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Gour Kanjilal regional director of Indiatourism (West and Central Region)

Mr. Gour Kanjilal, regional director of Indiatourism (West and Central Region) gives to TravelDailyNews details about the tourism of India, and explains the role of tourism for the country

TravelDailyNews: How do you see the tourism potential of India?

Gour Kanjilal: India is blessed with varied tourism destination and products catering to the tastes and preferences of tourists and travelers of all ages and economic background and thus the country stands out among other global destinations. The diversity of natural beauty coupled with tourism products like unique architecture, festival and fairs, shopping, wild- life, warmth and hospitability of our people are some of the richness of tourist experience that we offer.

TDN: What do you believe must be done in the tourism sector in India?

A strict management of tourism is needed to create awareness about the benefits of tourism and takeaway the general feeling that it is an elitist activity. Awareness must involve local people. People will guard for tourism if they see the benefits of tourism coming to them. Developed countries today dominate the outbound tourism market. The effects of globalization can be partially countered if the originating countries initiate steps to sensitize the tourists in issues like sex tourism, and child prostitution. Proper management should come from Travel and Tourism industry to stop these practices.

Culture and tourism heritage can bring the strongest common binding factor through mutual understanding and global place. Sustainable tourism practices also need for effective management of eco sensitive areas. Furthermore, rights of the workers and entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, and proper management to ensure that tourism activity is planned in such a way as to allow traditional cultural products, is needed. Crafts & Folklore must survive and flourish rather than causing them degeneration over commercialized. Special attention must be paid for management of costal area, islands territories, and vulnerable rural or mountain regions.

Continuing growth of tourism particularly tourism directed at the most fragile culture and environments involves destination management problem and how these are manage will show its impacts and desired benefits of tourism. The management should cover regulatory, preventive and collaborative.

Management in tourism is more sensitive than many other industry as many of the things interlinked with tourism are beyond our control – terrorism, financial crisis, epidemic, global, political scene, local scene- all these are direct impact and again management policy can help to tide over each crisis. We are in tourism business where future is dependent on a wide mix- of unpredictable factors.

TDN: Please give us some statistics and the future trends of tourism in India

Never the less we carry a strong optimistic, quick recovery of the series of negative events in 2001 is visible now. All indications are pointing towards an economic recovery, infact for India, it has bounced back with 15% growth in 2002, in 2003 with 2.8 million tourists & earning over Rs. 17000 crores (+23%), market has settled down & predictable growth pattern seen with confidence our fingers gained. The capacity of travel & tourism to overcome adverse situations endangered by political or other crisis have seen earlier also during the Gulf war in 1991 and we are keeping our fingers crossed. If nothing negative happens, in 2004 we may fulfill our target of 3.5 million tourists by 2005 projected earlier.

TDN: What is the meaning of tourism for you?

The meaning of Tourism is: Value your visitors from overseas who are spending their valuable time and hard earned money for an experience which is quite different from their own and would take to home a feeling “Home away from home” create greater appreciation of each other culture, and developing local friendships. Tourism benefits are not visible like other industries but it has its value indirect way- once this simple meaning of tourism is understood that it is every bodys business, everybody benefits – Tourism can do miracles.

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