International tourists arrival which was showing 14% growth was down to 5% in January-November period of 2011.
IATO looked into the possible reasons for such down trend and its observations are
The travel advisory we had a few months ago severely impacted forward bookings. As explained, when travelers plan their trips, they do some months in advance and fact that we had negative press in a peak booking period did have some impact. We as India Tourism need to proactively engage main stream press and not focus only on travel publication. When times are bad, we need positive and supporting journalists out there to support us.
Second, visa issuance problems are a hindrance to travelers. Making non English speaking countries fill forms in English is a problem. Making people go on-line when they have no internet access or skills is a problem. These are teething problems that need to be addressed.
Third and probably the most important reason is the global economic slowdown which doesn't seem to be getting any better. Our source markets are hurting and their citizens are just cutting back on travel. This is not going to get any better. We as a country need to be proactive and do some out of the box thinking on how we will attract our share of the shrinking market. We must be aware that our competitors like Thailand, China, Dubai etc are doing the same and are far more nimbler and proactive in their response. We need to be quick or we will lose out in the coming year.
Said Gour Kanjilal, Executive Director, IATO