Geography: Development of Infrastructure and Growth of Tourism: Objectives, Transport and Tourism

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  • India has already made a place on world’s tourism map because of its great potential to attract tourists to the diversity of its tourist sites spread all over the country. It is also known that we still lay behind our other neighbouring countries like China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

  • In this chapter we will discuss the relationship between the status of infrastructural development, including the transport network, and hotel accommodation and tourism.


The major objectives of this chapter are:

  • To analyse the impact of tourism on the greater need for development of transport network

  • To assess the role of infrastructure like hotels, restaurants, and hospitality services for organising the required amenities for tourists

  • To explain the significance and establish relationship between local and long-distance modes of transport and tourism

  • To evaluate the utility of tour guides and tour operators in promoting tourist activity

  • To explain the individual level and group level roles of tour guides and tour operators as functionaries of a travel agency

  • To distinguish between season specifics and destination specifics of tour operation

Transport and Tourism

  • A transport system acts as a bridge between places of tourist origin and destination. It opens out a region by providing an access to its tourist places. In its absence, the resource potential for tourism i.e. attractions and amenities, can’t be of any benefit. We cannot talk of the planning of tourism in an area without organising its transport system. The system consists of a network of routes or means of transport and the modes of transport. The former includes air, sea, or water routes. Inland routes include roads or the motorways and the rail transport.

  • The modes of transport refer to aircraft, ships, steamers, cars, taxies, luxury coaches, buses, and the railway trains. Taxies, cars, motor like auto rickshaws, tangas, mopeds, bicycles, and trams are particularly important as items of local transport. It is meant to carry travellers from airports, bus-stands, or railway stations to hotels and tourist sites within a city. At high altitude places in tourist areas, you may come across ropeways and electric driven trollies, pony or tonga riding, and sailing boats.

  • Tourism is most attractive if a country has all possible types of alternative transport facilities both in its major and minor networks. Trunk routes are inter-state routes forming the national network. They provide linkages between main transport hubs of India. The connections between the trunk routes and the nodal towns within a tourist region are mostly managed by regional transport authority. It is a minor network at the regional level. Private travel organisations have a greater role at the lowest level to look after the transport needs of tourists within the smallest local network. A tourist requires not just an access to a tourist region but also an easy access in terms of cost, time, and level of comforts. For instance, whenever an easy connection is lost for area of high altitude or of bad weather, alternative mode of transport must be at hand for a tourist.

  • The provisions are favourable if there are easy connections also between different modes of transport from one route to another, and between the major and minor places of tourist interest. Now a day, it is the capacity of a transport system which determines the size of tourist traffic, the increase or decrease in the pace of tourist flows. Beside an increase in the capacity of transport system, the provision of comfortable seats, reasonably high speeds, and discounts in the rail, road and air fares are becoming incentives. They further go to increase the tourist traffic, in turn ploughing in greater revenue. It is estimated that the tourists pass on their income to us by spending around 40% of their total expenditure on travel alone.

Air Transport

  • Aircrafts are known to carry tourists over long distances. About 97% of international tourists arrive in India today by air. Within the country, 82% of them travel by air as compared to 11% by sea and water routes, and 7% by land routes. Compared to 120 hours of sea travel, between London and New York in 1920, the modern jet plane flying high above the zone of disturbing surface aircrafts winds takes 6 hours. These aircrafts generally fly at the speed of about 1000 km per hour though these are capable to gain the maximum speed of sound which is 1194 km per hour. These are bound to assume primary importance for global tourism because of their gigantic carrying capacity and high speed during non-stop flights.

  • Discounted fares in the form of concessions or easily manageable passes allowed for different age-groups, charged differently for off-season and the peak season, go a long way in the promotion of active tourism.

Air Routes of India

Image of Air Routes of India

Air Routes of India

  • High class travellers from rich countries coming more as business tourists like to pay for costlier air travel even while moving about within India. The reason being that they want to complete their business deals and also visits to maximum tourist spots within the limited time at their disposal. They do not mind foregoing any concessions offered by air travel companies because their main concern is to save time at any cost. Still in order to attract low budget leisure tourist, our public and private air services offer concessional tickets because they form the largest proportion of air travellers.

  • A beginning to better manage our air network has been made. It will convert 12 of our international airports into model ones and will upgrade the other ones at important tourist places. This exercise would finally incorporate Amritsar-Srinagar in the north, Hyderabad-Bangalore-Kochi in the south, Ahmedabad-Goa in the west, and Guwahati in the north-east.

  • The major international airports at our metro cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai are already included as the cores for extension of improvement facilities. Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, and Jaipur, the three of most frequented tourist cities will not be left over for long. Next in line is Nagpur to be converted into an international airport. In addition, we have got 85 domestic airports and 28 civil aviation terminals for smaller aircraft at present. Air connections for popular tourist destinations have become such a foremost need that it is tempting many state governments to come forward with new ideas.

  • The Rajasthan Govt. has taken a step ahead by proposing to construct airstrips for smaller aircraft at new places having tourist attraction though yet untouched by tourism. Himachal Pradesh aspires to emerge as a tourist state in the right earnest in the year to come. It proposes to have an international airport at Sundernagar in its centrally placed Mandi district. The expansion of Kulu, Kangra, and Shimla airports for bigger planes and the extension of privately managed helipad taxi services to connect its interior with already existing 55 helipads are its other suggestion.

  • As Mumbai and Delhi are entry points for over 70% of international tourists, they act as a country’s major clearing houses for them. An almost full occupancy of air seats and hotel accommodation at these places indicates that confirmation of their prior booking in now being speedily done for busy foreign tourists. Since India is no longer dropped so easily from their travel schedule, our country now stands as fifth top destination for tourists. World travel organisation estimates that other than the maintenance of high standards of air transport, a mere 10% reduction in the cost of air tickets catches an increase of 17 to 22% in the number of tourist travellers.

Sea Transport

  • Sea transport has lost its choice to air carriage of passengers over long or time-consuming distances. But cruising for short distances as from Mumbai to Goa in our coastal waters, in lakes like Chilka or Vembanad, hopping from mainland to islands or from one to another island holds promise for tourists. All-inclusive package tours for domestic and for the foreign tourists from Kochi to Lakshadweep Islands and from Chennai or Kolkata to Port Blair and Car Nicobar are becoming popular. Such a tour includes the total cost for providing travel accommodation and other facilities.

  • In the long run, the improvement of navigation in suitable stretches of river like Brahmaputra in Assam could provide immense possibilities for opening out new route for tourist travellers.

Waterways of Sundarbans

Image of Waterways of Sundarbans

Waterways of Sundarbans

Road or Motorways

Since 1970s, a greater use of private cars exclusively for an affluent individual and his family, and of taxies, luxury coaches, buses for lower budget group of 8 to 30 persons, have been gaining popularity. The National highways and motels built along scenic and busy roads have revolutionised their use by the holidays. Motorways provide move and easy links within the network of major routes.

National Highways in India

Image of National Highways in India

National Highways in India

  • All these vehicles along the motorways are of great convenience for a comfortable sight-seeing through all-inclusive package tour of important tourist circuits. The golden triangle connecting Delhi-Agra-Jaipur is one example of such a circuit. A number of such circuits have come up or new ones are being proposed as rules of travelling tourists. Motor transport comes forward to carry passengers to less costly inns along the highways away from the crowded city hotels. This ready-at-hand facility reduces the unmanageable crowds of visitors inside the great cities during busy season. It also provides a big relief to low budget tourists and the vacationing students. India is paying greater attention to adding new roads and improving the existing ones, for this reason. The construction of four to six lanes highways, stretching over 5952 km will be connecting our four major metro cities in response to the underlying demand of tourist traffic. A side proposal is to complete two corridor roads connecting Srinagar and Kanyakumari from north to south, and Silchar to Porbandar from east to west direction.

  • These corridors will respectively extend to 4000 km and 3300 km. Bus system is now extensively developed for plying along fastly emerging multilane highways. Manali-Leh, Darjeeling-Gangtok and Madurai-Kodaikanal are described as thrilling bus routes by the tourists. Road tourism is being better looked after in India’s Himalayan region where motorways are obviously the predominant means of transport.

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