Prospects and Problems of Tourism Policy Measures at Regional Level Part 6

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Policy Measures at Regional Level

The whole tourist region by itself is an outlet for selling its visible and invisible products. The region markets its natural scenes and cultural landscape it inherits. Right from the hills and dales, multi coloured rocks, smokes, sands, water, trees, and lush green fields to sunny skies, cloudy shadows or dripping rain are the assets for tourism to cash. An attraction of a tourist site, its sounds smells and seasonally changing colours invite the visitors towards it. Its marketing fetches good returns for its host as well.

Obviously, measures to be taken for its upkeep are the first item of a regional policy. There is the continued need of exploring new attractive spots through area studies. The site environs accessibility and the scope to impart or improve upon its ethnic imagery would determine its choice.

Case Studies from States

The states known for their hill tourism fail to cope with the rush of tourists in accommodating them suitably in hotels although a number of good hotels have been made available at all major hill stations. Himachal tourism has proposed to develop three new small sized hill resorts at medium altitude in outer part of the state where the greatest rush is noticed because of its locations close to the plains. This measure is expected also to maintain the tourist appeal of old hill stations by reducing the unbearable rush from there. The state also looks forward to build a tourist city to suit NRIs in distant future, in a bid to earn more revenue.

At present the tourists in peak season get concentrated in the three popular hill resorts of Shimla, Manali and Dalhousie. By making the new sites attractive by providing all facilities, they will be more than pleasant wayside halts. The sites lie undeveloped not because they are less appealing for sight-seeing. Mostly the general unawareness or the notion to measure the worth of a resort by the crowds it draws in are the causes for ignoring them.

Himachal tourism also thought of the possible steps for raising the tempo of tourist activities in Kinnaur and Spiti areas in the northern inner parts of the state. These are areas of high and difficult mountains having fewer facilities expected by tourists. It has been decided to ask the tribal people of villages along Hindustan-Tibet Highway and Spiti valley road to spare accommodation for incoming visitors within portion of their commodious houses. These areas are known for scenic views of high snow-clad range and age-old frescoes related to Buddhist theme inside the monasteries. The serious tourists interested in adventurous trekking, mountaineering or in unique culture of this little Tibet inside India would like to pass through these areas. There is a hope that tourists of this kind would come forward to experience staying with the indigenous people in their homes even in the absence of high level of amenities.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is also thinking of opening up 21 new tourist destinations for making a fuller use of its numerous attractions. The underlying purpose is of scattering the tourist traffic away from a few popular places to unfrequented yet unforgettable sports. In the like manner the Maharashtra tourism can no longer afford to neglect the hill resorts on Satpura hills and over a dozen undeveloped tourist places on the Sahyadri ranges. In order to keep alive, the charm of a four excessively visited hill stations during peak season, it would do well to reduce the abnormal rush of tourists from there. The only need is to publicise the so for neglected hill resorts by providing more facilities and easier access. It will serve a double purpose of gaining from carrying tourism to new parts of the state and keeping older hill stations tourist worthy for long. The state of Uttar Pradesh also proposes to develop and publicise 10 relatively unknown tourist spots mostly in its eastern and southern parts to achieve a balanced distribution of the benefits of tourism.

In an around Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, Buddhist monuments, great mosques, archaeological sites, and museums are found. The southern Tirupati zone is the gateway for the largest numbers of Hindu pilgrims worshipping in the temple of Lord Venkateshwara in the Tirumala hills. The northern Vishakhapatnam zone is labelled for beach tourism, prehistoric caves, hillocks, most ancient temples, and for proximity to tribal life in the beautiful Araku valley. In the Eastern Ghats, rivers and the lake reservoirs have been made public for experiencing the thrill of adventure games.

Tour schedules are planned for regulating tourist traffic to areas of their specific interest by opting for either of the two approaches. They may like to pay short wayside visits adjusted to festivals and other events arranged generally on different days at different places. Another option is to go to a specific zone to participate in the activities ascribed to it. The underlying aim is the dispersal of tourists for different parts instead of their unmanageable overcrowding. It is achieved by means of an appropriate publicity to popularise infrastructural facilities along convenient circuit routes.

Innovative Tourism- Its Forms

Single track tourism is confirmed to a few sites once developed or a few performances repeated time and again without varying them in anyway and anywhere. It may fail to sustain interest for long. In the absence of innovations or added sources of recreation, the regional tourism soon reaches its saturation point. If such a plateau stage of tourism gets prolonged, it starts cutting short the prolong stay of tourists. Some of them may not like to repeat their visits or may go elsewhere. Innovations are being talked about to pass over this stage. Various forms of innovative tourism can be labelled as follows:

Rural Tourism: Idea of rural tourism has come from Himachal Pradesh. It proposes to set up ideal tourist villages, providing all the urban amenities, located close to already existing villages. A tourist village will seem to be merging in the rural setting. It is looked upon to use the best of region’s rural landscapes to usher in ethnic tourism. It will help the tourists to get absorbed into the lifestyle of a hill village but in an entirely fresh surrounding.

Weekend Tourism: Days for enjoying long vacations are no longer available to many busy tourists. In these days of internet facilities, a tourist resort has to fix up with them for this catering and vacationing for short breaks at the weekends. A weekend tourism is an example to integrate tourism to a fast urban lifestyle. Matheran in Mumbai has successfully re-shaped to tourism industry by erecting 100 resorts today while their number was 5 in 1980. It also retains its reputation as the only place not allowing any non-pedestrian traffic in it.

Farm House Tourism: Prosperous agricultural states like Punjab and Haryana can give a new lease of life to tourism by inducting ‘farm house’ or ‘canal tourism’. In these lands of emerging farm houses, these can act as core points for short duration tourist meets. Taking tourists around the gardens of Delhi in a day long trip is a mobile form of farm house tourist activities. Gurdan tourism can better be combined with prompt picnicking and short recreations. Canal side rest houses are other picnic spots for weekend or wayside holidays coming from easily accessible nearby cities. One such example is at Nangal township close to Bhakra dam in Punjab. City dwellers look upon such sports as a good escape from the humdrum of urban life and consider the outing as a day well spent.

Health Tourism: Health tourism is being popularised in Kerala and in hill resort of Lonavala close to Mumbai. It offers facilities for invigorating yoga exercise, massages, and naturopathy herbal applications. These are propagated during refresher courses for a month or more, than it, depending upon their classification into grades. It is practised in restful environ, supplying healthful diets and a day long calendar of activities. An extensive course of treatment is its motto instead of administration of a medicine.

Hatt Tourism: The recent growth of “Hatt tourism” has an interesting history. In olden days, the mobile weekly bazar was a common sight in our major villages and towns. A central site in rural countryside or in a town was earmarked as the venue fixed for all the time. Local produce of all sorts including commonplace articles of daily use were brought there from feeder villages around.

The organisation of colourful activities within the reach of local community gives it the resemblance of a village fair. “Delhi Hatt” has become popular by associating the idea of weekly bazar with tourism on permanent basis. It has been given a new meaning by encompassing different states of India in place of surrounding villages of the past time. It is a marketing showpiece of mini India. Hatt tourism has turned into a close door neighbour of multifarious types of trade fairs organised in Delhi and in major cities periodically on a large scale.

Festival Tourism: India is a land of countless types of festivals and fairs. The seasonal festivals associated with the harvesting and sowing of crops under different names all over the country reflect a sort of regional attraction of tourism.

But many new ‘Avtar’ of festivals carrying a far greater appeal for tourists have come up during recent years.

Desert festival of Jaisalmer concentrating on camel rides and folk dance of the area, cattle fair festival of Pushkar, Kulu, and Mysore, Dussehra of a different type and that of kite flying of Gujarat in Ahmedabad are their examples, most popular among foreign tourists.

Light and sound shows are organised at many places to retell the life histories of famous persons and events. Most notable ones are such shows commemorating the historic events taken place around the forts of Delhi and that of Golconda, close to Hyderabad.

Organisation of festivals even around half demolished heritage sites as one at Quila Mubarak at Patiala relived its past glory. It proved a popular innovation for Punjab tourism in fetching a good number of tourists. All these festivals are added attractions to the development of Indian tourism.

Museum Tourism: The idea of putting up art galleries and a variety of local level museums are catching the fancy of people. By portraying the associated history or the great deeds of prominent regional personalities, the local patrons will in fact, be promoting the cause of ‘ethnic tourism’. Ethnic tourism focuses on preservation of local traditions, customers cultures, history and life stories of local heroes. All this is promoted as legacy of the people.

Medical Tourism: Medical tourism including what is being called dental tourism is the latest craze of foreign tourists coming from countries of the western world. As medical treatment of deep-seated serious diseases and of dental troubles is costlier in western countries and good facilities are now available in selected cities of India, the health-conscious foreign tourists visit our hospital centres during their stay here. Undergoing medical treatment is the main chunk of their touring schedule.

Tiger or Elephant Tourism: The study of wild life, particularly the tiger and the elephant in their habitat, is another big tourist draw. Sadly, our tiger population has been decreasing. Yet it is reported that next to the Taj Mahal, tiger is the biggest attraction and tourists keep returning to visit the sanctuaries and do not mind waiting for days to catch the sight of the big cat. A dead tiger in black market fetches only 50,000$ while we stand to gain 30 million # from tourists coming to view it alive. Tiger tourism would boost the local economy of large number of areas in which sanctuaries are situated. It could provide a sustained source of employment to local people if we care to protect tigers just as China advertises its Panda and Australia its Koala or bear by realising their worth for tourism industry.

Poaching would not be stopped by restricting access to sanctuaries. Local people would keep tiger or elephant alive if they have a stake in it through the provision of employment. They will know the merit of conservation of wild life if they are associated with its practical worth for them. Foreign tourists are particularly fond of elephant ride. The short reaches of tiger pugmarks along their foot tracks in the wilderness are covered by making use of elephants.

Innovative Tourism

Innovative Tourism

Innovative Tourism

Innovative Practices

The efforts of non-government social organisation and religious trusts are getting appreciation in some regions to save public sector tourism from reaching its saturation point. These organisations are coming forward to revive old source of water supply like wells, or tanks. They propose to repair the long-neglected inns and to take up the work of garbage disposal even by taking a nominal fee from the tourists.

Strict rules may be framed for disallowing a free access to ancient monuments and heritage sites from multi-points of entry on exit. A great number of visitors does boost tourism but crowds at monuments during peak season need to be regulated. In place of anywhere, anytime policy, rules should restrict the entry and exit of visitors from single point passages.

A nominal tax is now being considered form tourists as trash of junk material at tourist spots is generally left over from tourist stays.

Tourism at hill stations and along mountains is to be checked from tight commercialisation of the sites by opening up a number of eateries.

The much-needed cooperation between the host community in an area and the visiting guests is the need of the hour. For an instance, if farmer around Ghana National Park near Bharatpur in Rajasthan do not release a part of the canal water for the wetland even in the times of drought, neither they will gain nor the tourists. The wetland will lose its attraction of the migrating birds and farmer won’t get the subsequent recharging of their ground water. Such area specific innovative practices will check the decline in the number of tourists.

In Brief, It Can Be Said That:

India’s share in world’s tourism is still very low both in the number of tourist arrivals and in foreign exchange earnings. Tourism accounts for our third largest export item in the country’s foreign trade in terms of earnings. Tourism industry creates new jobs at a faster pace and with relatively low investment. It tones up the economy and quality of life in under developed areas as are the geographically isolated tracts in the mountains. International tourism promotes the export of invisible products without sending them out of India, in the form of hospitality service rendered to tourists during the stay in our tourist areas. It is so because we earn foreign exchange out of what the foreign tourists spend. Additionally, they also carry many of our fanciful articles like handicrafts, without incurring any cost of their transport or advertisement by us. Cash earning from the stay of foreign tourists makes up our unfavourable balance of trade. The natural environment and heritage sites remain a source of attraction as long as these are not damaged beyond control from their degradation or pollution. Massive tourist traffic, unless regulated creates these mal-effects. Tourist carrying capacity of a resort needs to be matched to minimise the inconveniences of local people during the period of tourist rush. Youths of the host area are also to be saved from cultural alienation by blindly initiating the lifestyle of foreigners during days of reckless massive tourism.

A planning for adopting a sequence of steps like a survey of the existing position of services and facilities needed by tourists and measures for development of a healthy and sustainable tourism, has become a dire need.

A national level, an apex body has to take stock of the status and trends of tourism in comparison with neighbouring countries. It will help appraise the future needs, the nature of various incentives for alluring tourists and the gaps to be removed for better provision as well as management of the infrastructure.

A national policy alone is capable to give a feed for organising integrated interstate circuit tours. It helps in reducing the imbalances in spread of tourism in the country and in promptly rehabilitating the booming tourist areas extensively damaged by natural disaster like the recent Tsunami seismic sea waves.

A regional review is needed to keep up the continued attraction of sight-seeing spots and improve upon the connectivity for tourists to reach them in local areas. A full-scale publicity drive is crucial for making tourists aware of what in worth seeing in the region and the local community to care for proper marketing of its landscape, heritage and skills. A continuous supply of professional intermediaries at all levels within the local tourist areas cannot be neglected in the interest of promotion of tourism.

A regional organisation is more capable to develop more sites for tourism and to recommend innovative steps like the induction of new forms of ethnic tourism which is found appealing both for the visitor and the host community. Innovations are the need of the present so as to save regional tourism from reaching a saturation point which is its dead end.