has accorded high priority to the development of manpower
to meet the growing needs of Hotels, Restaurants and other Hospitality-based
Industries. For this purpose, 21 Institutes of Hotel Management and Catering
Technology and 10 Food Craft Institutes (3 of these are now also State IHMS) have
been set up in the country. In addition to the above, four more Institutes of Hotel
Management are in the pipeline at Uttarakhand (Dehradun), Jharkhand (Jamshedpur),
Chhattisgarh (Raipur) and Haryana (Kurukshetra). These Institutes conduct Degree
courses in the field of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied
Nutrition and Craft Courses in Food and Beverage Services, Accommodation
Operations, Dietetics and Hospital Food Service, Food Production and Patisserie,
House Keeping, Front Office, etc. IHM's Mumbai, Bangalore and Pusa (New Delhi)
have started 2 Years M.Sc Hospitality courses also. Food Craft Institutes conduct
Craft Courses for duration ranging from six months to one year for operational staff.
All these training Institutes are affiliated to the National Council for Hotel
Management Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition (NCHMCT) at apex level
which regulates academics for all these Institutes.
In the year 2002, the Ministry launched a programme called CBSP to train the persons
engaged in small hotels, dhabas, eating joints, restaurants, etc., and also handling
tourists like Immigration staff, airport staff, security/Police personnel, guides, taxi
operators, bus drivers, etc. The objective was to provide short term training to
improve their etiquette, behaviour and attitude towards tourists.
The scope of this scheme has been further enlarged and the training programmes of
3/6 months duration have been added for skill development of existing as well as
fresh service providers. Under this scheme, a new programme called 'Project
Priyadarshini' was also launched in 2005 aimed at imparting training to women in taxi
driving/operation, entrepreneurship like setting up souvenir kiosks, etc, to adopt
tourism as their profession.
The hotel sector forms one of the most important segments of the tourism industry
with high potential for employment generation and foreign exchange earnings. To
give impetus to this sector, the government provides concessions under EXIM Policy
and other incentives. The Industrial Policy has now placed hotels and tourism related
activities as a priority industry. Foreign investment and collaborations are now
facilitated under the new economic policy. Automatic approval is available for foreign
direct investment upto 100 per cent in Hotel and Tourism sector.
The Department of Tourism has a scheme of approving Travel Agents, Tour
Operators, Adventure Tour Operators and Tourist Transport Operators. During 2005,
keeping in view the spurt in Domestic Tourism, a new category for the recognition of
Domestic Tour Operators has been introduced. The aims and objectives of this
scheme are to encourage quality, standard and service in these categories so as to
promote tourism in India. The Travel Trade Division also interacts with the travel
trade associations like Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Indian Association
of Tour Operators (IATO), Indian Tourist Transport Operators Associations (ITTA),
etc., and other agencies like India Convention Promotion Bureau, Pacific Asia Travel
Association (PATA), etc.
The Travel Trade Division also deals with all matters pertaining to the regulation and
training of tourist guides at Regional level and also co-ordinates with other Ministries
such as Civil Aviation, Culture, Railways, Surface Transport, External Affairs and
Home Affairs on various issues to improve the facilities for the tourists visiting
various destinations in India.
A number of events and road shows have been organised during 2005-06 for
spreading awareness about India Tourism in domestic and international tourism
market to attract more tourists to India. The major events organised by the Ministry in
collaboration with various State Tourism Departments are: Golf open tournament,
Srinagar; Sindhu Darshan at Leh; Heritage Festival, New Delhi; All India Crafts
Mela, Hyderabad; Heritage International Festival, Jaipur; India International Boat
Show, Kochi; Paragliding Show and Tourism Conclave in Himachal Pradesh; Mega
Folk Festival "Virasat" in Dehradun; Prithivi 05-Global Eco-Meet, Kochi; Domestic
and International Photo Exhibition "A Confluence of Cultures" and Essay and
Photographic competition on "What Tourism Means To Me" on World Tourism Day
on 27 September (every year); India National Tourism Day on 17 March 2006;
Designer's Night Bazar, Surajkund Crafts Mela, Haryana; 3 Global Interline Golf
Championship, Photo Exhibition, Eco-Tourism Marketing Meet; Mussorie
(Uttarakhand), WTTC, Himalayan Run and Trek and Photo Exhibition on Hindu,
Buddhist and Islamic monuments of Kashmir.
The Ministry of Tourism also participated in various travel and tourism events, trade
fairs and exhibitions in India and abroad. The important fairs and exhibitions are
Tourism Travel Fair in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangaluru, Chennai and SATTE (South
Asia Tourism and Travel Expo), New Delhi. India Tourism offices located in 20 cities
in India also participated at local important fairs. The Ministry of Tourism
participated in several overseas travel and tourism trade fairs, notably World Travel
Market, London; ITB (International Tourism Bourse), Berlin; Arabian Travel Market
(ATM), Dubai; EIBTM, Spain; IMEX, Frankfurt; Pata Travel Mart, Malaysia;
FITUR, Spain; and World Travel Fair, Shanghai. India Tourism offices located in 13
overseas cities also participated in various travel and tourism fairs.
Tourism in 10th Five Year Plan
In order to further accelerate the development of tourism in the country, the thrusts
during the 10th Five Year Plan has been to:
1. Position tourism as a major engine of economic growth
2. Harness the direct and multiplier effects of tourism for employment generation
and economic development
3. Provide impetus to rural touris
4. Provide a major thrust to domestic tourism which will act as a spring board for
growth and expansion of international tourism
5. Position India as a global brand to take advantage of the burgeoning global
travel and trade and the vast untapped potential of India as a destination
6. Acknowledge the critical role of private sector with government working as an
active facilitator and catalyst
7. Create and develop integrated tourism circuits based on India's unique
civilisation, heritage and culture in partnership with states, private sector and
other agencies
8. Ensure that the tourist to India gets physically invigorated, mentally
rejuvenated, culturally enriched, spiritually elevated and "feels India within
Foreign Exchange Earner
Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) from tourism in Indian Rupees In July 2008 the
recorded FEE were Rs 3870 crore where as in July 2009 FEE were Rs 4983 crore. In
January - July 2008 the recorded FEE were Rs 29695 crore where as in January - July
2009 were Rs 29676 crore. The tourism department of India is in process to maintain
data and facts to analyse the traffic from overseas and the earnings from their side.
The basis of data received from major airports and major tourists destinations of
country. Foreign Tourist Arrivals in July 2008 were 4.29 lakh where as in July 2009 it
was 4.32 lakh. This shows advancement in growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals in
India. As per the recorded data Foreign Tourist Arrivals during January - July 2008
were 28.99 lakh where as in January - July 2009 it shows growth where figures
reaches to 31.49 lakh. This results in improvement in growth rate of FTAs, in July
2009 it reaches to 0.6 per cent where as in July 2008 it was recorded as 0.2 per cent.
India will double its foreign exchange earnings from tourism in the next three years
and make it the number one foreign exchange earner, Tourism Minister Renuka
Chowdhury said. “We earned $4.8 billion in foreign exchange from tourism in 2004
and we expect it to cross $10 billion in the next three years,” she said. Chowdhury
said “India, today, is a transformed tourist destination, competing to give the best, in
fact the ‘incredible. India to double foreign exchange from tourism India will double
its foreign exchange earnings from tourism in the next three years and make it the
number one foreign exchange earner, Tourism Minister Renuka Chowdhury said. "We
earned $4.8 billion in foreign exchange from tourism in 2004 and we expect it to cross
$10 billion in the next three years," she said. Chowdhury said "India, today, is a
transformed tourist destination, competing to give the best, in fact the 'incredible."
The unprecedented growth and successful campaigns have resulted in the National
Geographical Traveler calling India "The Land of Mystery and Majesty," she said.
Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing industries of the world. Tourism
plays a crucial role in the economic development of a country. It is a big foreign
exchange earner. India is a country that offers
different types of cultural attractions and climatic conditions for all kinds of tourists
throughout the year. India has all what tourists look for-sea, surf, sand and sunshine. It
also has a number of beautiful backwaters and hill stations. Tourism is the second
largest net foreign exchange earner for the country by the way of invisible exports.
Tourism creates more jobs than any other sector for every rupee invested. Keeping
this in view, it has been granted the status of an industry. It employs a large number of
people, both skilled and unskilled, promotes national integration and international
understanding and generates foreign exchange. The industry employs a large number
of women, literate and semi-literate, in hotels, travel agencies, airlines and cultural
activities. Tourism promotes the traditional handicrafts sector and provides the tourist
with an insight into the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India.
India has inspired people from all over the world. The Aryans came to India in 2000
BC from the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia and settled here. The co-existence of
the Aryans with the local inhabitants led to the evolution of a new culture which came
to be known as Hinduism. The Muslim invasion and later, the Muslim rule had a great
influence on the population of India. Around a quarter of the total population is said to
have converted to Islam. Buddhism and Jainism and later, Sikhism evolved in India.
India emerged as a composite cultural society, where world religions like Christianity,
Buddhism, Islam, Zoroastrianism and Judaism co-existed with Hinduism, Jainism and
The Indian tourism sector is the fastest growing at eight per cent, noted union tourism
minister Kumari Selja who inaugurated on Saturday in the city the inter-state regional
conference of Tourism Ministers of southern States/Union Territory administrations.
The recently introduced visa on arrival scheme for Singapore, Finland, New Zealand,
Luxemburg and Japan will also boost inbound tourism, noted Selja at the inaugural of
the conference to discuss among others rationalization of luxury tax, inter-state
seamless travel, tourists safety and skill training in the hospitality sector. Karnataka
chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, his cabinet colleague and tourism minister G.
Janardhan Reddy and senior officials and ministers from the southern states were
December was upbeat: It was India shining with December 2009 foreign tourist
arrivals 21 per cent higher than it was for the same month in 2008. That is, December
2009 showed 6.46 lakh foreigners visiting India. India earned foreign exchange of Rs
54,960 crore in 2009 in increase of 8.3 per cent over the previous year. A little over
five million foreigners visited last year, a dip of 3.3 per cent over the previous year.
Apart from having a diverse religious heritage, India also have diverse physical
features which people have been enamored of. From the majestic snow-clad
Himalayas in the north to the sun-kissed beaches in the south,
the diverse geographical locales offer a treat to the eyes. The locales are interspersed
with monuments, places of religious interest, museums, sanctuaries, palaces, forts and
mausoleums. Every region is also identified with its handicrafts, fairs, folk dances,
music and its people. India has emerged as an amalgamation of the diversities of the
western and the eastern cultures, the former because of its colonial past. India offers a
perfect paradise with its diversities to attract tourists. This inspired French novelist
and dramatist Romaine Rolland to remark, "If there is one place on the face of earth,
where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days,
when man began the dream of existence, it is India."
Seeing the immense potential of India, the Department of Tourism was formed to
promote international and domestic tourism in the country. In addition, the Indian
Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, the National Council for Hotel
Management and Catering Technology and the India Tourism Development
Corporation (CITDC) were constituted. To promote tourism at the state level, each
state and union territory has its own department of tourism. The Department of
Tourism is assigned the task of providing infrastructure, carrying out publicity
campaigns and disseminating information aimed at promotion of tourist sites in the
world market. Further, it formulates policies and programs and works in coordination
with the other departments of the industry, like hotels, tour operators and travel
agencies. With its offices in India and abroad, the Department promotes Indian
tourism to facilitate tourist inflow into the country. The Indian Institute of Tourism
and Travel Management has been constituted to provide professionally trained
personnel to the industry.
In order to consider and recommend measures necessary for promotion of tourist
traffic in India, both domestic and foreign, a Tourism Advisory Board has been
constituted. The Board reviews the tourist trends and
suggests appropriate measures. The National Council for Hotel Management and
Catering Technology prepares professionally trained personnel for the hotel industry.
The hotel industry generates high income opportunities and foreign exchange. To
boost the hotel industry, the Government offers certain tax benefits and other
incentives. The tourists get to experience the exotic lifestyles of the kings and the elite
in the heritage hotels. This has been made possible by converting palaces and castles
into functional hotels. Such hotels are extremely popular with the tourists because
they reflect the rich lifestyle and ambience of a bygone era which they eagerly look
forward to. The ITDC, which was established in 1966, is responsible for the
construction, management and marketing of hotels, restaurants and lodges for tourists.
It looks into the publicity campaigns. It provides transport facilities, organizes
entertainment programs like folk dances and songs and manages shopping facilities
including duty-free shops.
The State Department of Tourism in Goa has set up National Institute of Water Sports
(NIWS) which promotes water sports like sailing, rafting and scuba diving. The
Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering (IISM) in Kashmir offers the pleasure of
winter sports like skiing and mountaineering to both domestic and foreign tourists.
Kerala introduced the concept of houseboats in its lagoons. Himachal Pradesh has
developed winter sports in the state.
Even though the country has vast potential in this sector, India's share in the world
tourist market during 2001 was 0.37% only. As a result of tourist promotion without
adequate planning, the rich cultural heritage and the beautiful locales of India have
become sullied. Traffic congestion, unplanned urbanization, callousness of the civic
authorities and indifference of the citizens has caused severe harm to the tourism
It has been noticed that authentic information about the tourist destinations is not
available to the foreign tourists. Every year newspapers report various incidents, in
which foreign tourists are beguiled by taxi-drivers and tout who pretend to be friendly
with them. The Government-owned tourism department is manned by unconcerned
officials, who are not motivated to influence and encourage tourism.
In India, most of the tourist destinations have become ecologically fragile. The
effluents emitted by the Mathura Refinery have led to the fading of color of the Taj
Mahal at Agra. Sun-kissed beaches have now become the dumping grounds of trash
and waste, left by the tourists. To promote tourism through sports like golf, large
areas under forest cover have been cleared. Hill stations become the most popular
destinations in the summer months. But unplanned urbanization and large-scale
felling of trees have led to the degradation of the regions. Virgin lands have been
taken over by estate developers and converted into hotels and resorts for commercial
uses. Garbage and filth also mar the beauty of the lands.
The ITDC has failed in its endeavor to promote tourism. The five-star hotels owned
by ITDC are ill-managed and run into huge losses. Government-run hotels lack
facilities, are managed by incompetent staff and are found
to be more expensive than private ones. These hotels entertain politicians and
bureaucrats thus incurring losses. They do not provide required information to the
tourists who could aid their travel plan and this leads to their exploitation at the hands
of touts and others. In hotels, the foreign tourists are expected to pay tips to the
attendants. While they travel, they are accosted by beggars and local vendors, waiting
to palm off their goods at exorbitant rates.
The growing violence in the international scene and increasing threat of terrorism
affects the flow of tourists. The Indian tourism was adversely affected following the
terrorist attacks in USA on 11 September 2001, registering a decline of 4.2% in the
year 2001 against growth of 6.7% achieved in 2000. Terrorist's activities and other
violent acts in India had enormous detrimental effects on tourism. However, things
have started looking bright for the Indian tourism industry especially in 2003.
To promote safe tourism while ensuring that it remains a profitable industry, it is
imperative to understand the factors that hamper its growth and check them
effectively. The tourist infrastructure in India should be strengthened. Tourists should
be provided with clean hotels, reliable transport system and affordable shopping
centers. All airports and railway stations should provide information to the tourists
and facilitate their travel plans. Customs clearance procedures at airports should be
simplified. Government-owned hotels could be privatized so that they run efficiently
and are properly managed. The maintenance of the tourist destinations should be
taken up efficiently and their sanctity and beauty must be restored. Himachal Pradesh
banned the use of plastics in the state after monitoring its ill effects. Other states could
follow suit and restore the ecological balance. Many of the tombs and mausoleums in
the country are in a state of decadence and neglect. Attempts should be made to
restore their ancient splendor.
Tourism undeniably is a major source of income-national as well as individual-and its
potential to encourage development in various regions should be seriously put to use.
Tourism in India has grown substantially over the last three decades. Sincere efforts
could help to further develop India's tourism industry.
"Tourism plays an important role in most developing as well as developed countries
as the main-and sometimes the only means of economic and social development on a
sustainable basis, with meaningful linkages to other productive sectors, such as
agriculture and handicrafts," the minister said. Travel and tourism account for 11 per
cent of the world's GDP and eight per cent world's employment. Indian tourism has
been declared the fastest growing at eight per cent according to leading tourism
organisations including World Tourism Organisation and World Tourism and Travel
The Centre through its Rural Tourism Project has strengthened skilled rural artisan
communities in over 150 rural sites in association with United Nations Development
Programme. Being a key engine for economic growth, the tourism ministry has also
launched the "Hunar Se Rojgar" programme to create employable skills in hospitality
Referring to the southern states, Selja noted that wellness tourism in the region was its
USP while it was the cultural destinations that had attracted the foreign tourists for
long. She also encouraged states to leverage the mother brand Incredible India
campaign that has won several awards across the world.
Safety of tourists was also crucial for the sector's growth and the Centre is discussing
the idea of Tourist Police Organisation comprising ex-servicemen across the land.
Higher tourist arrivals, improved domestic business confidence, foreign investment
inflows, rising consumerism, easier and economical finance for vacations, lower air
tariffs, greater air connectivity and accelerating pace of business activity has resulted
in rapid growth of the hospitality industry.
Besides, the low cost, high quality medical care is rapidly turning India into a 'global
health destination'. Village tourism is also being promoted to spread tourism and its
socio-economic benefits to rural and new destinations. India is now the destination of
choice, not just for foreign tourists, but also for business travellers. This change in
image has led to a boom in the hospitality sector.
The number of air travellers, expected to grow from the current 15 million a year to
some 40-50 million in five years, would call for more hotel rooms to meet the needs
of the domestic travellers. Railways are also gearing up to create budget hotels.
By 2010, there will be approximately one billion tourists a year, according to the
World Tourism Organisation (WTO). However, signs are that international tourist
arrivals will overshoot these forecasts by some distance - creating dynamic
opportunities for companies in the hospitality business. By 2010, we expect to see 791
million intraregional travellers and 216 million long haul travellers, as emerging
markets such as China and India continue to grow and the new middle class, keen to
spend disposable income on travel, make the most of low-cost carriers and the easing
of visa restrictions.
Tourism is a key contributor to India's economic strength as it offers many
opportunities for entrepreneurs, small businesses besides start-ups, home grown and
rural businesses besides large organised corporates.
The "Incredible India" tourism marketing campaign has kick-started the phenomenal
growth in domestic tourism. In 2005, 3.91 million foreign tourists visited India while
more than 6 million Indians travelled abroad. The country earned Rs 25, 172 crore of
foreign exchange in 2005. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council
(WTTC), India is one of the emerging tourism markets, having a potential of 24
billion dollars foreign exchange earnings through tourism by 2015.
All this augurs well for the North Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal
Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J& K and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. These states have
accorded a high priority to tourism development in their plans and policies and have
recognised tourism as an important instrument for overall economic development and
employment generation.
Punjab is promoting its pilgrimage and heritage tourism. It has also developed a
‘freedom circuit’ which covers places associated with the martyrs and those sons of
the soil who had made supreme sacrifices for the motherland. This is for the first time
that a state government is doing so. All this will help in the creation of more
accommodation as well as other facilities. Punjab is also developing some new areas
which would further give a fillip to the demand for more rooms.
Haryana, which has pioneered the concept of highway tourism and has developed a
number of excellent resorts is proposing to set up more establishments. It also plans to
create Special Tourism Zones on the lines of Special Economic Zones, where all
facilities like accommodation, recreation, rail, air and transport bookings, facility for
overnight stay, postal, telephone, telegraph, shopping , handicrafts, will be made
available. This unique concept will prove to be a landmark in the history of
development of tourism not only in the region, but in the country itself.
The hill state of Himachal Pradesh and tourism seem to be made for each other. Its
scenic beauty, ancient and hallowed pilgrimage centres, temples, palaces, forts, snow
covered peaks, unique fairs and festivals, ethnicity, tribal lifestyles, adventure sport
opportunities and above all the serene and peaceful atmosphere attracts more than six
million domestic and more than hundred thousand international tourists every year.
Tourist traffic, which was seasonal a few years ago, is now visiting the state
throughout the year.
Tourism has undoubtedly brought great prosperity and wealth to the Himalayan state.
The government is also encouraging development of tourism and hospitality industry
by treated it as an industry and providing all types of concessions and incentives.
Even the most economically sluggish areas have greatly benefited from tourism.
Thousands of employment opportunities have been created which have checked the
exodus of people from the hilly areas who were forced to go to the plains to work as
menials in the most unhygienic conditions. Tourism has also greatly helped the
revival of age-old handicrafts and cottage industries, besides diversifying their scope
and utilising local raw materials.
But as they say tourism kills tourism. Unplanned development of tourism and
mushrooming of hotels, guest houses and other accommodation has also had a very
deleterious effect on the fragile ecology and environment. There is congestion and
over crowding, cutting of the trees and pollution even at some of the most pristine
sites. At many places, hotels and other facilities have come up without taking into
consideration the local conditions.
Coming back to the hospitality industry, according to one estimate, the country would
require an additional one lakh rooms in the next three years to meet the current
shortage of accommodation. According to another estimate, three to five lakh rooms
would be required by 2010. North India would also require a large number of rooms
in next few years.
To meet this shortage, both the public and private sectors should synergise their
efforts to provide more rooms. As the land cost is very high, the North Indian state
governments should earmark sites for hotels. They should also build land banks and
formulate hotel policies like the one recently announced by department of tourism of
Rajasthan government. Local authorities like the municipal corporations should also
be involved. It should also be noted that whatever accommodation is created, it should
serve the purpose of all sections of society.
Challenges to be faced
Many of the tourist site environments are unhealthy
Facilities and services are poor in many sites
There exists inadequate transportation to reach and continue the journey
Infrastructure facility is very poor
There is limited availability of tourism information at limited places
There are regional conflicts due to which tourism is getting affected in some
There is a lack of adequate security in some areas of the country which makes
the tourists feel insecure
Terrorist Attacks
The recent terror attacks in Mumbai, which claimed 183 lives and injured over 300,
has re-opened the wounds of thousands of people in different Indian cities, who had
witnessed the horror of terrorism in the last five years. We have listed all terror
attacks in India in the past five years (2003 - 2008) here.
1. August 25, 2003 (Mumbai): 46 people killed in two blasts including one near
the Gateway of India.
2. October 29, 2005 (New Delhi): 62 people killed in three serial blasts at
Sarojini Nagar on the eve of Diwali.
3. March 7, 2006 (Varanasi): 21 people killed in three blasts at Sankat Mochan
temple and Railway Station.
4. July 11, 2006 (Mumbai): 209 people killed in seven blasts on Suburban trains
and stations in Mumbai.
5. September 8, 2006 (Malegaon, Maharashtra): 40 people killed in two blasts in
6. February 19, 2007 (Diwana, Panipat): 68 people killed after two bombs went
off on the Samjhauta Express at Diwana near Panipat (Haryana).
7. May 18, 2007 (Hyderabad): 12 people killed in historic Mecca Mosque in the
Charminar area.
8. Aug 25, 2007 (Hyderabad): 42 people killed in two blasts at Gokul Chat and
Lumbini Park.
9. May 13, 2008 (Jaipur): 80 people killed in serial bomb blasts in Jaipur.
10. July 25, 2008 (Bangalore): One person killed in a low-intensity bomb
11. July 26, 2008 (Ahmedabad): 57 people killed after 18-odd synchronised
bombs went off within less than two hours.
12. September 13, 2008 (New Delhi): 26 people killed in six serial bomb blasts at
Karol Bagh, GK-II and Connaught Place.
13. September 27, 2008 (New Delhi): Three people killed after a crude bomb
exploded in Mehrauli.
14. September 29 2008 (Modasa, Gujarat): One killed and several injured after a
low-intensity bomb went off near a mosque.
15. September 29, 2008 (Malegaon, Maharashtra): Five people died after a bomb
went off in a crowded market.
16. October 01, 2008 (Agartala, Tripura): Two people killed and 100 injured in
serial bomb blasts in crowded market places in Agartala.
17. Oct 14, 2008 (Kanpur): Eight people injured after bomb planted on a rented
bicycle went off in the Colonelganj market.
18. Oct 21, 2008 (Imphal, Manipur): 17 killed in a powerful blast near Manipur
Police Commando complex.
19. Oct 30, 2008 (Assam): At least 50 killed in serial bomb blasts across Assam.
20. Nov 26, 2008 (Mumbai): 183 killed and over 300 injured in a daring terror
attack at Hotel Taj, Nariman House, Hotel Trident Oberoi and other places in
the city. It was the worst-ever terror attack in India, which lasted for 59 hours.
Nine terrorists were gunned down, while one was caught alive. 20 policemen
and 2 NSG Commandos were killed, while 23 foreign nationals were among
the dead.
Political Problems and Wars
India was a British colony. It earned its independence from the British on 15/08/1947.
Day before that Pakistan which was created as a result of partition of British India
was established and flanked on two sides of India: West Pakistan which is called
today Pakistan, and east Pakistan, now an independent state called Bangladesh. After
its independence, the political leaders of India adopted the liberal democratic system
for the country.
Since its independence, India has transformed a lot. When India attained
independence in 1947, its population was around 400 million people. Now there are
billion people in India. India is the largest democracy in the world. It has the biggest
number of people with franchise rights and the largest number of political parties,
which take part in election campaign.
Before its independence, India was never a single country but a bunch of different
entities. Many predicted that India, because of diversities in its cultures, religion,
languages, castes, manners, local histories, nationalities and identities, would not
survive as a single democratic country, but would break up into smaller countries.
Since independence, India had many political problems. During independence the
most burning issues were the riots between the Hindus and Muslims while the Sikhs
were siding with Hindus. Another issue was convincing the Princely states not to
declare independence or join Pakistan but to join the Indian Union. India also had a
few wars with its neighbors on border issues.
India also has many internal problems. Different communities with different identities
- regional, language, caste, religion - demanded different rights for their communities.
Some communities demanded more autonomy for their cultures within the Indian
states. Others demanded autonomous states within the Indian Union, while the others
demanded to be independent from India. With all its problems India survives as a
single state with democratic character.
Recession in Economy
Global economic meltdown has affected almost all countries. Strongest of American,
European and Japanese companies are facing severe crisis of liquidity and credit.
India is not insulated, either. However, India’s cautious approach towards reforms has
saved it from possibly disastrous implications. The truth is, Indian economy is also
facing a kind of slowdown. The prime reason being, world trade does not functions in
isolation. All the economies are interlinked to each other and any major fluctuation in
trade balance and economic conditions causes numerous problems for all other
According to official data, industrial growth in august has plummeted to mere 1.3%
compared to the same month in 2007. That definitely is cause of concern for policy
makers and industries. This data also raised fear of low GDP growth of India. It is
being suspected that, our country will face huge problems in achieving even 7.5%
growth rate in this fiscal.
1.3 percent industrial growth is the lowest IIP (index of industrial production) data
ever registered since last ten years. April-august industrial growth rate is 4.9% which
is also the lowest for the first five months of a financial year in 14-year period except
1998 and 2001. To make matters worst, a member of the PM’s economic advisory
council and director of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy have
confessed that India is going through industrial recession.
Several crucial sectors of Indian economy are likely to face serious problems in
coming months. Foremost among them is real estate sector. The demand for houses
have reduced significantly and property prices across India has registered 15-20% fall.
Things are likely to get worst as another 20 percent drop in prices is quite possible in
coming six months. The woes of real estate have spread to construction industry as
well. Because of less demand for houses, construction companies are going to suffer
big time. Financial services segment is also likely to be a major victim of economic
slowdown because of less demand for credit and reduced liquidity in market.
These three segments account for almost one third of services GDP and because of
their current and impending plight, attaining 7.5% GDP growth in this current year is
quite improbable. Industrial slowdown will also affect transport services. Transport
companies are likely to witness drastic fall in their business and profits. Global
recession will also lead to less tourists coming to India. That will negatively affect
tours and travels industry.
Recession are the result of reduction in the demand of products in the global market.
Recession can also be associated with falling prices known as deflation due to lack of
demand of products. Again, it could be the result of inflation or a combination of
increasing prices and stagnant economic growth in the west.
Recession in the West, specially the United States, is a very bad news for our country.
Our companies in India have most outsourcing deals from the US. Even our exports to
US have increased over the years. Exports for January have declined by 22 per cent.
There is a decline in the employment market due to the recession in the West. There
has been a significant drop in the new hiring which is a cause of great concern for us.
Some companies have laid off their employees and there have been cut in promotions,
compensation and perks of the employees. Companies in the private sector and
government sector are hesitant to take up new projects. And they are working on
existing projects only. Projections indicate that up to one crore persons could lose
their jobs in the correct fiscal ending March. The one crore figure has been compiled
by Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), which says that it has carried
out an intensive survey. The textile, garment and handicraft industry are worse
effected. Together, they are going to lose four million jobs by April 2009, according
to the FIEO survey. There has also been a decline in the tourist inflow lately. The real
estate has also a problem of tight liquidity situations, where the developers are finding
it hard to raise finances.
IT industries, financial sectors, real estate owners, car industry, investment banking
and other industries as well are confronting heavy loss due to the fall down of global
economy. Federation of Indian chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) found
that faced with the global recession, inventories industries like garment, gems,
textiles, chemicals and jewellery had cut production by 10 per cent to 50 per cent.
“Our economy is shrinking, unemployment rolls are growing, businesses and families
can’t get credit and small businesses can’t secure the loans they need to create jobs
and get their products to market,” Obama said.
“With the stakes this high, we cannot afford to get trapped in the same old partisan
Though no one likes or wants a recession, almost everyone appears (looking at WEF,
Davos) reconciled to one in the United States. Meanwhile, politicians continue to
downplay any fears of global repercussions, citing decoupling of the United States
and other economies as a buffering factor. But what is the reality for countries like
It would be naïve to imagine that a recession in the United States would have no
impact on India. The United States accounts for one-fourth of the world GDP and any
significant slowdown is bound to have reverberations elsewhere. On the other hand,
interdependencies between the US economy and emerging economies like India and
China has reduced considerably over the last two decades. Thus, the effect may not be
as drastic as would have been the case in the 1980s.
Even so, fears of a US recession led to panic in the Indian stock market. January 21
and 22 saw a meltdown with a mind-boggling US$450 billion in market capitalization
being vaporized. An unprecedented interest cut by the Fed led to a bounce-back on
January 23 and at the time of this writing, the benchmark index (BSE) has gained
2.5%, almost in line with Hang-Seng, Nikkei, and Kospi.
History might hold a clue here. The last time the bubble burst (2001-2002), the DJIA
went down by 23%, while the Indian Index fell by 15%.
Much has happened between then and now. The Indian economy has shown a robust
and consistent growth trajectory and the projection for 2008 is 9%. Indian exports to
the United States account for just over 3% of GDP. India has a healthy trade surplus
with the United States.
In other words, the effects of this recession on India may be quite distinct from those
of the past. Here are some areas worth following:
1. A credit crisis in the United States might lead to a restructuring of asset allocation
at pension funds. It has been suggested that CalPERS is likely to shift an additional
US$24 billion to its international portfolio. A large portion of this is likely to flow
into India and China. If other funds follow suit, a cascading effect can be expected.
Along with the already significant dollar funds available, the additional funds could
be deployed to create infrastructure--roads, airports, and seaports--and be ready for a
rapid takeoff when normalcy is restored.
2. In terms of specific sectors, the IT Enabled Services sector may be hit since a
majority of Indian IT firms derive 75% or more of their revenues from the United
States--a classic case of having put all eggs in one basket. If Fortune 500 companies
slash their IT budgets, Indian firms could be adversely affected. Instead of looking at
the scenario as a threat, the sector would do well to focus on product innovation (as
opposed to merely providing services). If this is done, India can emerge as a major
player in the IT products category as well.
3. The manufacturing sector has to ramp up scale economies, and improve
productivity and operational efficiency, thus lowering prices, if it wishes to offset the
loss of revenue from a possible US recession. The demand for appliances, consumer
electronics, apparel, and a host of products is huge and can be exploited to advantage
by adopting appropriate pricing strategies. Although unlikely, a prolonged recession
might see the emergence of new regional groupings--India, China, and Korea?
4. The tourism sector could be affected. Now is the time to aggressively promote
health tourism. Given the availability of talented professionals, and with a distinct
cost advantage, India can be the destination of choice for health tourism.
5. A recession in the United States may see the loss of some jobs in India. The
concept of Social Security, that has been absent until now, may gain momentum.
6. The Indian Rupee has appreciated in relation to the US dollar. Exporters are
pushing for government intervention and rate cuts. What is conveniently forgotten in
this debate is that a stronger Rupee would reduce the import bill, and narrow the
overall trade deficit. The Indian central bank (Reserve Bank of India) can intervene
anytime and cut interest rates, increasing liquidity in the economy, and catalyzing
domestic demand. A strong domestic demand would also help in competing globally
when the recession is over.
In summary, at the macro-level, a recession in the US may bring down GDP growth,
but not by much. At the micro-level, specific sectors could be affected. Innovation
now may prove to be the engine for growth when the next boom occurs.For US firms,
who have long looked at China as a better investment destination, this may be a good
time to look at India as well. After all, 350 million people with purchasing power
cannot be ignored. This is not a sales pitch for India, but only a gentle suggestion to
US corporations.
The fear of a recession looms over the United States. And as the cliche goes,
whenever the US sneezes, the world catches a cold. This is evident from the way the
Indian markets crashed taking a cue from a probable recession in the US and a global
economic slowdown. Weakening of the American economy is bad news, not just for
India, but for the rest of the world too. A recession is a decline in a country's gross
domestic product (GDP) growth for two or more consecutive quarters of a year. A
recession is also preceded by several quarters of slowing down.
An economy which grows over a period of time tends to slow down the growth as a
part of the normal economic cycle. An economy typically expands for 6-10 years and
tends to go into a recession for about six months to 2 years.
A recession normally takes place when consumers lose confidence in the growth of
the economy and spend less. This leads to a decreased demand for goods and services,
which in turn leads to a decrease in production, lay-offs and a sharp rise in
unemployment. Investors spend less as they fear stocks values will fall and thus stock
markets fall on negative sentiment.
The economy and the stock market are closely related. The stock markets reflect the
buoyancy of the economy. In the US, a recession is yet to be declared by the Bureau
of Economic Analysis, but investors are a worried lot. The Indian stock markets also
crashed due to a slowdown in the US economy.
The Sensex crashed by nearly 13 per cent in just two trading sessions in January. The
markets bounced back after the US Fed cut interest rates. However, stock prices are
now at a low ebb in India with little cheer coming to investors.
Current crisis in the US
The defaults on sub-prime mortgages (homeloan defaults) have led to a major crisis in
the US. Sub-prime is a high risk debt offered to people with poor credit worthiness or
unstable incomes. Major banks have landed in trouble after people could not pay back
loans (See: Subprime pain: Who lost how much)
The housing market soared on the back of easy availability of loans. The realty sector
boomed but could not sustain the momentum for long, and it collapsed under the
gargantuan weight of crippling loan defaults. Foreclosures spread like wildfire putting
the US economy on shaky ground. This, coupled with rising oil prices at $100 a
barrel, slowed down the growth of the economy.
Tax cuts are the first step that a government fighting recessionary trends or a fullfledged recession proposes to do. In the current case, the Bush government has
proposed a $150-billion bailout package in tax cuts.
The government also hikes its spending to create more jobs and boost the
manufacturing and services sectors and to prop up the economy. The government also
takes steps to help the private sector come out of the crisis.
The US economy has suffered 10 recessions since the end of World War II. The Great
Depression in the United was an economic slowdown, from 1930 to 1939. It was a
decade of high unemployment, low profits, low prices of goods, and high poverty.
The trade market was brought to a standstill, which consequently affected the world
markets in the 1930s. Industries that suffered the most included agriculture, mining,
and logging.
In 1937, the American economy unexpectedly fell, lasting through most of 1938.
Production declined sharply, as did profits and employment. Unemployment jumped
from 14.3 per cent in 1937 to 19.0 per cent in 1938.
The US saw a recession during 1982-83 due to a tight monetary policy to control
inflation and sharp correction to overproduction of the previous decade. This was
followed by Black Monday in October 1987, when a stock market collapse saw the
Dow Jones Industrial Average plunge by 22.6 per cent affecting the lives of millions
of Americans.
The early 1990s saw a collapse of junk bonds and a financial crisis. The US saw one
of its biggest recessions in 2001, ending ten years of growth, the longest expansion on
record. From March to November 2001, employment dropped by almost 1.7 million.
In the 1990-91 recession, the GDP fell 1.5 per cent from its peak in the second quarter
of 1990. The 2001 recession saw a 0.6 per cent decline from the peak in the fourth
quarter of 2000.
The dot-com burst hit the US economy and many developing countries as well. The
economy also suffered after the 9/11 attacks. In 2001, investors' wealth dwindled as
technology stock prices crashed.
Indian companies have major outsourcing deals from the US. India's exports to the US
have also grown substantially over the years. The India economy is likely to lose
between 1 to 2 percentage points in GDP growth in the next fiscal year. Indian
companies with big tickets deals in the US would see their profit margins
shrinking.The worries for exporters will grow as rupee strengthens further against the
dollar. But experts note that the long-term prospects for India are stable. A weak
dollar could bring more foreign money to Indian markets. Oil may get cheaper brining
down inflation. A recession could bring down oil prices to $70.
Between January 2001 and December 2002, the Dow Jones Industrial Average went
down by 22.7 per cent, while the Sensex fell by 14.6 per cent. If the fall from the
record highs reached is taken, the DJIA was down 30 per cent in December 2002 from
the highs it hit in January 2000. In contrast, the Sensex was down 45 per cent.The
whole of Asia would be hit by a recession as it depends on the US economy. Asia is
yet to totally decouple itself (or be independent) from the rest of the world, say
India will experience the greatest rate of growth in 2010, with a World Bank forecast
increase in GDP of 8% in 2010, more than China at 7.7%, says Fernando Gonzalez
Nicolas, president of the Caribbean Trade Consortium. He says that bilateral trade
between India and the DR in 2008 totaled US$44 million, with potential for a
marketed increase. "India has all the conditions to become a major source of raw
materials, technology, equipment and investments for the DR," he says.
Gonzalez Nicolas, a major local trade promoter, says that talks are under way with
Tata, the largest corporation in India with US$62 billion in annual sales, with a view
to setting up a Dominican operation. Gonzalez also highlighted India's potential as an
investor, making the point it is already the second largest investor in Great Britain.
The Embassy of the Dominican Republic in India is coordinating a trade mission to
the DR together with Center for Export & Investment (CEI-RD) and the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, to take place before the year ends, says Dominican Ambassador in
India, Hans Dannenberg Castellanos. "In the three years our mission has been open in
New Delhi, there has been an increased awareness of our country, our free trade
agreements and the potential for investment for Indian nationals," he says.
He said that the Dominican Embassy has actively promoted the country as a strategic
regional business hub as well as positioning the country in the minds of large Indian
Outbound Tour Operators, by holding seminars and workshops together with the CII
(Confederation of Indian Industries) in most large Indian cities. "Indian outbound
tourism is dramatically increasing every year and according to the World Tourism
Organization it will be one of the largest tourism generators in the world by 2015",
said Ambassador Dannenberg, encouraging the DR tourism sector to make the most
of the Indian travel boom.
10 years of relations with India
The Dominican Embassy celebrated its 10 years of formal diplomatic relations with
India last week. "The government of President Leonel Fernandez opened the embassy
in New Delhi three years ago to strengthen links with that country, and expand the
horizons of our ties with Asia," said Ambassador Hans Dannenberg Castellanos at the
event. Dannenberg is concurrent Dominican ambassador in Vietnam, Thailand,
Malaysia, Philippines and Mauricio.
He explained that after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the Dominican government decided
to diversify its international relations beyond the United States and seek ties with
countries at development levels similar to the DR to promote the necessary SouthSouth cooperation.
For the 10th anniversary, the Sandy Gabriel merengue and Latin jazz music band
visited and performed before going on to tour several Indian cities to promote
Dominican culture. Prior to the anniversary event, a mission of Dominican business
representatives attended the India-Latin America and Caribbean Conclave: Project
Partnerships 2009 organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The year-long mega campaign to hoist Nepal on the world tourism map in the most
ambitious manner till date, Nepal Tourism Year 2011 (NTY) will be launched on
January 14, 2011, as per a decision to this effect taken by NTY 2011 Coordination
The committee will be inviting 22 tourism ministers from different Asian countries
for the inaugural ceremony, which is expected to showcase Nepal’s beautiful culture
and traditions apart from its famed natural beauty. And, the campaign will carry an
unifying message — Together for Tourism.
“The major highlight of the inauguration ceremony will be mutual support and
coordination between different Asian countries for tourism promotion,” said Dhruba
Narayan Shrestha, coordinator for the tourism sector at FNCCI and member of NTY
2011 working committee.
Working towards a target to attract 3 lakh Indian tourists, the committee will organise
a series of promotional programmes along the Indian borders in October-November.
“We have planned promotional campaigns at Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Raxual, Sitamarhi
and Sunauli among other Indian cities along the border,” said Shrestha.
In order to facilitate visitor movement not only for NTY 2011 but also for the future,
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) with the help of private sector will develop necessary
infrastructure to provide a single-window mechanism for immigration, customs,
transportation formalities for the visitors at different entry points along the IndoNepal border. With a view to intensifying tourist activities along the border, food
courts, handicraft shops and other tourism-related attractions would be created in
these bordering areas.
According to Shrestha, a study has been undertaken at different entry points such as
Birgunj, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, Kakarbhitta, Dhangadi, Pashupati Nagar, Janakpur
and Nepalgunj along the border with India.
NTY 2011 has targeted to attract 3 lakh Indian tourists and one lakh Chinese tourists
in 2011. On an average, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Nepal is 35,000.
Tourism is the largest industry in Nepal and also the largest source of foreign
exchange. With a surge in the arrival of Indian tourists, new Indian airlines have
planned flights to Kathmandu.
According to sources in tourism industry, Indian tourists are quality tourists, with
better spending capacity. Indian tourists spend 40 per cent more than tourists from
other countries. The total number of Indian flights to Kathmandu is 57. Nepal’s major
source markets, India and China, have registered a double-digit growth, which has
given boost to the tourism sector in the country.
According to the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Immigration Office data,
visitor arrivals from India in May have increased by 4.3 per cent, which showed a
sustained growth this year, except a soft decline in April.
This number of 2.84 million was a record for the Philippines but when compared to
the numbers of inbound travellers for Indonesia (5,5 mln), Thailand (11 mln) and
Malaysia (16 mln) it is immediately clear that the Philippine tourism industry is one
of the sectors in the country with a tremendous growth potential.
Arrivals percentage by region 2006
Region of Orign - % Share of Total
Asian - 7.1
East Asia (Japan/South Korea) - 47.0
North America - 22.8
Europe - 9.2
Australia / New Zealand - 5.7
Others - 8.2
When compared to the surrounding nations the tourism industry in the Philippines is
vastly underdeveloped. The total 2006-earnings of €2.18 billion pale in comparison to
Thailand's average tourism industry revenue of around €8,0 billion.
The Philippines attract only around 260,000 guests from Europe whereas Thailand
receives around 2,0 mln European visitors.
The Philippines as an island nation do not have the advantage of border tourism such
as Malaysia (60% on a total of 16 million foreign visitors annually) and Thailand
(15% on a total of 11 million foreign visitors annually). However even when taking
the border tourism into account and reducing the annual number of foreign visitors for
these 2 countries in order to be able to conduct a better comparison, it is clear the
Philippine tourism industry can still triple in volume and increase at least 3 to 4-fold
in value before reaching maturity.
Hotel room occupancy rate stands at an average of 60%.
Some outside factors with a negative influence are unfortunately present :
- Exaggerated bombscare reporting in the (inter)national media
- Typhoons
- Vulcano's
The sector itself can improve situations by means of creating better infra-structures
focused on various different consumer groups as well as developing a long-running
media promotion campaign to position the country better vis-a-vis it's competitors in
the region. The government promotion campaign of "Wow Philippines" is of excellent
quality. Intensity of the campaign however is necessary to ensure higher levels of
Addressing the safety aspect is also important. Frequent visitors to the country know
that actual safety is not a major issue and personal dangers are no greater than in most
other parts of South East Asia. However the ever-present security guards armed with
loaded guns and rifles achieve the contrary effect of what they strive to obtain.
Occasional or 1st time foreign visitors are given the feeling of being constantly in
danger. It is not so that in Manila and the Philippines in general terrorists armed with
bombs lurk in every corner but this image will remain by maintaining the presence of
these (largely ineffective) security guards.
In many ways the post Cold War external environment of a globalizing world, without
rival political alliances, gave India the opportunity to improve relations with all major
powers. This was the time (1991), when India launched its Look East Policy. This
also coincided with the period when India had launched her economic liberalization
With India’s obsession towards Pakistan and with its preoccupations with China, the
South East Asian region did not figure much in its foreign policy till the early 90s.
South East Asia was a growing market with countries like Malaysia, Singapore and
Indonesia. China had already entrenched itself deeply in most of these countries over
a period of time. Though some analysts pointed out that by launching this policy India
was trying to balance China’s influence in this region, India had often reiterated that it
was not competing with China in any manner. India had to go beyond the confines of
SAARC if it had to reap the benefits out of the economic potential of the South East
Asian region and establish itself as a regional power.
India-ASEAN Relations
India’s attitude towards ASEAN during its early years was ambivalent but not hostile.
The Indian leadership viewed ASEAN as an American “imperialist surrogate” while
ASEAN dubbed India as the “surrogate of the Soviet Union”. The signing of the
Friendship Treaty with the Soviets, India’s stand on Afghanistan and India’s
recognition of the Hang Samarin Government in 1981—all these led to estrangement
between India and ASEAN India’s decision not participate as a dialogue partner in
1980 was a further setback. The expansion of the Indian Navy in the early 1990s and
the military assistance provided to Maldives had led to adverse propaganda in
Australia and ASEAN. It is only after some Joint Naval exercises with the South East
Asian nations and the collapse of the Soviet Republic, India’s efforts to improve
relations with ASEAN gained momentum.
India-ASEAN relations have deepened and intensified significantly in recent years.
India became a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992. In 1995 this was
upgraded to full dialogue partnership. It participated in the ASEAN Ministerial
Meeting (AMM), the Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) and the ASEAN Regional
Forum (ARF) in July 1996. Since 2002, India has annual summits with ASEAN
along with China, Japan and Republic of Korea. These political level interactions are
further strengthened through the Senior Officials’ meetings, as also specialized
working groups in functional areas.
India-ASEAN functional cooperation includes cooperation in sectors such as, Science
& Technology, Human Resources Development, Health and Pharmaceuticals, Space
Sciences, Agriculture, Information & Communication Technology, Transport and
Infrastructure, Tourism and Culture and Small and Medium Enterprises etc.
Proposed New Measures:
1. Realizing India-ASEAN trade target of US $ 50 billion by 2010.
2. Simplification of visa regime for business persons travelling from India to
ASEAN and vice-versa
3. Launching of an India-ASEAN Health care initiative with a focus to provide
basic drugs at low cost,
4. Setting up of an India-ASEAN Green Fund for undertaking pilot projects to
tackle issues associated with Climate Change
5. An expanded Open Skies Policy with ASEAN and
6. A target of 1 million tourists to India from ASEAN region by the year 2010.
Political and Security Issues –ASEAN has expressed desirability to work together to
fight terrorism and transnational crime, combating corruption and promoting good
governance and the protection of human rights as well as cooperation in forums such
as ARF and the MGC.
Free Trade Agreement (FTA)—The crowning glory of the Look East Policy is the
signing of the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement on 13 August 2009 at Bangkok.
The agreement was only for trade-in-goods and did not include software and
information technology. Negotiations for agreements on services and investment are
in progress. Two-way trade between India and ASEAN was $ 47 billion in 2008 and
both parties expect a $ 10 billion increase even in the first year. The FTA is part of
the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Cooperation signed with ASEAN in
2003. The FTA is significant for the reason that it is the first multilateral trade
agreement entered into by India.
ASEAN-India Summits—The inaugural ASEAN-India Summit was held on 05
November 2002 at Phnom Penh (Cambodia). The 7th ASEAN-India Summit was held
at Thailand on 24 October 2009. During these 7 years India had proposed a number of
initiatives for “enhancing connectivity and empowering peoples” in areas such as
greater economic integration, people to people contacts, agriculture, human resource
development, education, science and technology and information and communication
technology. The India-ASEAN Business Summits are also held along with these
summits where business delegates meet and interact to enhance the trade relations.
India and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
India became a member of the ARF in 1996. India’s participation in the ARF
demonstrates its increasing engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, both in the
politico-security and economic spheres and underlines its commitment to objective of
sustaining regional peace and stability. India has hosted several activities such as
peacekeeping, maritime security and cyber security.
East Asia Summit (EAS)
India, being an Asian nation and with its growing economic potential, deserves its
place on its own merit. However some of the ASEAN members were reluctant to
include India but later acceded more as a counterweight to China’s increasing
influence in the region. India had played its cards well to get into this grouping at the
outset (unlike the case with ASEAN).
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who attended the 4th EAS summit at Thailand in
October 2009 remarked that the launching of the EAS was an act of foresight. He
recalled that today that six of the 20 members of the G-20 belong to the EAS. While
reiterating that India is playing its part in the economic integration of the EAS region,
he promised a contribution of $ 1 million over a period of 10 years for the Economic
Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) for enlarging the activities of
ERIA. India proposal for establishment of the Nalanda University in Bihar is under
active consideration of the EAS.
Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical Cooperation (BIMSTEC)
India has taken a leading role in this grouping. The second BIMSTEC Summit was
held at New Delhi in November 2008. India has set up a Tsunami Warning Centre to
extend information exchange and data sharing arrangements with BIMSTEC
countries. In addition to the 300 scholarships offered under the Indian Technical and
Economic cooperation Progamme (ITEC) 150 more offered to BIMSTEC countries
(during the summit in Delhi) of which a report indicates that 80% have been utilized.
Negotiations are underway for a BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement in goods. The last
BIMSTEC ministerial meeting held in Myanmar in December 2009 was attended by
External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna, where Climate Change was identified as one
more area of cooperation
Mekong Ganga Cooperation.(MGC)
It is important to note that this concept was floated by India. China had criticized this
initiative as having been to designed to counter-balance the influence of China in the
region, which is a riparian Mekong River country and which has not been included in
this sub-grouping. Since January 2007 India holds the Chair of the MGC.
When completed the Asian highway project is expected to link up Singapore with
New Delhi in South Asia via Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chin Minh city, Phnom Penh,
Bangkok, Vientiane, Chiang Mai, Yangon, Mandalay, Kalemyo, Tamu, Dhaka and
Calcutta. India has already taken the first step in this direction and has built the road
linking Tamu (Manipur) to Kalemyo, a key communication junction in the center of
Bilateral Relations
India has strengthened its bilateral relations with all the South East Asian nations in
the last two decades since launching of the Look East Policy. High level visits of
heads of states from most of these nations have taken place. India has entered into a
few bilateral Free Trade Agreements (Thailand) and economic cooperation
agreements (Indonesia and Singapore). The high point of India’s relations with
Malaysia is the defence cooperation which began in 1993 and has developed over the
years with annual meeting of the defence secretaries, military training and supply of
defence equipment. Special attention is being paid to the three economically under
developed countries, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, where there is enough scope and
opportunity for India to extend its influence. Indonesia and Singapore has helped
India to get into the East Asia Summit despite objections from some other ASEAN
members and China. Of all the South East Asian nations, Myanmar has a special
place from India’s strategic and security perspective and hence has been dealt with
separately in this paper.
Myanmar is a lynch pin for this policy as it is the land bridge between India and
While the main thrust of the Look East Policy has been economic and integration and
energy security with the nations of South East Asia, in the case of Myanmar it is also
of strategic importance and security of our North East. India has a land border of
1640 Km and a coast line of 1930 Km to the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
It was in 1993 when India reversed its stand and started engaging the military regime.
Since then our relations with Myanmar has been in the upswing and had paid
dividends (though some analysts consider that it is not commensurate with the effort).
Major Indian Projects in Myanmar
1. Construction, upgrading land resurfacing of the 160 Km long Tamu-KalewaKalemyo road, upgradation of Rhi-Tidim and Rhi-Falam roads.
2. Kaladan Multi-modal Transport project
3. ADSL project for High Speed Data Link in 32 Myanmar Cities has been
completed by TCIL
4. ISRO assisted Data Processing centre in Yangon
5. A heavy truck assembly of TATAs.
6. ONGC Videsh Limited, GAIL and ESSAR have stakes in the energy sector in
In addition India has exchanged high level visits with Myanmar. India has supplied
defence equipment and port calls by the Indian Navy Ships have been made. In
January 2006, a Myanmar Navy ship participated in “Milan” at Port Blair. This was a
historic first ever visit of a Myanmar warship to any foreign port. Gen Deepak Kapoor
Chief of Army Staff visited Myanmar in October 2009 and an Indian delegation led
by the Home Secretary which included senior officials from Army and Military
Intelligence visited Myanmar in January 2010. Myanmar is learnt to have agreed to
launch “coordinated operations” to flush out NE militants from its territory—quite
similar to what Bhutan did against ULFA in 2003. Bilateral Trade has expanded
significantly from US $ 12.4 million in 1980-81 to US $ 951.14 million in 2008-09.
Myanmar has been given the status of observer in SAARC in August 2008
Look-East and the North-East
The North Eastern States of India are often described as land locked. They are joined
to the rest of India by a narrow land corridor that skirts the north of Bangladesh. This
land corridor is only 21 to 40 Km in width and is known as the Chicken’s Neck. This
has been a serious impediment for the development of the region, which has lagged
behind the rest of the country in terms of infrastructure and industrial development.
With the release of the document “North Eastern Region Vision 2020” by the Prime
Minister in July 2008 a serious effort has been made for socio-economic development
of this region to match with the objectives of the Look East Policy.
Several measures have been undertaken under the aegis of the Look East policy to
uplift North East India such as the “Asian Highway”, “Asian Railway link” and
“Natural Gas pipeline”. The Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport facility is aimed
at establishing connectivity between Indian ports and Sittwe port in Myanmar through
riverine transport and road links in Mizoram. With the Ganga Mekong initiative there
is potential for direct flights between Guwhati -Ho-Chi Minh city – Imphal – Hanoi. .
This document (Vision 2020) admits that the Look East Policy has failed to uplift the
North East in the last fifteen years or so as most of the goods from ASEAN is sent
through the sea route as the land route is thought highly unsafe for reasons such as
lack of infrastructure and insurgency.
The China Factor
In the cold war era, South East Asian nations perceived China as dangerous because
of its military expansionist scheme in Asia. While now the “peaceful rise” of China is
being considered more of an opportunity despite the challenges.
China is virtually dominating the South East Asian region. The ASEAN-China Free
Trade Area created by an accord in 2004 has come into effect from January 2010.
This covers nearly 1.9 billion people. In terms of economic value this is the third
largest regional agreement, after only the EU and the NAFTA.
“A new talking point in East Asia is that of the multi-laterisation or, more precisely,
the likely enlargement of the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) later this year. The CMI is
basically a currency pool of the ASEAN+3 countries (China, Japan and South
Korea).The move was a direct response to the recent outbreak of the US-induced
global and financial economic crisis, which has not fully blown away as now” (P.S.
Suryanarayana-Frontline January 29, 2010).
China is predicted to overtake Japan as the world’s second largest economy some
time in 2010.
India must be aware of the fact that it has not been invited to the EAS because of its
rising economic potential alone but more as a balancing force to offset the China
factor. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly mentioned that in a global
environment, India is not afraid of competition and it can complement rather than
compete in the EAS.
Expansion of the Look East Policy.
The Look East Policy was initially directed towards the SEA nations. It is significant
to note that India has since included China, Japan, South Korea and other Asia Pacific
nations in the gamut of this policy.
The policy which began largely as an economic initiative has gained political, military
and regional dimensions.
India’s best efforts to improve relations with China have not been reciprocated as
China is considering itself more equal and continues with its permanent nagging on
the two main irritants—the border issue and Tibet--and on various other issues (such
as Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal, India’s war doctrine or movement of troops or
aircrafts in the North East).
With Japan, we have had high level visits of Prime Ministers Koizumi, Shinzo Abe
and Hatoyama in 2005, 2007 and 2009 respectively. PM Manmohan Singh had
visited Japan in 2006. We have some strategic partnership arrangements, economic
interaction, Defence Policy dialogue and have conducted some joint naval exercises.
Since 2003, India has replaced China as the top recipient nation of yen credits. Japan
was keen to have India, Australia and New Zealand join the EAS.
The entering of The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with
South Korea (which took effect form January 2010) and inviting the President Lee
Myung Bak as chief guest for the Republic Day function this year (2010) are
noteworthy in this regard. Currently there are about 9000 Koreans staying in India
with about 7000 Indians living in Korea.
Organizing “Milan”—a congregation of navies organized by the Indian Navy
biennially since 1995 in Port Blair involving social and professional interactions,
including combined exercises. In 2008 11 Navies including Australia participated.
Becoming a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum(ARF)—1996. Completion of
the 160 Km India-Myanmar Friendship road from Tamu to Kalemyo to Kaletwa built
by the Border Roads Organisation—2001. Becoming a summit level partner of
ASEAN—2002. Entering into a Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic
Cooperation (for establishing a FTA in a time frame of 10 years)—2003. Similar
FTAs have been entered into with some ASEAN nations independently. Acceding to
The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation on which ASEAN was formed in (1967)—
Becoming a founding member of EAS—2005. South East Asia was the focus in the
India International Trade Fair (IITF) in 2005 which happened to be the Silver Jubilee
of the fair. Companies from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand took part in
the fair. Under the open skies policy, today, there are over 215 direct flights every
week between India and Singapore, 115 with Thailand and 50 with Malaysia.
Finalising the Kaladan Multimodal Transport project in 2009 especially in the context
of Bangladesh being reluctant to allow transit facilities. By this the port of Sittwe in
Myanmar (250 Km from Mizoram border)will be connected to the Indian ports and
Kaletwa (Myanmar)will be linked with the National Highway 54 at Nalkawn in
Mizoram. Appointing an Ambassador to ASEAN in order to accelerate the growth in
the bilateral relations in all spheres of activity.
India still remains outside the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
India has entered into a number of pacts, agreements and FTAs with nations of
ASEAN but its record for implementation of such accords has been poor.. The Indian
industry has doubts about its own competitive efficiency or it does not want
competition at home or it is scared of cheaper exports to India from these countries.
India lags behind China and Japan in almost all spheres of Pan East Asian
cooperation, East Asian observers reckon that India has so far appeared less proactive
than China on some critical issues.
Some analysts feel that India’s Look East Policy lacks a strategic vision despite
seeking defense cooperation with some ASEAN nations (Myanmar, Indonesia and
Vietnam) and securing a role for joint patrolling in the Malacca Straits. India does not
take an assertive role perhaps due to it limited military capability . There are some
domestic political compulsions which impinge on the desired reforms and the struggle
the liberalization process is undergoing in the “minds of our people”. India has come
under harsh criticism for the big negative items list and the delay of over six years in
finalizing the ASEAN-India FTA.
India’s objectives in Look East Policy can be furthered through areas—education
(human resources development), democracy and culture—where it has a comparative
advantage over Asian countries. In this context the Nalanda project which envisages
the setting up of an international university is noteworthy.
India has a lead in Information Technology. Many South East Asians are not only
interested in our IITs and IIMs but also want campuses opened in places like Kuala
Lumpur and Jakarta.
Tourism is an area where much can be done to reverse the trend of more Indians
going to South East Asia (Singapore) for shopping. Places of Buddhist interest like,
Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Nalanda and places of Muslim interest like Taj Mahal,
Fatehpur Sikri Ajmer, and Hyderabad have to be suitably promoted for establishing
people to people contacts.
At the strategic level, India’s Look East policy envisages the ASEAN states and Japan
as key partners in East Asia. Ties with South Korea are also strengthening. With
India-US relations also expanding in scope and content, India can become a
stabilizing and balancing force in this region. India’s inclusion ab initio into the
Group of Twenty Economies (G-20) has boosted its image in this region. Six of the 20
(Australia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia and South Korea) are from East Asia.
The crux is that this Look East policy should reinforce and demonstrate India’s
commitment to this region which accounts for about one-third of India’s trade. It
should also be made clear that this commitment will not be influenced in any way by
the improving relations between India and the US and EU.
Pick your way through a squatter settlement of Mumbai, India, where one million
people live in an area half the size of New York’s Central Park. Step over rats in the
shanty towns around Rio de Janeiro. Or meet local South Africans living in a Soweto
township near Johannesburg, dubbed the most dangerous city outside of war zones.
These kinds of activities all fall under the heading of poverty tourism.
Like many forms of dark tourism, poverty tourism – sometimes called poorism – has
only been given its label recently. Poverty tourism commonly refers to small
organized tours that you can take upon arriving in a city, and these tours will walk or
drive you through an area of extreme poverty. When I first heard the term it sounded
like pure voyeurism to me – come and watch how the funny poor guys live – but
when you dig a bit deeper, the pros and cons of poverty tourism become much more
While poverty tours exist in all parts of the world – even in developed countries, there
are tours of the immigrant zone of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, or around poor areas
of Houston or New York – the most common tours you’ll hear about are those of the
favelas in Rio de Janeiro, the shanty towns in South Africa, and of the squatter
settlements of India, particularly in large cities like Mumbai. Some of these trips have
been running for the best part of two decades, usually quietly, without heavy
promotion. Let’s take a look at three different poverty tours to try to better understand
the situation.
Favela tours are perhaps the most well-known form of poverty tourism. And perhaps
because they’re known, and many tourists want to take one, they push the barrier of
what is acceptable – at least that’s my opinion. One of the original guide companies,
Favela Tours, which has been operating over fifteen years already, do it right: the
company founder Marcelo Armstrong knows a lot about the complicated situation of
poverty in Rio, and is keen to show tourists that even in favelas, the people are
striving to develop, and he takes his tours to community day care centers and radio
stations run by the locals. But the business of taking tourists into favelas has been
around long enough now that less reputable entrepreneurs are also trying to take their
cut of the tourist dollar, and that’s clearly bad for the favelas and bad for the tourists.
Since 2006, Reality Tours and Travel has offered visitors to Mumbai the chance to
tour the Dharavi area of the city, dubbed “the biggest slum of Asia”. A young British
guy, who had the idea for the trips after visiting the favelas of Rio, teamed up with a
local Indian man to run authentic walking tours around Dharavi. They want to show
the reality of life there and at the same time dispel the myth that the poor there are
lazy or helpless, but rather working hard to improve their lives.
What I like about the Dharavi tours is the effort taken to keep the tours grounded in
reality and avoid the possibilities of voyeurism as much as possible. Tourists are not
allowed to take photographs, and the groups are kept to a maximum of five people so
it doesn’t look too intrusive. They also use guides who are very knowledgeable about
the area, so they can answer all your questions, and the company gives 80% of the
after tax profit from the tours to local NGOs to help alleviate poverty.
Can Poverty Tourism Really Help the Poor?
Here’s a view on the poverty and tourism debate from somebody who hasn’t
experienced poverty: at the 28th FITUR tourism trade fair in January, 2008, Spain’s
King Juan Carlos focused his opening speech on telling delegates that expanding
tourism into poverty-stricken countries is not just interesting or desirable, but
Tourism is a driver of understanding between peoples. It is an effective instrument
with which to eradicate poverty and to improve the legitimate aspirations and wellbeing of citizens.
Is this really the case? Well, of course, it depends. Personally, I think that if it’s
managed by real, interested professionals, and sensible ground rules are set – don’t
take photographs, don’t give money or candy away (donate through a suitable charity
or organization instead), stay in small groups, and so on – then perhaps poverty
tourism really does provide some benefits for the locals. And at this stage in its
development, when it’s mostly undertaken by fairly seasoned travelers who are
genuinely interested in understanding more about a country and its people, it seems
that such tours can truly be managed in this way. My fear is that poverty tourism
could become a more mainstream activity, and money-hungry travel agents will start
sending in large air-conditioned buses full of ignorant tourists snapping hundreds of
pictures, and then the rot will really set in.
If you decide that a poverty tour is something you want to do, then I’d recommend
reading these tips put out by Budget Travel. This piece provides all kinds of advice
from how you can contribute to the community you visit, what you should and
shouldn’t do, and opinions on taking photographs, bringing children with you and
chatting to the locals.
Indians believe in holidays: The country has among the largest number of public
holidays in the world. Yet the most common reason for getting away is to "visit a
native place." Migrant workers return to their family farms at harvest time. Others
return to their villages (and extended families) for an annual pilgrimage. The concept
of a holiday where you let your hair down and relax has been accepted only in recent
The idea of rural tourism is, therefore, a bit of a puzzle for many Indians. They go
back to their village every year; why should they pay good money to go to some other
village? Rustic charms hold greater appeal for foreign tourists. Concerted government
and travel industry efforts to sell India abroad with campaigns such as "Incredible
India" began only this decade, but rural tourism as a product is still evolving.
A national tourism policy was introduced in 2002, with rural tourism identified as a
focus area to generate employment and promote sustainable livelihoods. "As a part of
the National Tourism Policy 2002, the Ministry of Tourism is developing and
promoting rural tourism sites which have core competency in art, craft, culture,
heritage, handloom, etc.," Union Ministry of Tourism Secretary Sujit Banerjee said
recently in a statement. According to the 2002 policy, "Special thrust should be
imparted to rural tourism and tourism in small settlements, where sizable assets of our
culture and natural wealth exist."
Just what is rural tourism? The government has taken a broad view. "Any form of
tourism that showcases rural life, art, culture and heritage at rural locations, thereby
benefiting the local community economically and socially as well as enabling
interaction between the tourists and the locals for a more enriching tourism
experience, can be termed as rural tourism," says a Ministry of Tourism policy paper.
"Rural tourism is essentially an activity which takes place in the countryside. It is
multifaceted and may entail farm/agricultural tourism, cultural tourism, nature
tourism, adventure tourism and ecotourism. As against conventional tourism, rural
tourism has certain typical characteristics: It is experience-oriented; the locations are
sparsely populated; it is predominantly in natural environments; it meshes with
seasonality and local events; and it is based on the preservation of culture, heritage
and traditions."
Not everyone applies such a broad definition. Ecotourism -- which concerns itself
with the preservation of the environment while offering the best to tourists -- is more
fashionable these days. And some in government and the tourism industry would like
to focus on ecotourism rather than rural tourism, which could have a down-market,
rough-it-out connotation. "Ecotourism and rural tourism are not exactly the same but
can be clubbed together for greater benefits," says Md. Jawaid, a former minister in
the eastern state of Bihar who has promoted the website "This
is just an information site now," Jawaid says. "It is a small effort on my part to
promote tourism in the rural areas of India. But we have big plans. The potential is
Rajesh K. Aithal, assistant professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of
Management, Lucknow, has another definition. "Rural tourism is a form of tourism in
which the guests get to enjoy the unique culture of village life through participation in
events, or experiencing the local cuisine, or buying ethnic goods, and in the process
also improve the welfare of the local people."
Two Types of Tourism
Mandip Singh Soin, president of the Ecotourism Society of India, a group of tourism
professionals and environmentalists formed with the Ministry of Tourism's backing,
says the concept can be confusing. "Rural tourism is understood differently in
different parts of the world," he notes. "Ecotourism and rural tourism are the same
only in a sense. They are cousins really. Rural tourism may not necessarily be the
protector and enhancer of conservation. It is much more community-oriented.
Ecotourism is more holistic; all responsible tourism actions come into play."
The difference is best illuminated by a couple of examples. As part of its 2002 plan,
the government partnered with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for
an Endogenous Tourism Project. Some 30 rural sites were selected in 20 states to
develop as destinations for rural tourists. The UNDP pumped in an initial US$2.5
million. The government asked the states and union territories to submit proposals.
Those that were selected were entitled to assistance up to US$100,000.
One of the project's success stories is Hodka village in Gujarat. A village tourism
committee owns and operates the Shaam-e-Sarhad ("Sunset at the Border") Village
Resort. The accommodations are simple. Tourists can stay in tents or traditional mud
huts, known as bhungas. All have attached bathrooms, Western toilets and showers.
The resort can accommodate up to 30 people. Staying in tents costs around US$40 a
night, while the bhungas are more expensive, around US$60 a night. Among the
attractions: specially organized workshops in embroidery and leather work;
interactions with other artisan communities; wildlife including flamingos, pelicans,
foxes and leopards; and nearby archaeological sites of the Indus Valley Civilization.
In January 2008, there was even a pashu mela -- a cattle fair. All this activity has had
to be organized, packaged and sold.
Far away from Hodka, in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, is Mawlynnong.
Neither the UNDP nor the government of India has been involved with this
ecotourism effort's success. Rather, a community effort has made it the poster child of
rural tourism in India. In 2003, Discover India (a magazine published by Media
Transasia along with the Union Ministry of Tourism) anointed it the cleanest village
in Asia. It has retained its charms. "Mawlynnong's reputation for cleanliness has even
earned it a place on the state's tourism map," according to a report by the BBC.
"Hundreds of visitors from all over India now visit the village throughout the year."
Mawlynnong also attracts tourists from around the world.
Both Mawlynnong and Hodka demonstrate a key prerequisite for the success of any
rural tourism project: community involvement. "Going by our experience in setting up
community-owned companies in the rural sector, the outcome depends on a number
of factors, and host communities should be encouraged to play a pivotal role in the
development of rural tourism," says William Bissell, managing director of Fabindia
and author of the recently published Making India Work. Fabindia is a novel
experiment in which rural artisans -- the suppliers to this private retail platform -- are
shareholders in the company.
Community Involvement
The point about community involvement is also made by Mott MacDonald, a global
management, engineering and development consultancy that the Ministry of Tourism
asked to evaluate the rural tourism scheme. Its report, submitted in June 2007 after
five years of operation, says: "In order to make the scheme more meaningful, it is
very important that the sustenance issues be discussed with the community before the
start of the project." Fear of the unknown once was common, but it has disappeared in
the projects undertaken. "Xenophobia has been removed from the minds of the local
people," the report notes.
Before the Ministry of Tourism became involved, this fear of foreigners was just one
of the basic issues that hindered the flow of tourists to the sites chosen by the
government and the UNDP. From the start, the sites had the advantages of historical
importance, craft, culture, cuisine and natural beauty. But hindrances included a lack
of basic infrastructure including sanitation, drinking water and wayside amenities; a
lack of accommodation and food facilities; and a lack of awareness about site
importance and the need for local guides.
Most of the issues have been addressed. "With the intervention of the Ministry of
Tourism, there has been considerable change," the Mott MacDonald report notes.
"The rural tourism scheme has been a valuable vehicle to bring the ultimate rural
stakeholders in touch with the tourism sector to increase employment." The report
continues: "Rural tourism is not the end, but the means to stimulate economic growth,
to increase the viability of underdeveloped locations, and to improve the living
standards of local populations." Adds Bissell of Fabindia: "With proper training and
the infrastructure in place, rural tourism certainly has the potential to generate largescale employment. What we need is commitment and a long-term view."
"The development of a strong platform around the concept of rural tourism is
definitely useful for a country like India, where almost 74% of the population resides
in its seven million villages," the Ministry of Tourism's policy paper notes.
A Nod to the Bottom Line
Yet increasing the bottom line for tourism is equally important. After all, there is a
limit to the number of tourists you can pack into the Taj Mahal and Khajuraho.
Today, with exports plummeting amid the global economic slowdown, tourism has
become a key foreign-exchange earner. According to Ministry of Tourism figures,
foreign-exchange earnings from tourism in 2008 were around US$11 billion, an
increase of 14.4% from 2007. A total of 5.37 million tourists visited India in 2008, an
increase of 5.6% from 2007. But in the first nine months of 2009, foreign tourist
arrivals were down 7.7% from the same period a year earlier. Earnings will also be
down, though those numbers are not yet available.
The government is doing all it can to boost these figures. In October, at a Dubai road
show for its Visit India 2009 tourism campaign, Pronab Sarkar, secretary of the Indian
Association of Tour Operators (IATO), unveiled some highlights for foreign tourists.
Among them: an IATO-sponsored complimentary one-day rural eco-holiday in the
Tour operators are businessmen. Would they be bothered about the larger picture of
rural employment and sustainability? Yes, says Soin of the Ecotourism Society. The
society was set up last year because "we feel we needed to have our tourism sector do
the right thing in terms of responsible tourism actions that would allow for a smaller
tourism footprint ecologically. At the same time, we wanted to look at how tourism
can get its dollars to flow down the supply chain more equitably and involve the local
communities to be partners in tourism operations. We also want to be the watchdog of
tourism in the country."
Soin responds to criticism that rural tourism exploits poor people in the villages and
damages the environment. "This is not correct," he says. "Most revenues are being
earned and kept at the village level so it goes into the pockets of the villagers either as
direct individual earnings or collective cooperative efforts. In fact, in areas like [the
northeastern state of] Nagaland, where the ecology was being damaged by village lads
hunting rare pheasants, the trend got reversed when they saw the opportunity for
earning money as guides showing these pheasants to bird watchers." Adds Aithal of
IIM: "A well-executed rural tourism project has the potential of becoming a win-win
proposition both for the tourist and the villagers."
There is a lot of potential for rural tourism in India, Aithal notes. "'Rural' as an entity
is fast disappearing, especially in the developed world. Even for young urban Indians,
rural would be something that they would want to connect to." Adds Jawaid of "Both Indians and foreigners can be targeted." For the moment,
however, it's the foreign tourist who is being wooed. "Initially, the target will be
foreigners as this is a novelty for them," Soin says. "It may not be that novel an
experience for Indians. Indians demand more comfort in lodging and are less prone to
roughing it out."
"Rural tourism is in its nascent stage in India," Aithal notes. "But it will grow. There
is a huge market out there. The experience of many countries shows that rural tourism
can be seen as an alternate source of livelihood and employment. The main problems
with rural tourism are the same as with any rural development project. Can you scale
up these projects? Can you replicate them? And how do you make these projects stand
on their own without money being pumped in from outside? For this you need very
strong village-level institutions, which can take up the execution once the project has
been initiated."
According to Fabindia's Bissell, "If sites are selected with care, on the basis of
potential and core competency, and the project implementation focuses as much on
the 'software' aspects of human development along with the 'hardware' of capacity
building and infrastructure development, there is every reason to anticipate a positive
outcome. As a multi-sectoral activity, using multiple services provided by a range of
suppliers, rural tourism is an area where a strong public-private partnership is of
prime importance, particularly given the number of ministries beyond tourism -- for
example, rural development, culture, environment and tribal welfare -- that could be
Government tourism initiatives in developing countries have been applauded by
tourism scholars as a means of assisting a private sector that has insufficient resources
and assuring public control of the industry's future. This article reviews the tourism
development experience of seven South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldive Republic) on five policy options: public versus
private tourism development; domestic versus international tourism; class versus mass
tourism; centralization versus decentralization; and integrated versus enclave tourism.
All of the governments in the region have been involved in tourism development to
some degree, but they have shown considerable variation in their responses to these
policy choices. Which choices are made by a specific country, it is suggested, will
depend as much on political and cultural considerations as upon economic factors.
Within a context of global trade liberalisation and constrained national budgets,
agriculture in many countries has proved incapable of sustaining household
livelihoods an d socio-economic development in rural areas. The post-war industrial
success of several Asian countries has suggested various alternatives for rural
development, including tourism for domestic and possibly foreign visitors. After
outlining the economic characteristics of rural tourism and its policies, this paper
reviews the evolution of government policies in this area in East Asia, including the
establishment of "tourist farms" and "pilot scheme" villages in Korea since the 1980s.
A field survey of some 200 Korean village leaders and others, undertaken in 2004, is
reported as to the attitudes of this policy clientele towards the tourist potential of their
own villages, and ways of exploiting this potential. On this basis, conclusions are
drawn as to future policies in this area, taking into account the capabilities of the rural
population in East Asian countries, and the need for and scope of governmental
Community Based Tourism - is a unique feature of, being developed in
collaboration with partners such as the "Rabat Malik" Association of Travelers of
Uzbekistan, tourism development projects of UNDP, Europa House, and other
partners in various places, will allow you to visit various families and even to live
with people in their homes, in towns, villages and also in nomads yurts in the desert.
People, living in Uzbekistan are friendly and genuine, and the bringing in of tourists
to visit and experience local families' houses is aimed at creative work, exchange of
culture and traditions, and creating friendly relationships between tourists and local
people. When such warm relations are established, the hearts of people are opened
and they are prepared for any creative work. During hard times it is essential for all of
us. Locals know every path in the mountains and can guide you on hikes to the
waterfalls, mountain lakes, caves and to little-known places.
Guests will be trained to ride horses, milk cows, mow grass by hand, knead dough,
spin fibers, and many other practical skills, without which life in the villages is not
Upon guests' wishes, the receiving family will accompany you to the forest to collect
mushrooms, berries, nuts and herbs, and you will be offered tours to discover the
culture, custom and lifestyle of the indigenous population, treated to national cuisine
prepared from ecologically pure products. Community Based Tourism is available
year round, and offers guests interesting programs for vacations with a rural focus
during any season.
To us, it is very important that rural tourism contributes to improving the living
conditions of the receiving families. The participation of local inhabitants in tourism
raises their interest and motivation in the preservation of custom and the environment.
No one except the people living here can improve it. This kind of motivation is
extremely important at the moment, as Nature worldwide is suffering from the impact
of human civilization.
Rural tourism was officially recognised as a tourist sub-branch in 1998, but the
Lithuanian government started to actively support the sector in 2003. The government
paid serious attention to the fact that the number of Lithuanians who preferred
spending their holidays in farmsteads all around the country rose from 120 000 2001
to 164 000 in 2002. Bear in mind that the country has a population of only three
The government contributed significantly to promoting this type of business among
locals through campaigns and financial assistance. Surprisingly, the financial support
from the EU to develop rural tourism was very small. By 2003, no more than ˆ600
000 was allocated through the EU SAPARD and PHARE programmes to rural
tourism in Lithuania. After Lithuania’s accession to the EU, less than ˆ3 million was
given to this sector.
Then how is it possible that rural tourism in Lithuania turned out to be so successful
and profitable? The keywords here are “local initiatives” and “good organisation”.
Lithuanian rural tourism is still based on family business initiatives. Most of the 500
farmsteads in the country are run by local families. The year 2003, that saw the
beginning of the peak in rural tourism development, coincided with the decrease of
the interest rate on business and mortgage loans in Lithuania to a reasonable 5 to 6 per
cent. Instead of relying on governmental and EU support, almost 500 Lithuanian
families who owned houses in the countryside took bank loans and established their
own rural tourism site. In 1998, the existing farmsteads united in a Countryside
Tourism Association.
The Lithuanian Countryside Tourism Association and the economy ministry’s tourism
department have been doing much to popularise rural tourism. In the past five years,
the department has presented Lithuania as an attractive destination at more than 200
international conferences and exhibitions. In 2005 the Lithuanian Rural Tourism
Association signed agreements with peer organisations in Estonia, Latvia, the Czech
Republic, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Belarus. In 2009, the first Lithuanian tourism
informational centre will be opened in China. Other priority targets are Japan, the
United Kingdom, France and Spain.
Currently, most rural tourism farmsteads in the country are self-sustaining. The price
of a rural tourism vacation varies from ˆ20 to ˆ30 a day, rarely more, so providers rely
not on high prices but on the number of tourists. Renting an entire bathhouse for a
weekend costs ˆ300, regardless of the number of visitors. Farmstead owners need not
worry about lack of tourists – interest in Lithuanian rural tourism is so intense that
one needs to book a vacation at least three months in advance. Until 2007, members
of the Countryside Tourism Association complained that government financial
support was insufficient – in 2002 only 27 private providers received assistance
through the Phare programme. However, for the period 2007 to 2013, about 4.4 per
cent of EU Structural Funds are to be allocated to the tourism sector, with rural
tourism on the list. The Lithuanian government supports rural tourism not only by
providing funding but through developing a legal framework favourable to the tourist
business. Compulsory classification of accommodation establishments has been
introduced, which resulted in improved quality of services. At the same time, VAT
paid by tourist service providers was reduced from 15 to 5 per cent.
The ‘Train the Trainer’ module in rural entrepreneurship was launched in Athlone
Institute of Technology (AIT), Ireland on the 27th May 2010. At an international
gathering of the Rural Tourism International Training Network the module was
launched by the President of Athlone Institute of Technology, Professor Ciarán Ó
This training module is unique in a number of different ways, mostly because the
team that developed the module are from various organisational backgrounds and
countries. This team of academics and rural development agencies have worked
together to improve the standard of training available in rural areas for enterprise
development beyond the remit their normal daily duties. It was also unique to have
the experience of defending this training module in front of an academic council in
Athlone Institute of Technology. This was done in the spirit of partnership and as a
team which worked well together.
This accredited ‘train the trainer’ rural entrepreneurship module will provide a
vocational education training which will embody the competences of rural
entrepreneurship and establishes clear guidelines on the competences of an effective
rural entrepreneur trainer. We will continue to seek accreditation in the remaining
partner countries and will endeavour to raise awareness about this course as tool for
rural development accross the EU and beyond.
Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin complimented the work of the partnership and highlighted
the core thinking behind this module by saying that; ‘At the heart of this Train the
Trainer module is recognition of the needs of rural entrepreneurs for short, focused
training programmes to develop the knowledge, capabilities and skills of their staff.
By equipping rural entrepreneurs to offer training to their own local communities it
invokes a powerful model of peer-to-peer learning. Such an approach is cognisant of
the learning which people do everyday in their jobs and builds on that experiential
We are interested in attracting further interest from potential partners whom may wish
to have this course delivered in their area. Initially we hope that this training may
prove to be attractive to LEADER companies. We will add some case study
examples of how rural entrepreneurs in Ireland and Quebec, Canada have benefited
from pilot versions of this programme todate (in coming days).
Tourism in Asia is in a thriving condition. Every country is involved in promoting
tourism in a big way. Tourism has become a top priority of the economic agenda of
all the countries. For example, if in Malaysia tourism is the top revenue generating
sector, in India tourism is slowly getting due focus taking into account the country's
rich heritage and cultural tradition. However, a review of the tourism trends in Asia
clearly indicates that while economic considerations have reigned supreme, the social
aspects are not being given due importance as far as the strategic tourism
considerations are considered. Tourism it appears is developing an elitist bias as
broadening of its social base with participation from all sections of the society is
clearly not visible. The important role of participatory and community based
organisations like cooperatives in promoting tourism has yet to be recognised. As a
result, the concepts like "sustainable tourism", "peace through tourism", "poverty
reduction through tourism", ‘community tourism’, etc. which can best be
implemented through participatory institutions have yet to be popularised in a big
The cooperatives in Asia in the recent years have diversified themselves into various
areas of socio-economic activities. The cooperative model in the Asian countries is
considered a strong force for solving the various socio-economic problems. The
failure of the public sector and various limitations of the private sector have
compelled the policy-makers to pin their faiths on the cooperative system. For certain
activities/areas, the success of which is based on the ability of the grassroot
institutions to tackle them with their participatory and people-based approach, the
cooperatives are considered to have an advantage over other organisations. For
example, in India the cooperatives are considered most effective organisations in the
field of rural insurance. Similarly, because of their vast network and reach, the
cooperatives are considered best promoters for rural electrification in India. The
cooperatives in Asia have yet to recognise the importance of tourism despite the rapid
growth of tourism sector in Asia. Following are the main reasons : Lack of definite
data base on the number of cooperatives involved in the field of tourism, inability to
highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the ones which are present, etc. Inability to
analyse the changing socio-economic dimensions of tourism sector in Asia, and
demarcate the areas in which cooperatives have a strategic advantage over other forms
of organisations. Lack of policy research in this field which can provide definite
indicators for future. For example, it is generally agreed that taking into account the
growing tourism sector in India and the presence of strong network of Indian
cooperatives, there is lack of policy research in this field which can show a way ahead
for definite policy initiatives. Inability to strategically link the cooperative sector
with the tourism sector in those countries in which tourism is in a boom. For example,
in Malaysia and Thailand, tourism has emerged as a big force. But, the cooperative
sector has yet to come up strongly in this field. Inability of the cooperatives to extend
their areas of operations or activities in the field of tourism. For example, some of the
sectoral Asian cooperatives are in a best position to incorporate tourism in their
agenda, which is not being done. For example, the dairy cooperatives in Asia should
think of linking tourism in their activities, or promote tourism cooperatives
exclusively. The, dairy cooperatives in India have ushered in milk revolution in the
country. They have empowered the masses in the rural areas to trigger off a milk
revolution. They have developed milk brands which speak of cooperative supremacy.
The areas which are strong-holds of cooperative milk sector can be promoted in a big
way as hot tourist spots. Similarly, the school cooperatives in Malaysia are very
strong. Taking into account the buoyant condition of tourism in Malaysia and the
vibrancy of school cooperative sector, how can tourism be promoted through
cooperatives in a big way?
Weak advocacy for tourism promotion is also a big hindrance. Holding of Advocacy
conferences by the cooperatives in the area of cooperative tourism can set the ball
rolling in a big way and create a conducive atmosphere for tourism promotion. This
can also establish links, with other international tourism organisations who have to be
sensitised on the cooperative agenda. However, due to lack of awareness, this is not
being done at present. Similarly, lack of development of cooperative literature in the
field of cooperative tourism is also a sign of weak advocacy. There is also lack of
documentation of few successful models of cooperative tourism in the Region.
Starting in 1904, the Indian Cooperative Movement has made rapid strides in all the
areas of socio-economic activities. The cooperative concept has worked wonders in
India. Today there are more than 5 lakh cooperative societies with a membership of
23 crores and working capital of Rs. 198.542 million. The cooperative credit
institutions are disbursing 46.15% of agricultural credit and cooperatives are
distributing 36.22% of total fertilisers in the country. The share of cooperatives in
production of sugar is 59% and they cover 55% of the handlooms. The cooperative
networking and reach is so vast that the cooperatives cover 100% of total villages and
75% of the rural households. The cooperative movement is the world’s largest
movement, India's economic reforms have given a big push to tourism sector.
Tourism is today projected as an engine of economic growth and an instrument for
eliminating poverty, solving unemployment problem, opening up new fields of
activity and the uplifted of women. New opportunities are being tapped to promote
eco, adventure, rural, postage, wildlife and health and herbal including medical
tourism. The Indian Government is now considering Rural Tourism as one of the
thrust areas. Keeping into account the strength of Indian cooperatives it wants that
cooperatives should come up in the field of Rural Tourism as the cooperatives cover
100% of the villages in the country. The UNDP- Ministry of Tourism Project on
Tourism talks about strong community–private and public sector partnership for
boosting rural tourism in the country. The Indian cooperatives due to their immense
reach and wide network are strategically well positioned to take a leading role in the
field of Rural Tourism.
The methodologies and research strategy outlined here provides a very basic summary
of the brand research and strategy data collection and methods carried out by Orient
Pacific Century on behalf of our clients over several years. However results, though
correct at the time of collection, are now several years old and are provided as
examples only of the sort of information that can inform brand and marketing
decisions. They should be seen as historical data only.
We are indebted to the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board for permission to publish
this much of this data, carried out as part of a project on branding Malaysian tourism
carried out in 1998. Other data provided is sourced from our own self-funded
research. We are also grateful to the continued support of the Tourism Authority of
Thailand and two other government tourism boards who cannot be named for
competitive intelligence reasons at this time. The combined experience and
knowledge gained from all of these sources has contributed to this series though
obviously current competitive intelligence information cannot be disclosed due to the
proprietary nature of this data.
The first article below provides an introduction on basic tourism trends and why
professional branding is important to competitive advantage. It also provides data on
brand recognition and recall of Asia Pacific destinations amongst travelers from
several European, North American and Asian nations from a 1998 study.
Asian Tourism Trends
Tourism is one of the major industries for many Asian countries, attracting sometimes
much-needed foreign exchange, and stimulating economic development in industries
from hospitality, construction, property development, transportation, and retail, to a
mass of spin-off small business areas such as currency exchange, restaurants and bars,
and tour operations. Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand remain the "stars" of the
Asian tourism destination brands, but competition is high as country brands such as
Malaysia, Indo-China, South Korea, China, Philippines and Indonesia move to
increase their brand recognition and brand power.
While in times past, Asian destinations were able to market themselves on attributes
of exotic cultures and value for money, the last decade or even last 5 years has seen
major competitive threats, both from other Asia Pacific competitive destinations, and
with the growing affordability of air travel, from destinations ex-Asia.
At present the industry as a whole is characterised by a varied list of significant
trends, suggesting many threats and opportunities.
These include:
The increase in perceptions of terrorist threat, embodied most graphically in
Bali, but present both before the bombings in Kuta and after in a more
escalated form for all countries, especially in South East Asia. Presently
however, incoming tourist figures seem to be less affected than even the more
optimistic estimates. Bali's tourism industry was of course hit badly
immediately following the blast, but even in Bali, recovery has been faster
than many predicted. Most significantly, it has been US domestic tourism that
has been most affected worldwide, and while US incoming tourism has seen
some retraction, inter-Asian tourism has been less affected.
China is already the largest out-going tourist market in the region, and the
increase in mainland Chinese tourists to international destinations is a trend
that will increase in the foreseeable future. Asian countries, especially those
with large populations of ethnic Chinese like Singapore and Malaysia, have
upped their promotion to the mainland Chinese market.
New campaigns from relative market newcomers such as India, South Korea,
New Zealand, Egypt, and the Philippines have been launched in the past few
years, competing with mainstays Australia, Hawaii, Singapore, Thailand and
International trends in eco-tourism, luxury exclusive off the beaten track
tourism, and increasing grey tourism from such places as Europe, Japan and
South Korea.
Thailand, in the wake of it's successful "Amazing Thailand" brand faces a
double edged sword, being able to boast some of the highest incoming tourist
counts but the lowest expenditure per traveler of any major Asian country
destination. Some of this should be expected of course given Thailand's
relative low living costs and wage rates, and even more expenditure is hidden
with much income disappearing into the cash, black and informal economy.
A trend to "sharing" tourism, with countries cooperating in offering packages
spanning several countries, increasing value and synergies both to the
customer and each economy.
With the complexity and complexity of the inbound tourism market increasing
annually, positioning and brand image is becoming more and more essential to
successful branding of Asian tourist destinations.
The importance of branding to tourism
Every tourist destination in the world has a "brand image". If developed carefully the
brand serves to differentiate a destination from competing destinations. However
some destinations do not have a brand strategy, and are supported by inconsistent
advertising campaigns, creating a confused image to prospective customers. Image
must be controlled by a clear projection of brand identity.
When consumers decide on a destination for a holiday or a business conference,
several "brands" compete for their attention. A strong brand is differentiated from
others, has several strong advantages when compared to others, and has an attractive
appeal to consumers. In tourism, while factors such as cost of travel, convenience, and
quality of facilities are important, the strongest motivator is "image". Image puts a
destination on the consumer's "shopping list" and creates an emotional appeal, which
enhances that destination's chances of being chosen over others.
Our work on branding tourist destinations, has enabled us to identify the "brands" of
various tourist destinations at various time points. For example, in a survey in 1998
commissioned by the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board, Singapore was seen, by a
broad selection of travelers and tourist agents from the US, Japan, India, Germany,
Australia, UK and Sweden as "clean, modern and safe". China's dominant image and
attraction was "culture". Malaysia was seen as "multicultural with many beaches".
Thailand had a brand image of "exotic, fun, and friendly people"
Formal advertising and promotion of a country as a tourist destination in other nations
can also have an effect. If that image is unfocused or not clear, the destination will
have difficulty competing with images created by competing countries. Advertising,
PR and promotion must complement informal information obtained through word of
mouth and personal recommendations, by either building upon the latter or correcting
negative perceptions that may be incorrect.
Developing a strong image for any brand requires a carefully planned brand strategy
based on:
A well defined and unique brand personality
Selection of the correct positioning strategies
'Themed' product development
Consistent and appropriate advertising and promotion
Careful brand guardianship
All the above must be built on a thorough understanding of consumer needs. Above
all, the success of brand image development will depend on how the perceptions of
consumers can be encouraged to believe that one destination is different and better
than its competitors. This encourages consumer acquisition and retention, including
extending length of stay.
The awareness of Asia Pacific travel destinations using unaided recall from a face-toface personal survey of counter staff employees in 190 travel agent companies in
Australia, Japan, US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Singapore, India and Japan specialising
in Asian region travel in 1998. Please note the historical nature of the data and the
location of respondents. This information should not be generalised to the world as a
whole at this time, and is provided for a discussion starter only. You should also be
aware that there were large differences according to the country location of each
travel agent - information which remains confidential to the client.
Interesting to note is the high top of mind recall for Thailand as the first destination
recalled. Over 50% of respondents recalled a Thailand destination first, either as the
country itself or one of Bangkok, Phuket or Pattaya, reflecting for strong awareness
for Thailand as a destination. Singapore, Hong Kong and Bali were the top 3
destinations in terms of awareness.
Interviewing travel agent counter staff is a cost-effective way of estimating brand
awareness for tourist destinations as they are "gatekeepers", and likely to emphasise
their own "top of mind" awareness to customers. They are also more able to
summarise the perceptions of their customers due to their day to day duties - to a
larger extent than supervisors or managers who are more distanced from the end-user.
However their perception can also be affected by specific current industry-to-agent
promotions and the scope and commercial interests of their employers. When a travel
agent respondent mentioned a destination in their own country, that data point was
excluded from the analysis for this graph.
There are several other biases in the methodology that must be taken into account in
interpretation. Firstly the survey was conducted at the peak of Thailand's "Amazing
Thailand" campaign. Secondly, the actual question was "Could you let me know what
destination comes to your mind first when I ask you to think of tourist destinations in
the Asia-Pacific?", followed by follow up questions to note 2nd and further recalls.
The wording of the question would suggest that destinations in Asia, rather than the
more vague "Pacific" moniker would come to mind first, so Hawaii, Guam, Australia,
New Zealand, and other "non-Asian" destinations may have their "awareness"
In this case, the "top of mind" dominance for Thailand destinations was not as
pronounced, though Thailand (as a country destination only) did move up to third
place following Singapore and Hong Kong as a member of the dominant group. Also
interesting was the stronger brand recall for China compared to travel agents.
Unaided brand recall data, especially when segmented by country of origin, gender,
type of contributed (single, family, honeymoon, MICE, gender, and usage categories
such as travel expenditure, travel frequency and travel duration) can provide useful
basic data for estimating competitive positioning and developing market segmentation
Tourism as an industry has been flourishing and growing since time immemorial, but it
which scattered its benefits over large segments of the population has been in the last
few decades that specific attention has started to be given to this smokeless industry.
Tourism has emerged as an important as well as organized industry.India republic,
known universally as the abode of gods, is one of such states of Indiawhich offers
variety of experiences to the tourist. Tourism needs variety and Uttaranchal has varied
tourism products which satisfy the needs and demands of almost every class
ofvisitors. But, despite of various resources and potential of satisfying the needs and
motives of almost every class of visitor, the state of Uttaranchal have not been able to
attract more and more tourists, particularly international tourists, to their shores?
Thepresent study “promotional strategies of tourism industry in Uttaranchal state of
India”aims to study promotional strategies of tourism industry of Uttaranchal. This
works alsoaims to study tourism industry in India and its problem in general and
Uttaranchal inparticular; to focus light on the scope of tourism sectors in Uttaranchal
and explore thenew avenues of the tourism industry; to study tourist motivators;
tourist profile andproblem and opportunities with respect accommodation,
accessibility, attractions andamenities; to study the infrastructural facilities and
tourism avenues in Uttaranchal. Inaddition, this study also aims to suggest measures
to make tourism economically viableand ecologically sustainable and suggest
appropriate and effective promotional strategyfor promoting tourism in Uttaranchal.
In order to achieve these objectives the data hasbeen collected from primary as well as
secondary sources. For the purpose of study, theprimary data were collected through a
pre-structured questionnaire from two respondent groups. Respondent group 1
consisting of 150 foreign tourists and 200 domestic tourists and respondents group 2
consisting of 110 hoteliers and 35 travel agents. Besides, inorder to focus light on
promotional measure taken by state government, the officials of UTDB has also been
interviewed personally. Secondary sources used for this study are-tourism statistics
compiled and collected by officials of tourism office, Dehradun; India Tourism
statistics, Ministry of tourism Government of India and some news paper reportswere
also taken into account.
It has been observed that both GMVN and KMVN uses various audiovisualdocumentation, publishing maps, brochures and other related literatures.
GMVN also organizes a seven days yoga meditation festival on the bank of holy
Ganges at Rishikesh from February 1to 7 every year in association with state
government tourism ministry and sponsored organization from private sector.
Uttaranchal tourism development board(UTDB) has launched the interactive website,
CD Rom; published various literature including books and brochuresdepicting tourist
places, advertised the tourism product nationally as well asinternationally and so on.
Besides, publicity campaign on electronic media hasbeen launched, various
Uttaranchal Utsavs in Delhi and Chennai has been organized and above all they have
also participated as partner state in various national and international tourism events.
In order to promote tourism internationally, international public relations agency has
been appointed by UTDB; tourism marketing group (TMGI) has been engaged for
European publicity for the last three-four years and so on. UTDB has also participated
in various international fairs organized by different countries of the world. Some of
them are WTM in London; ATM in Dubai; ITB in Berlin and PATA in Kuala
Lumpur. As discussed and analyzed that participation of other supported tourism
industry is equally important in the promotion of tourism. The primary surveys of
hotelier and travel agents or tour operators have revealed that most of the hoteliers
and travel agents or tour operators promote their product through advertisement and
sales promotion technique. As far as the advertisement media is concerned it was
found that most of the hotelier and travel agent their product as well as destination in
books, internet, signboards followed by newspaper and magazines. Radio, television
and brochures are the least used advertising media. As far as sales promotion
techniques are concerned the survey has revealed that discount and gift packages are
not only used by most of the tourism industry but also regarded as effective technique.
Strategies to Enhance Competitiveness of Indian Tourism Industry
Indian Tourism appreciated the importance of promotion and launched the ‘Incredible
India’ campaign which is credited for successfully promoting, selling, repositioning
and revitalizing the brand – ‘India’, through world class promotion campaigns and
effective selling strategies conducted under its umbrella. Even at domestic level the
State Tourism Development Corporations (STDCs) are now promoting their
respective states to attract domestic tourists like never before and the good results are
evident from the increasing number of tourists (foreign and domestic) coming
in.However, just ‘pushing’ India to the world and focusing only on increasing the
tourist inflow is not addressing the competitiveness issue of Indian Tourism Industry,
because for that, it is necessary to have ‘satisfied customers’. Indian Tourism Industry
has neglected ‘customer satisfaction and retention’ to a large extent and it is visible
through little use of market research to measure and evaluate the following and other
identical issues which elaborate on the satisfaction levels of existing tourists:
Are tourists visiting destinations in India, going back ‘satisfied’ with the overall
‘travel experience’?
Do tourists actually find India as it is showcased in its Promotions?
What is the probability of their recommending India to their counterparts back home?
Considering the problems mentioned above, prima-facie it can be said that - on basis
of‘expectation – disconfirmation theory’, it is more likely that tourists’ expectations
are being negatively disconfirmed in India.
Effective Market Research to ‘Understand Tourists’ – A case of Mauritius Tourism
Conducting extensive market research to know about the desired destination attributes
and tourists’ satisfaction might be one part of the overall ‘competitiveness
enhancement strategy’ for Indian Tourism Industry.
In this context a research undertaken by Mauritius Tourism can serve as a model. It
conducted a year long survey at their main airport and covered all tourists of their
target market, at the time when they were leaving the country.
This research provided them critical insights about the experience and aspirations of
their target market which helped in further boosting up their bread and butter industry
by making it more attractive and pleasurable for those who matter. India can replicate
the model after making obvious adaptations.
Restructuring ‘Organization Structure’ and ‘Planning Framework’ –
Beginning from the top level, in order to be competitive, a competitive ‘organizational
structure’ and ‘planning framework’ are a prerequisite. Structural setup at the top of
Indian Tourism Industry is not sufficiently business / industry oriented and is
adversely affecting the all important work of framing the plans, policies and
guidelines, which then affect the implementation of the same at the lower levels.
The adverse affects are visible in the structure and working of the government owned
establishments in this industry (tourist bungalows, hotels, railways and other
transport, HR in TDC, destination management etc) who do not seem to belong to this
Thailand tourism
The global financial crisis and Thailand's
political turmoil that have been going on since
late 2008 have resulted in a decline in the
number of inbound tourists, with a decrease of
16% in the first half of 2009. The greatest
decline included visitors from Northeast Asia,
with a drop of more than 30%, followed by the
Americas and Oceania. The ASEAN and
Europe markets were affected only slightly, while South Asia and the Middle East
were able not only to maintain their market base but to show actual growth.
Marketing Trend
Since August 2009, tourism in Thailand has been showing clear signs of recovery.
The number of tourists declined by only 5% in August and switched to a growth of
more than 10% in September and October. This dramatic increase continued until the
end of 2009. The number of tourists arriving via Suvarnabhumi International Airport
between November and mid-December 2009 increased nearly 40%. Charter flights
from Europe and Asia to major tourism destinations including Phuket and Koh Samui
grew significantly during November and December. From September, there were
clear signs of recovery and normalization in all adversely affected markets.
Factors supporting the recovery of the Thai tourism market include:
The recovery of the global economy in the third quarter of 2009 was stronger
than expected and marked by increased consumer confidence;
The Thai political situation became more stable. Despite rumours of conflicts,
no major incidents occurred, further restoring confidence in Thailand;
The less-than-feared severity of the flu outbreak from early 2009 increased
tourist confidence;
The government's economic stimulus measures, such as the exemption of visa
fees and reduced takeoff and landing fees, helped/benefited operators
promoting Thai tourism;
Marketing campaigns implemented by TAT since July 2009 included:
• Restoring Thailand's image to enhance confidence among travellers;
• Advertisements promoting value-for-money visits to Thailand;
• Roadshows that provided accurate information about the situation in
Thailand to senior officials of many governments and tourism
• Stimulus measures that boosted travel including the Partners on
Demand project designed to encourage partners to offer Thailand
travel programmes and sales promotional advertisements under the
Amazing Thailand, Amazing Value concept.
All of the above activities helped stimulate the travel market going forward
from August 2009.
Tourism 2009
Given Thailand’s/TAT’s tourism promotion initiatives and the recovery of the world
economy, TAT estimates that the number of international tourists for 2009 came close
to 14 million, down only 4% compared to 2008.
Tourism Forecast for 2010
The situation for the Thai tourism industry is expected to be more favourable in 2010,
as long as no major political crisis occurs. The economic situation of individual
countries continues to be the major factor influencing the growth of each target
market. TAT expects the number of international tourists to grow at around 7 to 10%
to approximately 15.0 to 15.5 million in 2010.
When considering economic trends and aviation links to key regions, TAT has
identified/will be focusing on three key market groups:
Group 1: This includes the ASEAN member countries, South Asia, France, the
United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Iran, Kuwait, and Jordan. Countries in this
group are ready to expand and increase their market share, as they have shown
positive economic trends throughout 2009 and have had with especially strong
market expansion towards the end of 2009. International flights between these
countries and Thailand are expected to increase in 2010, both on existing
routes and new routes coming on line. In every market, TAT will focus on
using a protection strategy for the leisure market. A Customer Relationship
Management (CRM) strategy will be used in Europe.
For the ASEAN market, TAT will focus on Thailand as a holiday break destination by
reinforcing Thailand’s unique selling points of value and shopping. A quality strategy
will be used for the Middle East and South Asia markets. In the Middle East, Thailand
will be branded as a destination offering quality, value and variety, as well as focusing
on the health market. For the South Asia market, road shows will be arranged to
address new segments and highlight specific target markets, such as/including golfers.
Group 2: The key markets in this group are Oceania, Scandinavia, Germany,
Russia and Vietnam. This group includes existing markets where the
economic situation is likely to be stable or to decline slightly in 2010, and are
not expected to show the same levels of growth seen at the end of 2009. The
number of flights to these markets is expected to remain at the current level or
decrease slightly during 2010. TAT's goal for these markets is to try and
maintain existing levels. The strategy is to focus on quality market expansion
in the form of market cooperation with partners outside the travel and tourism
industry. These include financial institutions to expand the high-end market as
well as stimulate the non-seasonal leisure tourist market.
Group 3: This group includes Northeast Asia, the Americas, Singapore and the
United Arab Emirates (UAE). TAT's goal for this group is to revive a stagnant
market base. The number of arrivals from these countries showed the greatest
decline during 2009, mainly resulting from a loss of confidence in Thailand as
a safe destination, but exacerbated by the severe economic downturn. In 2010,
the economic status of these countries should return to normal. Flights, which
declined in number during the market slowdown, are now maintaining stable
levels. These factors are expected to help bring back market growth to a
normal level in 2010. The rate at which these markets will solidify and grow
depends upon the economic condition of each country. TAT will maintain
these markets by protecting the leisure market and highlighting value-formoney offerings. The Americas market will also be promoted through the
network of overseas Thais, online marketing channels, and roadshows for new
travel segments.
Domestic Tourism Market in 2009
The domestic tourism market was not particularly affected by the political situation. It
was more influenced by the economic slowdown and fluctuating oil prices in the first
and second quarters of 2009. Local travellers have changed their travelling habits, are
more conscious of travel expenses, and are tending to visit tourist destinations closer
to home. The 2009 flu outbreak also appears to have significantly affected Phuket,
with a 10 to 15% decline in the number of Thai visitors.
Changing Trends in the Thai Tourism Market
Signs of economic recovery are reflected in an upturn in the Thai domestic tourism
sector, which was at its lowest ebb during the economic downturn in the second
quarter. The tourism situation has since improved, and became much more robust in
the fourth quarter. Factors giving rise to this included: Increased confidence in the
economy leading to increased consumer spending on travel, especially on low-cost
Private sector sales promotions to mobilize tourism at the end of 2009, and the
introduction of low-cost flights between Udon Thani and Phuket;
Activities organized in all regions by the private sector since May toencourage
domestic travel in the five regions which all received significant response.
They included the Thai Tourism Festival, the Amazing Tastes of Thailand
promotional campaign, Ruam Jai Pak Rak Po Luang, the International Balloon
Festival, and train tours under the Tour by Train is Fun campaign;
Measures to boost tourism by the government sector, such as promoting
conventions and educational and study trips within the country, and measures
to extend public holidays into more consecutive days.
Estimate for Domestic Tourism by the End of 2009
With TAT collaborating with the private sector during the ongoing economic
recovery, it is estimated that there will be about 87 million trips with income from
tourism reaching the target of 407,600 million baht.
Marketing Trend for 2010
The Thai economy is showing signs of continuous growth for 2010. In the last quarter
of 2009, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board
predicted the economy would grow at 3 to 4% due to the global economic recovery
and the government's Thai Khem Khaeng (‘Making Thailand Stronger’) economic
stimulus programme. Rising consumer confidence will result in increasing domestic
tourists. This trend was evident in the Amazing Thailand Amazing Value campaign at
the end of 2009, which is continuing into the 2010 tourism season and attracting more
operators. Thai tourists have responded positively, with a great number contacting the
TAT Call Centre and TAT offices to get information when tourism promotional
activities were introduced. Another factor that will support domestic tourism in 2010
will be the extension of holidays in April and August.
Sales promotion activities will also be used for tourism marketing in 2010. These
include the Thai Tourism Festival, Amazing Two Coasts, Amazing lsan Fair and One
Night One Price campaigns. Other tourism activities will be tailored to specific
lifestyles and interests, such as train tours, tourism for senior citizens, golf
tournaments, tourism with pets and creative music festivals. New tourist attractions
and activities that reflect the culture and style of a particular region will also be
introduced. For 2010, the target for tourism will be 90 million trips, an increase of
3.38%, with income from tourism expected to reach 430,000 million baht, an increase
of 5.5%.
ASEAN Tourism Forum in Brunei witnesses launch of new Southeast Asia Tourism
At the ongoing ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) held in Brunei (January 21-28, 2010),
ten Southeast Asian countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) officially launched a new
tourism campaign built around the slogan, Southeast Asia: feel the warmth.The new
campaign, along with, will target tourists in medium and long haul
markets such as the UK, Australia, India, North America and Hong Kong, and will
emphasise Southeast Asia's hospitality and climate, as well as diversity of the region's
cultural attractions and tourism activities. His Excellency Pehin Dato Yahya, Minister
of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei informed ASEAN Tourism Forum
delegates and media that the new campaign had been built on four principles, First,
the fact that 'Southeast Asia' has greater recognition in international source markets
than 'ASEAN'. Second, the trust that online consumer now puts in meta-search tools
and user-generated content
In 2007, the CWG 2010 Organising Committee (OC) made a SWOT analysis of the
Games as part of its planning exercise. Listed prominently in the opportunities section
was a clear statement of belief that the Games would "present the image of India as an
emerging economic power and Delhi as a global business hub" . Drawing a definite
link with India's vocal ambitions of becoming a major global power, the planners also
highlighted the connections between the city's sporting history and its recent
evolution. The sales pitch for Delhi's bid took care to present the city's post-1947
history as one that had chugged along on the engines of the two Asian Games it has
hosted. According to this view, the 1951 Delhi Asiad - the first ever - was central to
the original nationalist project. It led to the creation of new sporting infrastructure as
well as a "future plan to guide the country..." This was the strand that linked it directly
to 1982. As the bid document boasted, the 1982 Asiad turned Delhi into a "changed
and modern city" with "one of the swankiest stadia in the world".
The Asiad had fundamentally changed Delhi and its skyline: 10 stadiums, 13 new
sporting venues, numerous flyovers - necessary and unnecessary - new and upgraded
hotels. As the 2010 bid document put it: "Along with the spires and heritage buildings
piercing the skyline rose gargantuan structures, the modern arenas of fierce yet
friendly sporting contests." The latest Games in Delhi may not yield anything with
such a farreaching impact, but its planners certainly believe that it will provide a takeoff point for jumpstarting India's capital into the league of the world's best developed
In fact, not since the 1982 Asian Games have the Central government's coffers opened
up for Delhi like they have for this event. The refurbishment of Delhi would have
unfolded at its own pace had the Commonwealth Games not come to the city.
Going by the sheer number of construction sites - Delhi is getting 26 flyovers - the
city is expected to completely change come September 2010. The biggest chunk of
the Delhi government's budget on the Games is being spent on general infrastructure
projects: Rs 6,920 crore on flyovers, railway bridges and road widening; Rs 16,887
crore on metro connectivity and Rs 35,000 crore on new power generation plants. The
first two categories are the most visible aspects of the remaking of Delhi, as anyone
who has driven anywhere in the city in the past five years would testify.
In 1982, Delhi got seven new flyovers - some of them unnecessary at the time - and
widened 290 kilometers of roads. It redesigned 50 intersections, developed 19 areas
within the city and built two new hotels - Kanishka and Ashok Yatri Niwas. That
year, however, will be minuscule compared to this.
In 2010, the state government's blueprint for creating a global city includes the
construction of a staggering 18 new railway bridges and the widening and
beautification of 3,069 km of roads. One of the drivers of the construction bonanza in
Delhi is the large number of hotels being built to cater to the tourism tsunami that the
Games will supposedly bring. Part of a ministry of tourism plan for "marketing of
India as a tourism destination for the upcoming Commonwealth Games" , this hotel
push is monstrous.
With Melbourne as the benchmark, the ministry is operating with an assumption that
100,000 or so people will travel to Delhi during the Games. To quote the Union
minister for tourism, "We expect that around 1 lakh visitors would come to Delhi and
believe that the number of repeat visitors will increase post the Games, and it will also
aid in attracting more number of foreign tourists in the future... Our endeavor is to
make the Games an experience of a lifetime, something that is reflected in our efforts
to develop better infrastructural facilities. At present there are about 11,000 rooms in
star category hotels in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi. It is estimated
that an additional 30,000 hotel rooms would be required in the NCR to cater to the
requirements of visitors during the Games."
The Commonwealth Games have also been the trigger for a major reconstruction of
the Delhi airport . If 1982 saw the creation of a brand new international departure and
arrival lounge at the Delhi airport, 2010 is leading to a complete revamp. According
to the minister of civil aviation , the new 4.4 million-sq ft Terminal 3 will be able to
cater to 37 million passengers per annum, increasing Indira Gandhi International
Airport's total annual capacity to 60 million passengers.
What the Delhi experience has repeatedly drawn attention to in scholarly circles in
recent times is the question: Are these games a 'welcome addition' or are they a
'burden'? Will CWG 2010
leave behind a positive legacy in the long run, prompting an Indian Olympic bid in the
not too distant future, or will the Games be a singular urban disaster ? Experiences of
host cities from around the world aren't conclusive in answering this question and are
at best case studies that serve as pointers.
In the case of the last mega event, the summer Games in Beijing in August 2008, all
the answers to the above questions, in the immediate future at least, will have to be
anecdotal. To be fair to the organisers, it must be awfully difficult for them as insiders
to confess that the Olympics might indeed leave behind a troubled legacy in the long
or medium term. It is incredible to note, for example, that a bullet train was started
only to link Beijing with Tianjin, the venue for the soccer event, a city some 130
kilometers away. Millions spent on the project may well end up as bad investment. On
the other hand, the gargantuan Olympic village, which is expected to serve as new
housing for the city's inhabitants, is expected to help scale down the escalating real
estate prices in Beijing, something that hasn't yet been achieved. Again, as South
Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, suggested in the context of the 2010 FIFA World Cup
in his country: "The World Cup would help in alleviating poverty, creating jobs and
would result in social upliftment. Not to mention the eradication of stereotypes and
A look at the experience of some of the host cities makes clear the fraught
relationship between host city development and the impact of hosting the world's
premier sports competitions. The direct co-relation between host cities and Olympic
Games can be traced back to the building of the White City Olympic Stadium in
London in 1908. Yet, it was not until the 1960 Rome Olympic Games that the Games
began to have many far reaching consequences on the local built environment particularly in line with the needs of urban expansion in the 1960s and 1970s, of inner
city regeneration in the 1980s and 1990s and of sustainable urban form in the current
Sydney, for example, personifies the negative impact that mega events can have on
host cities. The Sydney Olympic Park, once a symbol of Australian pride, which
housed Olympic athletes in 2000, now stands derelict. In fact, getting to the Park,
some 25 kilometers from the city's business district, is an ordeal. The perceived link
between Darwin Harbour, the Sydney CBD and Paramatta was not accomplished, and
ordinary taxpayers continue to bear the brunt of this investment, and real estate prices
in Sydney continue to be high despite the meltdown. Even as a tourist attraction, the
Sydney Olympic Park has little currency. With no proper transportation to channel
tourists to the Olympic site, the Park remains an example of how things can go wrong
while trying to use sport as a module for urban regeneration.
If Sydney resulted in gargantuan spending with little post-Olympic usage, the
centennial Games in Atlanta were severely criticised for lack of adequate investment
in building infrastructure and poor transport facilities. The multitude of problems
prompted the daily, Observer, to describe Atlanta as a city in "complete chaos" during
the Games.
Barcelona 1992, however, is the exact opposite. With careful planning and excellent
implementation the city serves as a perfect model of what the Olympics can do if
facilities constructed for the Games are properly harnessed for the city's development.
The underlying philosophy of the Barcelona Olympic Project, as Miguel Moragas
suggests, was to "ensure that the Games were decentralised. The idea of concentrating
all installations in an Olympic park - as had been the case in Seoul - was rejected.
Barcelona decided to share the Games with as many subsidiary host cities as
Not only does every tourist who goes to Barcelona visit the Games facilities, it is also
well documented that the Games village contributed significantly to solving the
housing problem that plagued the city in the 1980s. Even the stadium that hosted the
opening ceremony in 1992 has since served as the home of the RCD Espaniol team,
which ensures its regular use.
From the experiences of the multiple host cities described here, it is evident that the
relationship between host city development and mega sporting events will continue to
depend on the city's ability to market itself as a key tourism destination following the
event, and on its ability to harness the facilities constructed for the Games for its
residents. This requires the opening up of new tourist markets and sustaining them
over time. Spurred by such intentions, Delhi has embarked on projects of community
integration and urban regeneration. Whether or not such projects result in a positive
legacy, time will tell.
Tourism receipts are growing strong in Asia, contributing a considerable amount to
GDP in many countries. As the region looks forward to the next century, the
challenges of infrastructure development, environment protection policies and above
all, the shortage of skilled manpower, both at craft and management level in the
tourism industry, loom large. The need for trained and skilled staff is one of the most
pressing issues facing the ASIA region at present. Each country has developed
strategies at regional and national levels. These strategies must be implemented to
alleviate the shortage of trained manpower for the tourism industry.
In order to make tourism as an all season as well as purpose activity in the state of
Uttaranchal, it is necessary to develop as well as promote adventure tourism, sport
tourism,wild life tourism, in addition to pilgrimage tourism. Winter sports like skiing
should also be promoted nationally as well as internationally. Besides, in order to
extend the tourist season various adventure sports competition like river rafting,
skiing and so on should also be organized immediately. The efforts should also be put
to combine general tourism with religious and spiritual tourism in the form of yoga;
meditation etc. spa tourism is another activity which has to be promoted immediately
nationally as well as internationally. A large chunk of foreign(as has been analyzed)
visit Rishikesh for the purpose of yoga and meditation. This activity should not only
be promoted among the foreign tourists but also be promoted among the domestic
tourist so that they will be motivated to visit Garhwal region not only for pilgrimage
but for other purposes also.It has been suggested that while constructing and
upgrading the accommodation facilities, the requirement of the tourist at different
places for accommodation should be considered. Tourist information centers should
not only be located at important tourist destinations of the region but also at national
and international gateways. So, the tourist particularly foreigners will not be
misguided by the touts or other persons and will get the right information but the
places. Furthermore. In order to make correct as well as speedy information all the
information centers should be connected with each other through computerization. All
these information centers
should be provided related literature and brochures, booking services for package
tours and so on.Local people should also be motivated as well as involved in the
tourism process.It has been suggested that the people of the region should come
forward help in
providing safe and secure atmosphere for the tourists.
Problem created by touts should be checked so that foreign tourists would not
feelcheated or disturbed or so on. Besides, law and regulations may be introduced
tocheck the heavy rush of tourists at a peak time at different major tourist attraction.
There is an urgent need of eco tourism. Planned infrastructure and
tourismdevelopment without disturbing the ecological balance of Uttaranchal is to
begiven top priority.It has been suggested that in order to attract more and more
foreign tourists, advertisement in foreign journals, magazines and newspapers should
be given in foreign languages. Besides, translation of tourist’s literature in foreign
language through different agencies in another positive steps in this direction.It has
also been suggested that in addition of establishing film city in the region,incentives
should also be given to the players of Bollywood and Hollywood to establish their
Many tour operators from European and Asian countries in world tourism seminarin
London confirmed Uttaranchal as their future tourist destination.Familiarization tours
of travel writers as well as travel agents from different art ofthe countries should be
organized immediately. These groups should be invitedfor a free visit of the major
places of Uttaranchal in order to enable them topopularize Uttaranchal as a destination
of tourists. Such programmes will be definitely boosting the tourism in Uttaranchal.It
has also been suggested that different independent tourism organizations like tour
operators, hoteliers, restaurants and so on should also be involved in promoting
tourism in Uttaranchal. These organizations should make use of various promotional
tool as different time. During the off-seasons, the tourism industries should make use
of personnel selling tool for persuading MNCs andother institutions to choose
Uttaranchal as a venue for conference and seminars. Besides, the frequency of
advertising should also be increased. A reputed advertising agency should be engaged
for promotion of tourism in the state.
Another suggested strategy for promoting Uttaranchal is the creation of strongbrand
identity. Brand identity should be created just as created by Malaysia as“Truly Asia”
and so on. In addition of creating strong brand identity, it should be propagated also
either through advertisement or through taking part in international exhibitions or so
on. Besides, the officials UTDB should also visit personally to those places who have
successfully promoted tourism as a brand. This step will help them in promoting the
state of Uttaranchal on the similar lines As an aggregate of industry research, this
report attempts to tell the story of adventure travel today from multiple angles.
We've looked at reports from global tourism organizations and the surveys conducted
by private tour companies, analyzed data from the airline industry, the spa and
organic foods industries. Our global data tells us that tourism overall is maintaining a
steady growth rate of 4%, with individual countries focusing so intensively on tourism
development that they're posting year-to-year growth as high as 24%. Research
specific to the adventure industry confirms our assumption that the adventure segment is expanding to a place where it is no longer really a "niche" market. In 2000 the
international adventure tourism market amounted to about 7% of all international
trips, and although that study has not been repeated, given all indicators, we can
safely assume this percentage has risen considerably in the last six years. And given
the profile of typical adventure travelers — overall wealthy, socially and
environmentally conscientious consumers,nearly split 50/50 between men and women
this growth pattern may be expected to continue.
The rosy picture presented here is not without its dark side, however. Adventure
travel's rapid expansion may be swiftly curtailed by challenges the industry continues
to grapple with every year, namely,
● Acts of terrorism
● Health epidemics such as SARS, Asian Bird Flu and others
● Environmental and cultural resource degradation
For those working in the adventure travel industry, this moment of prosperity signals
both a business and a moral opportunity. Adventure travel has the market cornered for
delivering authentic experiences sought by value-oriented consumers, but in
conjunction with this, industry participants must recognize their role as stewards of
the environmental and cultural resources we draw on for our business.
As participants in the tourism industry — whether you're a traveler, tour operator,
travel writer, or travel agent — we encourage you to continue to finding ways to work
together to defend and protect our natural and cultural resources, enabling crosscultural exchange through travel that can ultimately help diminish barriers between
people and nations.
Book and journals :
Profile of Indian tourism by shalini singh.
Tourism management : research - policies - practice. (2006), No. 6, 1093-1100
Tourism analysis : an interdisciplinary journal. Vol. 11 No. 2, 115-131
China tourism research. Vol. 2 (2006), No. 1-2, 116- 120
A Social Sciences Journal.
Annual reports
Times of india article
Research report of tourism ministry of Uttaranchal