India surging forward as tourism powerhouse

Thursday, December 27, 2012

India surging forward as tourism powerhouse

The global recreational tourism market is one of the strongest drivers of economic growth. As the lingering economic uncertainties in North America and Europe continue to worry consumers and service providers, many nations in the Asia-Pacific region are thriving. As tourists flock to countries such as India and China, many real estate developers are considering investing in the construction of short term rental apartments and temporary housing units, as short lets are becoming increasingly popular with tourists. According to News Track India, ambitious growth plans were recently unveiled by officials hoping to capitalize on heightened interest in India as a tourism destination.

An eye to the future
The news source reports that, according to the Indian government, the country's tourism sector should be aiming to increase international arrivals by at least 12 percent during the next five years. Growth in tourism in India throughout 2012 has emboldened Indian officials, many of whom believe that substantial growth in recreational tourism is a realistic goal.

"The annual growth rate of the tourism sector is estimated to be 8.1 percent during the last five years, which is marginally higher than the economic growth rate of 7.9 percent expected to be achieved during the 11th Five Year Plan [2007-2012]," reads a recent whitepaper published by the Indian government, as quoted by the news source.

Data from the World Travel and Tourism Council suggests that India has the largest growth potential in terms of recreational travel of any nation in the world between 2009 and 2018. However, the anticipated growth in the country's tourism sector is insufficient and must be the subject of aggressive marketing campaigns, according to the government's whitepaper.

Officials also believe that the tourism sector has the potential to bring economic gains to rural and low-income areas. The report identified several regions that have already provided tangible financial benefits to disadvantaged villagers and townspeople, such as Kumarakom in Kerala. The government believes that initiatives being developed in these areas can serve as a wider model of how the tourism sector can promote domestic financial growth and empower individuals.

International flavor
India's tourism industry is expanding rapidly, and in ways that experts may not have thought likely in the past. Although the country is rarely associated with wine-growing, India's burgeoning vineyard tourism sector is becoming the latest example of market diversification, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Certain regions, such as Nashik in the province of Maharashtra, are developing a reputation as tourism hot spots for wine aficionados. Located approximately three hours west of Mumbai, the region is attracting affluent tourists from all over the country due to its fine wines and beautiful scenery.

"I've been teetotal all my life, but quite recently I started to drink wine," Jol Kapadia, a 30-year-old housewife, told the news source. "It's a growing trend."

Sula Vineyards, which currently dominates the Indian wine growing industry, reports that between 600 and 700 people visit the vineyard every weekend, seeking to taste the locally produced varietals. While these figures may seem inconsequential in comparison to Western markets, it represents a significant growth opportunity in a country with little tradition of producing or drinking wine.

As with any major developments in the tourism sector, India's emerging market as a wine producer could have substantial economic benefits for other businesses, including real estate development. Regions like Nashik have experienced an influx of visitors and heightened interest by developers seeking to capitalize on emerging trends in the tourism sector. As more people travel to India, both internationally and domestically, the need for cost-effective temporary lodging solutions could increase.