Friday, March 5, 2021
Home Opinions Why Indians need to see more of the country they live in

Why Indians need to see more of the country they live in

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks India 40th out of 136 countries. Its air transport (32nd) is rated good and the one on the ground (29th) is reasonable too. The country also scores high on natural and cultural resources (9th).

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not have nudged we Indians into travelling more often in India than we do abroad but he surely has invited attention and it’s a good enough Independence Day intervention from the man who is master in making you reflect.

Modi wants us to make at least 15 travels within India by 2022 when India would be a young 75. Figures of 2016 show Indians already travel more within (1613 million) than they do abroad (21 million) but that’s a coarse understanding. We all know we spend five times more abroad than we do while travelling within. There is a kick when you pack your bags for Sweden than when you do it for Sarnath. You feel equal, if not superior, within your family, friends and neighbours.

All of us who travel abroad screw up their noses at hotels, transport, infrastructure, squalor and surging humanity which surrounds our own popular tourist destinations—all this of course without visiting much of India!  Yet, they are right. Just imagine our religious (Mathura, Vrindavan, Tirupati, Vaishno Devi), scenic (Ooty, Shimla, Mussoorie) or Hilly terrains (Manali, Darjeeling) and a Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur begin to make much better sense. That surely is a much better value for your rupee.

Yet, think.

India is a country which has all but Himalayas bound by the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Amazing rivers (Ganga, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Indus) are its rich veins. Incredible waterfalls dot our interiors. Wildlife like rarely elsewhere; deserts as daunting as Thar; forests as dense as Sunderban or Gir; caves carved like ones in Ajanta or Ellora; temples like Rameshwaram and Khajuraho which knock your breath out; forts like ones in Agra, Jaipur or Mysore; lakes in Nainital or Ooty; hill stations like Coorg and Shimla; snow-capped peaks which can soar young to do adventure as they do to meditate or brood over the profound for the elderly.

Come on, no less than 37 venues are World Heritage Sites authenticated by UNESCO in 2017.  These are parts of India’s rich cultural, historical and religious heritage.

Modi concedes India needs better infrastructure for its tourist destinations. And his solution offered makes so much sense. More footfalls would bring more investment, and better infrastructure would usher in more jobs for our young and restless. Technology would make inroads at so many levels. The administration would’ve much more funds to police as well as to beautify the location. Theatre and dance; artistes and artisans; local culinary and skills all get a fillip.

And if you think India is lightweight on matters of tourism think again. The World Travel and Tourism Council tabulated that tourism generated Rs 16.91 lakh crore (US$240 billion) or 9.2% of India’s GDP in 2018 and supported 32.673 million jobs, 8.1% of its total employment. The forecast is of 6.9% annual growth rate to Rs. 32.05 lakh crore (the US $460 billion) by 2028 (9.9% of GDP). And we are not even talking of medical tourism which is already worth the US $3 billion in 205. By next year, it’s expected to be worth the US $7-8 billion.

While reflecting on India and its inbound travellers, Tamil Nadu is the most visited state. Just reflect on the names of Kanyakumari, Rameshwaram, Ooty and Kodaikanal and you would know why. Interestingly, Uttar Pradesh is the second most visited of all Indian states by domestic travellers. Be it religious sacredness of Mathura or Varanasi; Prayag or Sarnath; Ayodhya or Vrindavan, forts of Agra; the regal nawab heritage of Lucknow, UP is far richer than is given credit for.

Most southern states are in India’s top 10 tourist destinations but for Kerala which is surprising given God’s Own Country has Alleppey and Munnar to boast of, among others. Rajasthan, surprisingly, is on number 10 for it just doesn’t alone have magnificent forts but also Pushkar and much-revered shrines. And we haven’t come to talking of Goa, Andaman, Leh, Puri, Amristar, Bodhgaya and Shirdi.

And as Modi said, ever wondered on the magnificence of North East? Cherrapunjee, most won’t know, is in Meghalaya after all.

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks India 40th out of 136 countries. Its air transport (32nd) is rated good and the one on the ground (29th) is reasonable too. The country also scores high on natural and cultural resources (9th).

But let’s be grounded for the moment. Just think of the benefit domestic travel would do to bring different cultures, languages, food and customs closer within our own contours. It would improve brotherhood and remove alien-ness. Besides, as Modi said, we would only be deepening our roots in this sacred land. Generation next too would retain the bond.

“Mitti, paani, hawaon se nayi urja prapt karein (Gain new energy from the earth, water and winds of this land)” was the exhortation Modi made from the ramparts of Red Fort in the Capital on the Independence Day on Thursday. If all of us do it, we would be enriching both us and the country we live in.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Ashish Shuklahttp://ashishshukla.net/
Author of "How United States Shot Humanity", Senior Journalist, TV Presenter

Related Articles

Trending now

‘Freedom House’ downgrades India from ‘free’ to ‘partly free’: Read how it is wholly funded by the US govt and has ties to George...

Freedom House downgraded India based on facts they did not find convenient and a fallacious narrative woven by left and Islamists

Crores of undisclosed income, unexplained cash receipts and more: IT Dept discovery so far in raids against Anurag Kashyap, Taapsee Pannu

Income Tax department (IT dept) conducted raid on properties linked to filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, actress Taapsee Pannu and others

China has the ability to seriously challenge the stable and open international system: The US Secretary of State

Tony Blinken said that in order to win the global economy, the US needed to push back unfair trade practices of China

‘I am 25 and never had sex’: LGBT activist, accused of raping another woman, had said on stage that she is incapable of having...

Earlier this week, a yoga trainer took to Instagram to accuse Dureja of raping her under pretext of performing Shamanic rituals.

Jharkhand: Five members of a family, including a five-year-old child axed to death by villagers over ‘black magic’ suspicions

Five members of a family killed by villagers after a priest said that their witchcraft is responsible for deaths and diseases in the villages

Trolls use fake, photoshopped images to attack Kangana Ranaut for pictures of a fruit smoothie

Kangana Ranaut faced troll attack after sharing a photo of a smoothie she had made. Trolls claimed that she had copied food image from the internet.

Recently Popular

PM Modi and his mother abused live on air by a caller on a BBC radio show on Sikhs in the UK

BBC edited the program and the host offered apology after caller abused PM Modi and his mother during a live radio show

“Are you so creatively bankrupt”? Director of ‘Yeh Ballet’ slams Deepika Padukone starrer new Levi’s ad for plagiarising design ideas

Sooni Taraporevala said that the 'copycat culture' in India needs to be called out and cancelled after the set used in new Deepika Padukone starrer Levi's ad was plagiarised by the makers.

Her husband used to talk vulgar to girlfriend in front of her: Here is what the lawyer of Ayesha, who jumped into Sabarmati river,...

Ayesha, who committed suicide by jumping into the Sabarmati River in Gujarat on March 1, had a disquiet marital life

Crores of undisclosed income, unexplained cash receipts and more: IT Dept discovery so far in raids against Anurag Kashyap, Taapsee Pannu

Income Tax department (IT dept) conducted raid on properties linked to filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, actress Taapsee Pannu and others

‘Inserted her hand claiming she was planting a tree’: LGBT activist Divya Dureja accused of sexual assault under pretext of shamanic ritual

A popular LGBT activist Divya Dureja has been accused of sexual assault by Elodie Gendron under pretext of a Shamanic ritual.

Icchadhari protestor Yogendra Yadav finally admits that farmers’ protest is political and is about defeating PM Modi: Read how

Four months after the farmers protest began, Yogendra Yadav has finally admitted that the protests are indeed political
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

253,203FansLike
522,063FollowersFollow
23,800SubscribersSubscribe