The global tourism has really passed through crisis after crisis which gave a serious blow to its growth. General feeling was that it may take some years to recover from the impact of the series of negative events that started with Sept. 9- 11 events in U. S.A. scene in the Middle East, Europe and USA. India was also regarded a place nearer to the war scene and war perception between India and Pakistan was also brewing. When travel industry started looking up a bit better in 2003, SARS epidemic struck particularly in the Asian Region and the industry suffered a further blow from where it could not come up till mid 2004.
In between Iraq war and terrorist events in Bali, brought further gloomy scene for tourism movements. Unprecedented loss of business and job were reported by the tourism partners in the trade. India suffered more because of the travel advisories issued by major economic powers.and brought downward tourist trends. But tourism has great resilience power, it bounces back very fast if corrective steps are taken in time. Luckily in the Indian tourism scene, a synergised approach took place among the tourism central govt., state govt., public and the private sectors and networking with other partners in this business viz., chamber of commerce, ports, (Cruise Tourism), banks, media (TV/press), this proved very effective to revive the badly affected tourism business.
Major thrust was to present common strategy and pull resources together. Industry supported with special packages with reduced costs and with many value added facilities. Confidence building exercises were undertaken by Ministry of Tourism with the overseas offices. Many road shows were undertaken in major traffic generating countries. India was visible in all major travel and tourism shows. Incredible India branding continued in all these promotional campaigns showcasing major India tourism products. - Variety and affordability made India acceptable for the decision makers. India bounced back and the increase in the flow of tourist traffic in 2005 showed an increase of 14%. It shows that all the steps taken by the Govt. and the trade was very right befitting to the situation.
The demand is so great now that accommodation capacity is now a big problem. We need to open up new air services. New destinations were opened to accommodate rush of tourists. These places were based on the existing popular circuits only as they offer better connectivity and accommodation facilities. Visa on arrival could be a very positive step as our competitors are promoting open entry to their country for 7 to 10 days or visa on arrival on payment of a fixed visa fee. We have now a focused mindset and there is a political will and we are going to change the tourism scene in India.