XIX CommonWealth Games 2010 : Impact on India Tourism Industry after Recession

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”-Martin Buber

Like the quote mentions, offbeat, secret, exotic destinations of Incredible India await to be explored by the tourists and travelers, when they arrive for the XIX CommonWealth Games to be held from 3rd to 14th October, 2010 at New Delhi.

However, I agree to witness the changes after the recession a bit – but overall the scenario painted is far rosy than what will eventually materialise. However budget tourism and Northern Indian packages will receive a boost – more as a result of ending of the recession. A personal opinion – the influx of tourists to Northern India will be because of the Dushera / Diwali rush rather than the Common Wealth Game 2010. In fact in view of the paranoia among the Westerners over security I feel that Delhi will not actually be swarming with tourists.

ASSOCHAM predicts India is going to earn around USD 16,915 million in the year 2010 from tourism. The Common Wealth Game 2010 will give them the impetus. Foreign tourists will depend on tour and travel agencies for reservations, flight bookings and other travel services. Expectedly over 2 million foreign tourists and 4.5 million domestic tourists will grace Delhi on the eve of the Commonwealth Games 2010.

The Ministry of Tourism and Archaeological Survey of India has launched ‘Discover India in Common Wealth Game 2010’ in road shows in CommonWealth countries as heavy tourists arrival is expected from these places. Delhi is getting beautified. Tourists will be able to hop on and off dedicated tourist bus services from mid September. Heritage, religious and adventure tourist sites in the northern states are getting repackaged. From spa to spirituality everything is on the menu. Bhangarh – one of the 100 most haunted place worldwide will welcome tourists under an initiative ‘Ghost to be Host’ :).  Shimla, in Himachal Pradesh Nainital, in Utaranchal and Puri, a beach destination and such popular tourist destinations are expected to be crammed with tourists as CWG 2010 corresponds to the domestic tourist season.

Athletes, besides free accommodation, security, transportation would reportedly be offered trips to the Taj and heritage sites likeFatehpur Sikri, Sikandra, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Ranthambore, Sariska, Mathura, Vrindavan among others.

Since Delhi is staging the games Northern Indian destinations in Himachal, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan will definitely see an increase in tourist influx but overall Kerala, Orissa, Goa, Andamans etc will also benefit. Alternative, niche focus areas like Medical Tourism, Yoga, Ayurvedic rejuvenation packages, Tribal and Village tours will get a boost. Already popular destinations like Shimla in the north, Puri in the east etc will be choc a bloc. As there will be a heavy rush in the Northern India, domestic tourists will flock to Orissa and other Southern states. Puri (Orissa) is an evergreen destination and this time a significant number of foreign tourists will also visit the Buddhist circuit in Orissa, driving on the local economy. Chandragiri and adjacent places are nearly perfect destinations for tribal or rural tourism. North eastern states are natural havens and nature seekers will not give it a miss. Kaziranga with the highest tiger density in India is the gateway.

Offbeat destinations like Similipal Tiger Reserve Forest and Sanctuary, Jatinga bird sanctuary, Naga headhunter villages like Mon and Longkhum, adventure tours in caves of Mizoram, including one full of human skeletons from ancient history (Milu Puk) are one of a kind experience. Budget Tourism is a sector that will register heavy growth. The unheralded bread and breakfast scheme, with firm focus on “Atithi Devo Bhava” has open up new avenues of niche accommodation.

Commonwealth Games “CWG” is expected to bring a boom to the medical tourism industry. With such anticipation both the healthcare providers and the medical tourism facilitators, are making extra efforts to gain from this opportunity.

Foreign tourist arrivals between January-June 2010 were 26.32 lakh compared to 23.76 lakh in the same period in 2009 (up 10%). According to India tourism ministry data foreign exchange earned by India increased by 28.1% in June 2010 over June 2009. Foreign exchange earnings during January-June 2010 were $6,842 million with a growth rate of 36.6% compared to $5,007 million in 2009. Foreign tourist arrivals in India during June 2010 were 3.70 lakh compared to 3.42 lakh during June 2009. Forex earned in June 2010 was $1,020 million compared to $796 million in 2009.  Things are looking upbeat for CommonWealth Games 2010.

The schedule of the CWG has coincided with the end of recession. This should provide the perfect opportunity for an under pressure tourism sector to erase deficits and launch itself on a path of high growth in the next decade.

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