A comprehensive history and sketch out of domestic tourism in India

According to WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) Tourism industry in India ponied up 3.7% of its total GDP in 2017. A fair expectation of 7.6% rise in 2018 was estimated by its forecasts. It might sound a bitsy portion of the entire national account statements but it’s not so in terms of the employment generation flow in the country. Tourism contributed 5.0% of the total employment in 2017 directly and adding the informal sector, it inflates to 8.0%. Tourism has been always the magical bypass for easy foreign exchange and over the period of time the industry swelled at such a rate India was forced to liberate it to form its own independent ministry. In between this portfolio went dutch with the civil aviation, even with ministry of commerce and finance at occasion till early 90’s.
Despite the reason was grossly economic behind India’s alacritous curiosity for tourism promotion, it was often neglected a sincere reevaluation. India’s dogged advocacy towards international and inbound tourism might create an easy illusive picture : such promotion is legitimate as international tourists are ready to spend more and they generate a considerable traffic.In contrast to such belief, 88% of total spending during travel was allocated by the domestic tourists in 2016 .CAGR [compound annual growth rate] in foreign traffic for 1991-2016 was 8.25% while in domestic traffic the rise was 13/03%. So it’s just not about GDP in general but a more settled balance of payments which the GOI is concerned with.

For pre-90 India domestic tourism was counting on pilgrimages and social excursions but soon after the implementation of NEP policy and rapid transformation in economic infrastructure , social reticulum in the country evolved dramatically. Mass generation of employment in the sophisticated postmodern industries has insinuated a revised psychology amidst the employed youth in urban spheres of the country. The booming service sector shares 25% of total employment along with a sweet salary structure and allowances like LTA which promotes the idea of travel among the emerging professionals. Domestic tourism can not be defined under a uni-directional strategy anymore when cultural and food travels are cropping up through holidaying and leisure-recreations with the help of e-players like Lonely Planet and Tripadvisors. Young bloggers and youtubers are kneading hard since last decade to define a more cosmopolitan meaning of domestic tourism within India. Before considering an overhauled treatment to this specialized sector , let’s first sketch a chalk talk and understand in depth what domestic tourism is all about.


The International definition In a joint international conference arranged by UNWTO and the Government of Canada and Ottawa in June,1991, a proposal was laid to review the Manual On Tourism Economic Accounts developed by OECD It also demanded a set of more elucidating statistical definitions for International and Domestic tourism and type of tourist activities.

In 2008, ‘Domestic Tourism’ was defined by the UN secretariat department of social affairs through their handbook ‘International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics’. The term ‘domestic’ triggered the ‘original marketing connotation’ which refers the activities of the resident visitors within the country of reference. ‘Domestic Tourism’ in fact, corresponds to ‘National Tourism’.Under the same chapter the three forms of tourism had been distinguished for the first time; a) Domestic Tourism , b) Inbound Tourism and c) Outbound Tourism. Here accentuation is on ‘visitors’ rather than on ‘the types of visits’, seemingly to calculate the fiscal contribution of denizens to the greater market of tourism commerce. While a ‘tourist’ portends a overnight visitor in a location ‘visitors’ indicate ‘same-day visitors’ or ‘excursionists’.Under ‘the demand perspective: basic definitions and ’ label, figures have favorably splintered the traveller hierarchy and spelled out the possible reasons for travels within a country or abroad.
Under the section ‘Travel & Tourism’, it clearly states as follows;

“Travel within a country by residents is called domestic travel. Travel to a country by non-residents is called inbound travel, whereas travel outside a country by residents is called outbound travel.”

The Sui Generis Definition of Domestic Tourism By The Ministry Of Statistics & Programme Implementation, GOI

NSSO in its 72th round submitted the July 2014 - June 2015 statistical report titling ‘Domestic tourism in India’. In chapter 2 , it discussed the basic defntions and concepts. It defines travel as follows :
“In general, travel is understood as the movement of persons between different geographic locations specifically different geographical administrative areas (like different villages/towns/cities), for any purpose and any duration. Those who travel are referred to as travelers. Travel can occur within a country (domestic travel) or involve more than one country (international travel). Domestic trip (defined later, separately for overnight and same-day) is a subset of domestic travel.”

It also defines domestic overnight trips as “ A domestic overnight trip is one with a main destination within the country of residence of the visitor. It refers to a movement - for a duration of not less than twelve hours (including 12 midnight to 5 A.M.) in two consecutive calendar days (i.e. crossing midnight or 00-00 hours) and of not more than 6 months - by one or more household members outside their usual environment (which includes the usual place of residence (UPR) and return to the same UPR (a round trip).....” . Any form of migration , daily or frequent trips from UPRs to the same locations have been demarcated from the clause above. Tourism and visit have been bifurcated by the numbers of people arriving at a station. If few or all members of a household is visiting a place for a leading purpose it classes under ‘tourism’ while visits by a single member from that very household would be termed a simple ‘visit’. Such branching may aid to calculate differences between the UMPCE (Usual expenditure for household purposes in a month) and TE (travel expenditure). As tourism generates more outflows, the surveyors remain keener to find out the former’s figures.


Formation of Bodies

List of important committees on domestic tourism development in India
Sergent committee : Tourist Traffic Branch Just one year prior to the nation’s independence the then education advisor Sir John Sergent chaired a historical committee to observe the anomalies in generating tourist traffic in India.It report came in 1947. It recommended dozens of crucial alteration and commencement in the tourism field to accelerate the traffic.It enunciated a standing organization which would look after domestic (also international) publicity through literatures e.g guide books and posters etc.A department of market research should be established which would provide better statistical insights regarding current traffic.As it said Establishig infrustructures like roads, railways , hotels and catering along with airways to make the trips and journeys convenient Other endorsement were for strictly promoting international tourism .for earning better foreign exchanges. In result , the first tourist traffic branch was founded in 1949 whch had its chainn in Bombay , Madras, Calcutta and Delhi.

Tourist Traffic Committee ( Ad hoc)
Another traffic committe was established with temporary means after the independence in 1948 to refine and cultivate the propositions of Sergent committee reports. It was headed by the ministry of Transport.

Estimates Committee : State Tourist Traffic Advisory Committee
Report no. 34 of the Estimate Committee during the first lok sabha (1952) proposed a designation calling ‘ director general of tourism’. It recommended expansions of additional information centers and regional tourist offices. It also directed the state government to open more tourist bureaux to encourage subsidy from the Union government.A mission on gathering sample surveys on tourism fecilitites from Calcutta , Madras and Bombay was also proposed.One of its most idiosyncratic suggestions was to bring certain aspects of tourism, hotels, guides and travel agents into direct legislation.
52th report whch was discussed in the 2nd lok sabha heavily contributed to the domestic tourism then called ‘home tourism’. As literatures published for domestic promotions were dreary translations from the original english content which was needed to revised to attract more domestic traffic, a prior consultation with the respective state government became mandatory before such literary circulation.
In 1967,on the floor of parliament , 90th and 130th reports offered few significant measurements to be taken to eliminate previously failed schemes during the 2nd and 3rd plan. Instead boosting liasons with Film Divisions, All India Radio and Press Information Bureau for a more effective publicity through producing in travel films and documentaries was suggested. Motels and youth hostels also came into existence after these reports.
Fifth Lok sabha(1971) produced 42th, 55th and 100th reports of Estimates Comittee which asked to establish the National Institute Of Tourism and for the first time discussed on promoting wild-life tourism in India by creating wild-life sanctuaries and national parks. Fifth lok sabha reminded the schemes of F. R. Allchin report for preservations of ASI (archeological survey of India) monumentals areas and places of historical interests. L. K. Jha Committee

Though this committee was principally set up to investigate the downfall of traffic in the past years, along with the given task it additionally suggested few more criterias to be developed for coming years. This committee was founded in 1962 and chaired by Laxmi Kant Jha who later remained the eigth RBI governor from 1967-70. Some of those pivotal suggestions were : 1) official approvals to restuarants 2) opening up 5500 hotels 3) 3 government cooperations for better infrustuctures 4) permit room system in Delhi 5) increase efficiency by Indian airlines 6) a standing committee for addressing tourists grievance. F R Allchin Committee

In 1968 the Department of Tourism (DoT) availed the service of tourist epert Dr. F. R. Allchin from UNESCO who helped shaping the cultural tourism in India.His report mainly honed in to develope the monuments under ASI and advised the latter to publish scholarly literatures in forms of guide books and brochures which still can be availed at any ASI counter outside the monumental peripheries. He encouraged the theme of ‘photo-safaris’ and better preservation of sanctuaries. Though he laid his reports keeping the inbound tourists in mind, according to the 2016 survey, to the total 115 centrally protected ticketed monuments. foreign visitors were approximate 23.79 lakhs while domestic traffic was more than 4Cr.

Conceptualising Tourist spots

During 2nd five years plan at the very first three-tier tourist scheme, GOI started to focus more on refurbishing the sites which were already considered famous and popular for its destinational traffic. They emphasized to develope the temple cities specially keeping the domestic tourists in mind. The third year draft commttee augmented these procedures by declaring Cape Comorin (present day Kanya Kumari) as an All India Tourist Center to attract the traffic from northern and other zonal areas.To make Vijayawada a cultural tourist site, creation of an airport was proposed. The winter sport complex was made at Gulmarg and more mountain resorts came under construction, now this place happens to be one of the most densely visited hlll stations by the domestic trippers. Under the beach tourism concept, areas like Kovalam in Kerala and Goa started to gain importance in the fifth five years plan.After the emergence of Hippie culture , Goan hoteliers had developed a strict lobbies with the zonal government tourist agency which further helped them transforming it into an ideal beach spot. When prince Col. Goadavarma Raja founded KTL ( Kerala Tour Limited) teamworking with Thomas Cook he promoted Kovalam as a tourist site. KTL initially wanted to nationalise itself but legal complexites hindered the process which made the union governtment approach to improve the beach. 1966 under KTDC leadershp, Kovalam was taken under the national scheme and within Seventies became massively popular among the hippie tourists. Other important places which developed within 1960-80s were Kullu-manali, Ajanta, Khajuraho temple complex etc.

Important recommendations by Planning Commissions ( 1st - 7th five yrs. plan) in the field of domestic travel

[ First five years plan ] Tourist Dvision was mainly concerned with foreign traffic but it did screening of films , exhibitions and other large varieties of tourist publicity. [ second five years plan] 157 lakhs of fund for central and 178 lakhs were released for the state , exclusively for tourism promotion. State funds were to be used to develop sites of pilgrimages and holiday camps.

[Third Five Years Plan]
450 lakhs were allocated to the states. PC (Planning Commission) looked forward to develop better nfrustructures like hotel industry. The center took the reponsibilities of improvsation in terms of foreign tourists while the domestic tourism directly fell in the hands of NDP (National Developmental Council). Annual Plans : From year 1966-69 , first two years states received funds of 15 lakh , 30 lakhs and 36 lakhs out of which states only spent 9.86 lakhs, 8.76 lakhs and 15.82 lakhs respectively.
[ Fourth Five Years Plan ]
Advsory committee decided to seperate destinational traffic from the transit traffic. A substantial sum of 11 crores was released exclusively to the States and Unon Territories to dvelop tourism across the nation. ITDC was instructed to create and renovate more motels, tourist cottages and bunglows. State plans were to materialize opening up more low-income rest houses for the domestic tourists. [ Fifth Five Year Plan ]
55 crores of fund was allocated to the states.Tourism preference were to be determined by surveys and States were to invest in roads, water, electricity and transportaton fecilities. Between 1976-77 fifteen youth hostels and eleven tourist bunglows were constructed.

[ Sixth 5 year Plan ]
For providing facilities at tourist centers of national importance central government launched a grant-in-aid scheme.The expenditure was to be shared between the states and the center by 50:50 share. 115 crores had to be spent by the state sectors. Development of social tourism also commenced under this plan. Potentials of under-estimated places were to be examined to promote international and domestic traffic.Under social tourism programmes assorted pilgrimage centers were to be renovated to attract visitors within the country.Ten new complexes which were situated within rural territories were selected to promote cultural tourism.. Under such model of rural reconstruction, the areas were to be redesigned by using building materials and thorough landscaping.

[ seventh 5 year plan ]
Bharatiya yatri vikas samiti was initated to aid domestc pilgrims with better experience. Yatrika, musafirkhana and dharamshalas were established for accomodations near the pilgrimage centers. A target of 7% annual growth was estimated under this plan.326 crores allocated to the over all tourism portfolio.

ITDC & joint infrastructural developments

Youth Hostel
The youth hostel in India was the aftermath of international movement for youth hostels, started in Germany in 1919. In India, around forties it received an uproar among the youth travellers when the first youth hostel was opened in Tara Devi, Punjab in 1945 by Sir Bertrand Glancy, the then governor of Punjab. In 1952 the Indian hosteliers were managed to attain a membership in IYHF (International Youth Hostel Federation) which spontenously prompted them to establish the national association of the youth hostel. In 1956, in Delhi they held a natonal conference which was attended by Pt. Nehru. But not before 1970, it could ace any note-worthy test. On October 5th , 1970 they opened their first officially marked youth hostel in Chanakyapuri, Delhi. Afterwards, it was able to expand its network successfully throughout the country.Now it has more than 100 wings. To understand how the youth hostels incentived the growth of domestc tourism in India, we should look deep into the organizational structure of the association. All youth hostels come under the respective state tourism department i.e state YHAI. Restricting the membership within the citizens of 11-18 yrs. age groups give a contingency to get introduced to the national tourism milieu independently. For many, it becomes the maiden solo or group trips out of their families. The state YHAI arranges organized tours in trekking and camping spots which belie the previous concept of pilgrimage-centered domestic tourism in the country.It encouraged the youth to elicit perceptions on wildlife resoucres and geographcal contours of the native country through a more secular adjustment. YHAI is allied with the state railways and was run by volunteers before the strong NEP implementation in late 90s. The reinvestments and fund policies were fair and just, thus cheap and affordable for the young hosteliers.

Janata Hotels
Janata hotels initiative was taken under the Sixth plan scheme in 1980. In compliance with fixed budget allocated to states this chain was established to keep the rental at the lowest. First four Janata hotels came into presence in the four respective metropolitans in the country. Its range was 150 to 1250 beds.This initiation was taken by ITDC but rest of theJanata hotels were left to be funded and regulated by the state tourism development corporation. The 1982 policy approaching could be sensed already, Janata projects were made open to the private investment groups and franchisees. Entrepreneurs were encouraged to alleviate the infrustructure provision within the hotel premises by providing air-conditioning and air-cooling fecilities. Multi-purpose halls were to be made for socio-cultural programmes. Bringing up shopping emporiums around the hotels was proposed for the internatonal trippers.Religious and private organizations were selected for incentives to plummit extra-PSU invesmtents. Janata hotels were to serve low to middle income groups in the country.This was a joint venture where States provided the electricity at a concessional rates and the central took care of the LP gas for the pantries.Cross subsdization was arranged through one profitable property financially aiding its low profitable sister property. The states even provided the land at zero cost to the establishments where they could. It had adopted a four tiered infrusturcture with dormitory, single,double and air-conditioned rooms

Ashok and Janpath

Before the foundation of ITDC ( Indian Tourism Development Corporaton ) on 1st October, 1966 the sector had three parents naming ITHC ,ITCL and ITTU. On 28th March, 1970 Ashok Ltd and Janpath Ltd merged together into a singular ITDC endeavour “The Ashok” Ashok was a creation out of emergency to host the 9th UNESCO delegation in India by the first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.in 1955. Though 87.03% shareholding is of the GOI , while securing a prodigiou amound land during its inception year was grubstaked by fifteen rulers fromprincely states out of total 23 shareholders. It was finally inaugurated in 1956. Some of the cardnal units run by The Ashok other than hotel chains are their duty free shops, son-et-lumiere events at evenings in selective ASI monuments and famous pubs and restaurants. The group also manages 23 cottages in Bharatpur and Kosi tourist complex.

1982: The year for first tourism policy in India
How the policy impacted the over all domestic tourism and social upliftment in the country

On 3rd November , 1982 The ministry of tourism presented its draft on the floor of the both houses of parliament which defined the policy adaptation for tourism sector in its subsequent years.The next tourism policies were announced in 1992 , 2002 and 2015 consecutivey. In the same year, in June The Planning Commisson had approved the DoT to constitute the MoT, its own independent ministry. 1982 policy’s catchphrase was a six words’ maxim : “swagat , suchna, suvidha, suraksha, sahyog and samrachna”. Under 6.1 section domestic tourism found its place where the government admitted the lack of proper domestic data for destinational traffic, though under 4th 5 Yrs. plan a distinction between transit and destinational movement was recommended. Beacuse of dearth in market surveys an estimation of real travelling visitors within the states was impossble to assess. The draft ackowledged the substantial absence of convenient arrangements for the native travellers and looked forward to improve it.
A large portion of the objective list talks about socio-economic development and employment generation through international tourism. It focused on the youth section to a large extend. It was suggested they could come closer to each other irrespectve of their cultural or regional backgrounds through youth hostels.
Cultural tourism was emphasised by maintaining the monuments under ASI and state departments of archeology. The concept of ‘travel circuit’ was solidified under the policy where instead of one tourism spot , cluster of nearly situated areas were picked up for a blanket development (e.g (shimla-kullu-manali. Munnar-idukki).
For travellers hailing from poor to low income groups, establishment of dharamshalas and sarais were recommended. Organizations like Bhartiya Avas Vikas Samiti were invited to take up such intitiatives and help the GOI to materialize them more effeciently. The major economic shift commenced under the bridging between export and tourism trades around 1989 and was already envisaged through 1982 policy by givng fiscal and other incentives to make travel industry identically profitable like the ‘other export-oriented industries’.


National committee on tourism [1986]

A competitive mindset, betterly managed capital-labour ratio,and adopting a more liberal policy for international airlines to operate on indian soil : India came at a verge of massve transmogrification when the Planning Commission formed a committee headed by the then chairman of Trade Fair Authority in 1986 for a stimulation in tourism sector.
An urgent call was made to the private sector investment by throwing more lucrative fiscal incentives due to the scarcity of capital alloted to the portfolio.It recommended a ‘spread approach’ rather than a ‘speed approach’.
It emphasised on a jack in youth and unconventional( non-traditional) niche tourism. National Tourism Board was created as an apex body to look after the ministry affairs.

The post-NEP history of domestic tourism in India [1991 Onwards]

In the first decade of 21st century, a much conferred step towards Indian tourism was the campaigning calling ‘Incredible India’ which became a prompt success for the MoT and helped India generate a substantial amount of revenue from Inbound tourism. But, this certain emphasis and post-modernistic look towards tourism was more due to a grand shift in economic protocols with the World Bank in as early as 89’ during Rajiv Gandhi regime rather than a connatural metamorphosis . During the global oil price hike during Gulf War and the incompetence in PSU sector pushed India to change its fiscal policy in 1990s. P V Narasimha Rao government complied with the IMF and World Bank and brought the new concept of liberalisations of market to calibrate the nation’s balance of payment.
To bridle this ever rising latter giant, India made a lot of reformations by selective divesting in most of its ministries whch were facing debit balances but had revenue potentials.
Incredible India was an innovative way to manage the fiscal deficit and ease the BOP by attracting tourists from every major developed countries to a more cultural, more historical India which they have missed since the inception of this modern democratic. Before moving into the details of this elegant campaign and its direct effect on domestic tourism, the second last tourism policy ( last one being in 1997 ) of the 20th century should be taken into consideration because it was the first colored pictographic official brochure echoing a professional India, ready to focus and puff its nation one step further which would evetually redefine the identities of hospitality, cultural dominance and nationalism for the globe and for India itself in the first phase of globalizaton.

[ 1992 National Action Plan ]
On May 5th,1992 the ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation published the tourism policy under the caption ‘National Action Plan’. Unlike Incredible India booklet, ‘Domestic Tourism’ with a highlighted citation in the brochure can be found.This was an output by the ad hoc committee headed by a think tank and the then Tourism minister Mr. Madhavrao Scindia in 1991. *

Under the objective section, some of the significant target were ‘increasing employment opportunities’ and ‘developing domestic tourism…’. Like the ‘Janata hotel’ project, Mot specified domestic tourism would be promoted keeping the budget category in mind. They complied with the fact domestic tourism within India forms a generous chunk of world tourism traffic.So, for a more affordable inter-state or intra-state holiday, MoT would expand its particularity. Other than insistent recommendation on infrastructure extension, the policy also talked about the alternative niche of tourism.Reckoning tourism as a product it emphasized on core consumer needs. While retaining the cultural tourism (which was defined by ASI monuments and holy sites till then ) more focus were to be put on incentive, convention, adventure and leisure tourism.
The state considered to leave the infrustructure to serve the purposes of international and domestic traffic to the private sector as it was deemed ‘the best option’.
To augment domestic tourism, the government instructed the State Tourism Development Corporations (STDCs) to look after the adventure camps. The central initated two conspicuous schemes i.e paying guests accomodation and apartment hotels to fecilitate the tourist from low-income stratum. Travel trade sector was advised to reap a certain percentage from the domestic tourism to give it a boost.

Pilgrim tourism and craft village concept

For the pilgrim circuit the central government announced 5.00cr to STDCs to promote better accomodation facilities, way-side amenties and road infrastructure.. Crafts melas which usually generate a major portion of domestic and international tourists were suggested to be developed in order to give a boost to the traditional craft industry. Special finacial assistance was granted for bedeck the famous traditional melas which were a reflection of cultural heritage in past years.

ASTA The policy launched scheme to assist the specified tourism areas which needed intense financial and structural assistance. The famous travel circuits were included in the list along with some undermined tourist spots like Lakshwadeep, Kangra, Bekal and Muttukadu beaches which in turn engendered gradual rise of domestic visitors to these coastal sites.

Specified chart had been announced regarding fiscal incentives to the emerging hotel industry (private entrepreneurs) for further investment in the respective sector but as they were overwhlemingly innervated to increase foreign exchanges within the hotel premises, it had hardly made any difference for the domestic sector. So such specification has been ignored here.

New tourism policy 2002 [ !ncredible India & more ] (coming up shortly....)