Tag Archives: Incredible India

How Tourism can Revive the India Story

India is on its way to becoming one of the greatest nations in the world. Some, like Masayoshi Son, the founder-CEO of SoftBank, back this statement not with mere words but capital, while others believe in its very essence and are committed to acting on their conviction.
I’m among the believers, and this is why I think tourism will go a long way in kick-starting India, in making India! Speaking from the perspective of a travel startup, I will now seek to analyse how the sector can help create jobs, reduce inequality and empower various social sectors.

Tourism India

Empowering Local Businesses
Consider the individual who lives in his own house in a village, with a small plot of farm land. He eats fresh food, breathes fresh air and has a social circle. Forced to leave his home, he travels to the city, where he lives in dirty shanties looking for daily wage work and has no access to education or healthcare.

Tourism is perfectly placed to promote reverse migration. We are able to put to use resources that are locally available and create a sustainable business for local communities.

Take, for instance, Orchha, a small town in Madhya Pradesh with a population of just 9,000. Orchha’s rich heritage makes it a popular tourist destination. Locals started to work in Orchha’s famous hotels as the tourist inflow gathered pace. Many went on to become entrepreneurs, opening cafes or retail stores. Some are expert guides and conduct tours. The local activities and crafts of the area are thus thriving.

A smaller example is that of Sattal, a hamlet in the hills 15 km from Nainital. The boatmen of Sattal were extremely poor as they waited for busloads of people to come from Nainital for day picnics, which happened only in the peak season of April, May and June. While each boat ride cost Rs 200, the boatman would earn only Rs 50. They earned barely Rs 50,000 for the entire year.

The first hotel started operations in Sattal in 2011, and provided guests with complimentary boating. Soon, customers started trickling in even during the lean season. In that first year, 2,000 customers stayed at the resort. As occupancy rose, so did the boatmen’s income.

At Rs 200 per trip, the boatmen were totally able to earn Rs 4,00,000 from us alone! Given 10 boats, it still meant Rs 40,000 per boatman only from us, almost equivalent to what they earned from day tourists. And then something else happened. As Sattal became a well-known tourist destination, new resorts and hotels came up. The number of boats increased several fold. In just a few years, tourism enabled the entire village of Sattal to generate ample employment and prosper.

Linking Micro Supply Chains
The plight of marginal farmers is a constant source of contention, with economists propagating further price reduction in agricultural commodities. Meanwhile, customers still pay high prices owing to supply and logistics constraints. So how does tourism help?

Meet Bashir Khan, a marginal farmer in Ramgarh who has a 1,000-square yard plot. He grows lemon grass, a herb popular for its oil extract. From his sparse available land, Bashir produces roughly 500 ml of oil a day. While the unsuspecting customer usually bought the oil at Rs 200-500 per 50 ml bottle, Bashir was forced to sell his produce for a meagre Rs 150 per litre! Impressed with the quality of extract and the low prices, tourists heading to Ramgarh started to buy the oil directly from Bashir. Surprised at the price he offered, they educated him about the demand and prices of comparable products in Delhi. Bashir now supplies to retail shops in Delhi.

Tourism has this ability to create a market for local products and match demand at that very destination, all while keeping prices attractive for customers.

Reviving Arts And Crafts
Indian design has been applauded for ages, yet, absurdly, we see Indian towns, cities and even the more affluent villages emulate western design, with concrete structures and the modern architecture of the West. Ironically, the poorest villages retain forgotten Indian designs — mud structures, thatched roofs and tiles, and make for the most beautiful settings.

Close to Mhaismal, a small hill station near Aurangabad, are the last two remaining households that work on the beautiful — but vanishing — metal art form of Bidri. Today, it’s in desperate need of support in the region. As resorts opened in Mhaismal, customers were able to visit the craftsmen’s homes and appreciate their art. One discerning guest even ordered the metalworks for her website, and as orders poured in, the Bidri trend caught on.

Tourism can revive arts that were once lost. Tourists can visit craftsmen, see their works and create new channels of demand. Its power in reshaping and rejuvenating the Indian economy should not be underestimated.

Source: yourstory.com

Growing ‘Incredible India’ and National Tourism Awards

Ever since the days of old travelers, India has always been a tourist destination and a traveler’s delight. Its unique diversity and its rich history and culture have attracted growing number of visitors to the country. Over the years, the tourism industry of “Incredible India” has made impressive headway in opening up its destination galore across its expanse to visitors. And the Tourism Ministry has been making continuous efforts, including awards presentation, to promote the industry keeping in view all aspects of it. The presentation of National Tourism Awards began in 1990’s, and since then the ministry has been giving away national awards every year to various segments of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry to support, promote and boost the growth of the sector.

bicycle tours Goa

The awards are presented to state governments and union territories, classified hotels, heritage hotels, approved travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators, individuals and other private organizations in appreciation and recognition of their performance in their respective fields and to encourage healthy competition with an aim to promote tourism.

Every year, the awards categories are reviewed with new categories being added to recognize excellence in diverse fields, in tune with the requirements of the changing times. Some of the new awards are:

Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh

Best Civic Management of a Tourist Destination in India: This category of award was introduced in 2010 to encourage eco-friendly practices by various civic bodies in cities, towns, villages for the maintenance and upkeep of tourist sites, parks, etc. The objective of the award was to proactively involve the municipal authorities and to get their commitment towards clean, hygienic and attractive surroundings in cities, towns, villages and to thereby enhance visitor’s experience.

Tour Operators Promoting Niche segments: This award was introduced in 2011, as a part of the effort to diversify India’s tourism products by developing and promoting new niche segments, to attract different categories of tourists with diverse interests and to promote India as a year-round destination.

Best Maintained and Disabled Friendly Monument: People with different abilities and older persons are now becoming a growing group of consumers of travel, sports and other leisure-oriented products and services. In an effort to tap the potential of this group for promotion of tourist destinations in the country, the Tourism Ministry has taken an initiative to make tourist destinations barrier-free.

Best Responsible Tourism Project: The ministry also has the specific agenda to promote tourism in the country in a responsible and sustainable manner. To encourage accessible and responsible tourism in the country, the government has instituted the award for best responsible tourism project.

Best Heritage City and Best Heritage Walk: India’s cities are repositories of its rich heritage and culture. The monuments and other cultural manifestations of the city contribute to the promotion of that city as a tourist destination. In recognition of it, the two awards were introduced in 2012.

Most Film Promotion Friendly State/UT: In recent years, the medium and dynamics of cinema have grown and emerged as a powerful tool for the development and promotion of places and destinations. Several destinations have gained by being the venue / location of popular cinema. Recognising the importance of this medium, the ministry has instituted a national tourism award for the film-friendly states and union territories.

Source: www.thestatesman.com

Temples of Khajuraho

Khajuraho- The city of Temples

Khajuraho- The temple town of Khajuraho is famous for the erotic  sculptures and often connected to the Kama sutra. It is only when you visit the beautiful town and it’s temples, you realise that the  temples of Khajuraho are much more than just “erotic sculpture temples”.IMG_3578 (1)

     Khajuraho is a small town with 20,000 people . During peak season it gets almost 600 international tourist a day, in off season this number significantly reduces. That said , it was nice visiting Khajuraho in the off season as roads are empty,  we had the temples almost to ourselves for exploring,  we cycled on the boulevards without any problem and most importantly, hotel prices are really low!

We flew into Khajuraho by the midday flight from Varanasi. A short 40 minute  flight later we arrived at the beautiful ,secluded,  quite town of Khajuraho. The airport is a 10 min drive from the “downtown” of Khajuraho – which is a 2 kms long  circular boulevard with hotels on either sides of the boulevard  and the Western Temples . Khajuraho – the name comes from the numerous Date (kharjur) tress spread around the region during the period it was built in. Now, there is not a single Date tree left in the region.

Cycling in Khajuraho. beautiful buelevard of Khajuraho. Travel to khajuraho. tour to khajuraho
Boulevards of Khajuraho

All hotels in Khajuraho have only two floors- ground and first floor. They also do not have lifts. Please request for a room specifically on the ground floor incase you cannot climb to the first floor. The airport is a 10 minute drive away from the hotels and normally Khajuraho gets 1 flight a day during off peak season and 2 flights a day during peak season.

While driving on the boulevard, you do feel like you are in the 1990 or 1980’s . This is because the hotels (the only construction you will see as you exit the airport) were constructed during those years. However, when you enter the hotels , you feel more like you are in the 2016

IMG_3579 copySince it was a nice and cloudy day, we choose to visit the temples in the afternoon. We visited the Western Temples with our guide and learnt about the history and architecture of the temples. The temples of Khajuraho were built between 950 and 1050 by the Chandela dynasty. There were originally over 85 temples which were constructed.About 25 temples are said to exist now.

Western Temples of Khajuraho
Western Temples of Khajuraho

The western temple compound consist of 6 temples; the temple of Lord Vishnu is considered the main temple. We learnt about different theories of  science and physics used to built the temple. From the angles the windows were placed at and the theory of ecology in the design to the depiction of all elements of a life, the temples were an extraordinary example of great architecture.

Khajuraho Temples
Khajuraho Temples

Later we walked around the compound and visited the other temples before returning to our hotel for some rest. In the evening we visited the temple site again for the Sound and light show. The show was nice with the temples light up in different colours. Shikhar Travels always recommends its client  to do the Sound and Light show after guided sightseeing of the temples so it is easy to keep up with the story .

IMG_3635The following morning , we relaxed at our hotel before departing at 3 pm for Panna National Park. We were excited and hopeful to view a Tiger. The National park is a 45 minute drive from Khajuraho. Our naturalist and driver , both came with a lot of experience and made the journey very exciting. We spotted one tiger, three crocodiles , numerous white spotted deers, peacock , peahens, Gray Langur, Sambar Deer and some beautiful brids.

The best part of our journey in Khajuraho was cycling- we hired cycles from our hotel and went on ride on the boulevard. The roads are always empty during off peak season and it was simply a beautiful experience, specially since we do not get to cycle at all in cities like Delhi. We visited the Eastern Temples during our ride, which were not half as exciting as the Western Temples.  We skipped the Southern Temples entirely! But the experience of cycling on the boulevard was just fantastic.

Cycling in Khajuraho
Cycling in Khajuraho

Shikhar Travels recommend Khajuraho as a two day destination. So you can enjoy the beautiful Ancient Temples and witness the Tigers at Panna National Park.

Govt Launches Toll Free Tourist Infoline in 12 International Languages

The Ministry of Tourism on Monday launched a 24×7 toll free infoline in 12 international languages, including Hindi and English, for the safety and security of tourists in India, Union minister Mahesh Sharma said.

The tourists, both international and domestic, can reach for help when needed on the toll free number 1800111363 or on a short code 1363, while in India, minister of state for culture and tourism Sharma said at the launch of multilingual infoline.

tourism in india
The call agents at contact centres will respond to Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish languages, besides Hindi and English, and provide information relating to travel and tourism in India.

It will also advice tourists “on action to be taken during times of distress while travelling in India and if need be alert the concerned authorities,” he said.

Secretary to Minister of Tourism Vinod Zutshi, who was also present at the launch, said the service focuses on information, education and communication (IEC) for the tourists, helpdesk, and safety and security of the tourists.

He said ministry will also revive the website of Incredible India to make it even more tourist friendly.

The multilingual infoline has been launched in collaboration with Tata Business Support Services Limited (Tata BSS), a Business process outsourcing (BPO) owned by Tata Sons.

Source: www.ibtimes.co.in

Amitabh, Priyanka New Faces of Incredible India

Film stars Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra will now woo tourists through the Incredible India campaign. Actor Aamir Khan, who was the face of the campaign for 10 years, is being replaced after his November 2015 comment on rising intolerance in India.

Despite a decision being taken on the new brand ambassadors, a formal communication is awaited, a source in the tourism ministry said. It is, however, clear that neither Bachchan nor Chopra would charge any fee for the project. Even Khan’s endorsement was free of cost.

Amitabh Bachchan

The contract will be for three years, ending in 2019. The next Lok Sabha election is slated for the same year.

Officials in the tourism ministry said this is the first time contracts will be signed directly with the actors, without any marketing agency coming in between.

However, a new agency will be appointed through tendering for various aspects of the campaign.

“Both Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra are globally recognised faces. Incredible India as a campaign requires brand ambassadors that have an audience both within and outside India,’’ N Chandramouli, chief executive officer, TRA, publishers of The Brand Trust Report, said. Bachchan already has such a base, while Priyanka has developed one, positioning herself as a multi-faceted personality, who sings, acts in Hindi movies as well as American TV shows, he said. “So yes, the choice is apt in that sense.”

Priyanka Chopra

Bachchan is currently promoting brand Gujarat too.

According to the 2015 Brand Trust Report, Bachchan, 73, was the most trusted male cinema personality, while Chopra (33) came in at number two as the most trusted female personality after Katrina Kaif.

Recently, Amitabh Kant, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), defended the government’s stand to replace Khan. Kant, who played a key role in creating the Incredible India campaign in 2002, said Khan had damaged the brand identity of the country with his remarks. “A brand ambassador promotes a brand. People will come to India and tourist flows will increase only if the brand ambassador promotes India as incredible India,” he said.

Santosh Desai, managing director and chief executive officer, Future Brands, said the new brand ambassadors are expected to take note of this and be cautious when making public statements. “With opportunity comes responsibility. Both Amitabh and Priyanka are representing the country as Incredible India brand ambassadors and will make statements on issues carefully.”
Earlier this month, tourism ministry had said that its contract was with McCann Worldwide and that it was coming to an end. Subsequently, tourism minister for state Mahesh Sharma had tweeted that ”Aamir Khan ceases to be the mascot for government’s Incredible India campaign, contract for which has expired.” The ministry did not hire Aamir Khan, Sharma had said.

Khan, on his part had said, “it is the prerogative of the government to decide whether they need a brand ambassador for any campaign, and if so, who that ambassador should be.” He had added, ”whether I am brand ambassador or not, India will remain Incredible, and that’s the way it should be,” he said.

Source: www.business-standard.com

Best Places to Visit for Rejoicing Adventure Tours in India

The adventure geography is well known and famous for their best places to visit in India; lots of travel agencies give number of sportive activities like water rafting, paragliding, bird watching, climbing, fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, rock climbing and trekking in India. Incredible India is a place far reaching blend of vivid culture, varied climate, and enigmatic places not to leave the tempting food. Adventure tours India include a span of ecstatic festivals that offers for traveler’s memorable moments.


Camp in Nun Expedition
Rock climbing become a symbol for adventure tours India and very important adventure activity as there is no dearth of rocks. Rocky Mountains in high altitude places like Manali Valley, Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh, Mount Abu, Sariska in Rajasthan are popular for soft rock climbing. The trekkers who love high altitude places like Sonmarg, Gangotri, Garhwal and Uttaranchal are a blessing. The Himalayan ranges are a full of scenic landscapes and Indian tourism has grown due to the beauty of this place. Garhwal and Kumaon regions are very well known amongst trekkers.


Aravalli Hills Rajasthan
There are many best places to visit in India the hill station of this country provide the excellent facilities for skiing. For example gulmarg in jammu and kahmir, auli in grawhal, kufri Narkanda in himanchal Pradesh and many more other places if anyone want to enjoy the water adventure tours India then Goa is the best place where visitors can enjoy their adventure sports in Goa. Camel Safari in the Thar Desert is one of the unique experiences of adventure which visitors can take advantage of while in India. Camel safari is fun and people who know horse riding cans it enjoy more thoroughly. Visitors also enjoy and get the hang of the activity that how the animal reacts to your movements hence this activity is a small part of adventure tours India. Camel safaris are well done in places like jaisalmer, Bikaner or Jodhpur. Jeep safari and wildlife safari are most popular among the tourist.


Sikkim Tour Packages
The coastal regions of western, eastern and southern India provides excellent water based sport activities and the northern regions has some fresh water courses which are ideal for angling and fishing. All of these plans for Adventure tours India high on travel agency will take care of all visitors needs.


Hiking Kerala
Such diversity of best places to visit in India combine with the warm hospitality and different flavors of adventurous life make a tourist visit to India memorable. No wonder people in large numbers come here every year for the joy of experiencing thrill.


Tiger in Kanha National Park
The author is an eminent writer and has authored many articles for travel and tourism. Explore more information about Adventure tours India and best places to visit in India.


Source: www.isqed-asia.org