Adventure tourism in India is one of the fastest growing sectors. The adventure tourism sector also provides a medium for people to live their life fully and make a living out of it. It is estimated that over 50 million people visit India every year, which could translate into the tourism sector worth of $16.07 billion by 2020.
The Adventure Travel Industry in India – Identifying Opportunities and Challenges
The Indian adventure tourism industry is witnessing tremendous growth as the future market for travel is currently growing at a rate of 7-10% every year.
It has also been estimated that the adventure tourism industry is going to become the largest tourism segment in India by 2020, with about 60 million tourists visiting this sector annually.
India is blessed with natural beauty and adventure sport enthusiasts are all about experiencing nature’s beauty in their natural forms. Thus, it is the need of the hour to cater to the demand for adventure travel to the thrill seekers in India.
The market is currently under-penetrated and needs to be explored extensively by creating infrastructure and launching packages which cater to this segment.
There are several festivals happening in India every year and this helps create a huge market for adventure tourism in the country. Adventure tourism has now become one of the most demanded segments and Adventure companies in India are making efforts to capitalize on this opportunity. However, India lacks in key areas like outdoor education, adventure adventure training and experience. Hence, there is a lack of expertise in this industry. Also, the competition is stiff and the price factor is high. Also, tourists are subjected to strict documentation and compliances for this sector, which add to the cost of adventure travel.
It has been observed that the Indian tourist sector is becoming more and more dependent on domestic tourism and less and less dependent on international tourism. In this article, we will discuss the importance of geographic diversity in the Indian tourism industry.
In order to cater to the growing needs of domestic tourism and the increasing dependence on foreign tourism, the state government concerned with the tourism industry has started to develop their own products in order to bring the best to these destinations.
Two of the key states for domestic tourism that are of importance to this discussion are Maharashtra and Rajasthan. In fact, the two states are home to many popular tourist destinations, with popular destinations including the Gateway of India in Mumbai and the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Both these sites are very well developed with the infrastructure as well as modern transportation facilities such as railway, airport, expressways, etc.
Maharashtra has a total of 17 major tourist destinations in its jurisdiction, which include popular tourist attractions like the places related to the Marathi community like Laxmi Road, Dadar Chowpatty, Byculla, etc., places like Girgaon Chowpatty, the Gateway of India, Sion Chowpatty and the Arabian Sea, etc. Apart from these major tourist sites, the state also has quite a few regional tourist attractions such as the Ellora Caves, the Ajanta Caves, the Konkan coast, etc.
Rajasthan is another major state that serves as an attraction for domestic tourists. It has a total of 34 tourist attractions spread across its territory and includes popular tourist destinations like the Jain pilgrimage site of Karauli, which is close to the ancient Jain city of Udaipur; Aravalli Range, where several well known archaeological and historical monuments are located, such as Udaipur Fort and Amber Fort; heritage sites such as the Mewar Circle; lakes such as Lake Pichola and the Lake Palace Hotel and fortification complexes such as Dholpur Fort and Sawai Madhopur.
The state also has several National heritage sites like Chittorgarh Fort, Mahendragiri Fort, Sanganer, etc., besides some provincial sites like Pratapgarh, Sri Ganganagar, Jhalawar, Jaisalmer, etc. The important state tourism attractions in Rajasthan include: the Jagran Fort, Dungarpur Fort, Chand Baori, Chittorgarh Fort, Nal Bada Ganpati Temple, and others.
As the state with the highest population in the country and one of the fastest growing states in terms of economic activity, the government of Maharashtra has already established quite a few tourism attractions that are meant for domestic tourists. The primary focus of tourism development in the state is of a niche nature and tends to cater to domestic tourists. The following tourist destinations are some of the most popular domestic tourist destinations in the state:
The Gateway of India
This is a popular tourist destination located at the southern part of Mumbai. The Gateway of India represents the historical Indian admittance and immigration point to the Port of Bombay and can be recognised by the large crown and lion sculptures on top of the archway. It is very popular for its unique heritage significance. The gateway was designed by architect Charles Correa and opened to the public in 1969. The Gateway of India is a popular tourist destination as it attracts a lot of domestic as well as foreign tourists.
This is located in Dandi in the state of Gujarat and is famous for its large elephant statues in the open. It is a popular tourist destination for seeing the statues of the elephant and its tusker standing around. The Elephant Fort is situated around 25 kilometres from the famous city of Ahmedabad. The monument is a fine example of Mahabharata architecture.
The Taj Mahal
This is an iconic image that is spread across the world and is known as one of the most beautiful and famous tourist attractions in the world. It is a world heritage site which is spread over 210 hectares and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. This imposing, perfect white mausoleum stands in the middle of the Yamuna river and has a beautiful garden surrounding it. There are nine minarets, more than 843 domes and an ornate marble tomb with two bodies resting on the two sides. The Taj Mahal has great religious and historical significance and the white marble depicts royal elegance.
Bhima Riverfront Development
The Bhima riverfront development is located on the western bank of the Tapti river in the city of Surat. The development is a commercial, cultural, residential and leisure tourism spot with a shopping mall. The development is spread over a total area of three hectares and is another major tourist attraction in the state of Gujarat.
The Mysore Palace is a beautiful heritage site in the city of Mysore in the state of Karnataka. The Mysore Palace is one of the major tourist destinations in the country and is visited by domestic and foreign tourists.
The Taj Mahal and Golden Gate
The Taj Mahal and Golden Gate is another beautiful heritage site in the city of Agra. The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful and famous tourist attractions in the world and is one of the three Mughal mausoleums in the world. It was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Golden Gate was built by Shah Jahan’s son, Aurangzeb in the memory of Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is a breathtaking building and draws a great number of tourists every year. The Golden Gate is a magnificent mausoleum built in the Baroque architecture style.
This is one of the major tourism sites in India and is famous for its scenic beauty. The Narmada river flows through the entire state and is said to be the lifeline of the state. The state also has many lakes and rivers with interesting and attractive landscape. The Narmada Valley is one of the major tourist attractions in the state and attracts a lot of domestic and foreign tourists.
This is another major tourist attraction in the state of Bihar and is known as the Gateway of North Bihar. The Murtizapur Fort is located on the eastern bank of the Ganges River and is said to be the home of the Magadh Empire. The fort is one of the oldest of its kind in the country and has beautiful gardens and five lakes.
This is a popular tourism destination in the western part of Gujarat and it is a major tourist destination for visitors to this state. The fort has a number of forts around it. The fort is famous for its Vaishnavite temples and is known for its beauty and grandeur. The famous temple of Mahadev is also located in this fort. The Mughal architecture is impressive and the fort is full of cultural and historical significance.
Jalaram Bheem Mandir
This is a popular attraction in Rajasthan. The temple is built on top of a hill and attracts a great number of tourists from across the country. The temple has an old main temple as well as many other temples and shrines. The architecture is very beautiful and it is a must-see place for visitors in the state.
The Ajmer Sharif Dargah
The Ajmer Sharif Dargah is another popular tourist destination and it is located in the southern part of Rajasthan. The temple has a number of temples in its precincts and is also a famous site for pilgrimage. The beautiful architecture and exterior of the temple attract a great number of domestic and foreign tourists every year.
This is one of the most popular Hindu pilgrimages in the country and is another major tourist destination in the state of Haryana. The pilgrimage is said to be a sacred place and attracts thousands of pilgrims from across the country every year. The pilgrimage area is known for its unique religious atmosphere and has a lot of scenic beauty.
The Ahwa waterfalls is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Gujarat and is known for its marvelous scenic beauty. The waterfalls are located on the Surat-Ahwa road and the Agra-Rajkot highway and it is surrounded by attractive gardens and streams. The waterfalls has been named as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country and attracts a great number of domestic and foreign tourists every year.
Though the government of India has put in a lot of effort to promote adventure travel in the country, it still remains a small segment of the overall tourism industry.
A person needs to work hard for a considerable period of time to reach the highest peaks of the Himalayas and other such treacherous terrains.
The way it works is that one waits for the right season to book one’s tickets, when there is lesser footfall as compared to the busy season of monsoon and peak tourism season.
This is because it is a time when the country receives less tourists, hence the foreign tourists book most of the tickets in advance.
Among them are the Europeans and Americans, who return to their countries after a period of 6 months or more in India, as these countries have been conducting school holiday tours in this period.
The Europeans can book their tickets through travel agencies.
When the school holiday tour stops, the Europeans and Americans need to leave the country, as they require visas to visit India, which take around 3 to 4 months for approval.
Thus, in addition to the European travellers leaving the country, the number of Indian travellers must be reduced.
This causes a natural decline in the tourism industry.
This impact of the foreigners is more prevalent in popular tourist destinations, like the hill stations.
Such a dip in foreign tourist traffic can further impact the availability of local tourists as the number of Indians travelling by road increases.