School level essay — Tourism in India — Boon or Bane
TOURISM– Boon or Bane for India
Every year, millions of people travel to other countries for vacations, recreation and pleasure spending billions of dollars. India, unfortunately, gets a miniscule fraction of this burgeoning global business. However, India has a thriving indigenous tourism trade. Large numbers of Indians crisscross the country in holiday seasons for pilgrimage, sight-seeing, recreation, healthcare etc. Their numbers keep swelling year by year as the average income of the Indian middle class rises. Notwithstanding the gains, the tourist trade has some very vocal critics. It will be wise to hear them out as we take steps to welcome more tourists.
Globally, tourism is seen as a milch cow as it brings multiple benefits to the economy. For a country like India that needs foreign exchange and new job creation, tourism can deliver the desired benefits. One visible benefit is this sector’s ability to create jobs rapidly. New jobs are created in hotels, restaurants, travel businesses, taxis plying, entertainment centers, resorts, and many other places catering to both inland and overseas tourists.
Secondly, tourism can increase awareness of our country’s culture, heritage, and spiritual legacy among the overseas visitors. In the same way, it makes the average citizen conscious about the inter-connected world of mind-boggling diversity. It is a hugely enlightening experience to mingle, and interact with a person from the other end of the globe. In a way, tourism helps to battle racial prejudice and promotes world peace.
The government is impelled to create new infrastructure like hotels, roads, and airports to attract the tourists. So, the changes the country needs for its own economic growth are fast-tracked by the drive to promote tourism.
Most importantly, tourism earns substantial foreign exchange for the country from the visitors from overseas as they pay for their travel and stay in hard currencies. The inland tourists also contribute to the economy by boosting small local businesses.
Lastly, tourism helps to give a fillip to India’s effort to project its ‘soft power’ in the international arena. Inland tourism, though less glamorous, is not to be under-rated. It helps bolster national integration and ethnic understanding. At minimal cost, it offers wholesome entertainment to young and old alike. For students, going round historical places like forts, palaces and museums becomes a gripping experience.
However, tourism can lead to many undesirable consequences. Tourists, especially the back-pack ones, spend little while they roam around in the country. They peddle drugs, liquor etc. They also spread pornography and solicit sex openly. All these corrupt the local people and spread criminality. Large numbers of visitors throng tourist spots, and congest the place. It disturbs the tranquility and worsens pollution problems. This is why Bhutan has shut its door to low-budget tourists. It lets in only small numbers of high-paying tourists from abroad.
In conclusion, we can say that for a country like India with rich cultural diversity, contrasting geographies and age-old archaeological relics, tourism can have tremendous potential for growth. Sadly, India has a poor image abroad. It is seen as a poor, filthy country that is hostile to outsiders. Incidents of rape of foreign women tourists have tarnished India’s name. The northern parts of the country, particularly U.P and Bihar hound foreign tourists for sadistic pleasure. Restoring such a battered image is a task that needs the participation of both the public and the government. Otherwise, tourists will avoid India undermining our effort to project ourselves as a ‘soft power’. Medical tourism and eco-tourism are two new areas that have emerged in recent years as potential attraction for overseas visitors. The government needs to pave the way for tour-operators to project these in the global stage. Whichever you look at it, people’s participation is crucial.