India has a tremendous potential for tourism, both in terms of geography and history. It is an important destination for the domestic and foreign tourists. There are desert, seas, hills and mountains—inhabited by people from diverse cultures, religions, languages, food habits wearing colourful costumes. Not this alone , look at our history from before Indus valley civilization through various reigns and kingdoms, their relics, monuments etc. What India projects as a single country to foreign tourist, a continent–say Europe, in its whole can not. Even when our illiterate/ half-literate people colorfully attired goes to vote on foot or on the back of a camels is a sight enjoyed by a foreigner.
Tourism is just not an event in isolation, it means a lot to our economy. In 2016, India Govt earned Rs 1,55,650 crores in foreign exchange from tourism. It contributes approx7%-directly and indirectly, as compared to 2% from mining and 7% from much touted IT outsourcing, to our GDP, and in direct and indirect way provides employment to approx 11% of our people. Tourisn brings business to cottage industries, agriculture, hotels etc.
But tourism potential has not been fully exploited. In spite of its size, India is 38th most visited nation in the world—8.89 million visitors received by continent-sized India in 2016 while 16.4 million received by city-sized Singapore. There is infrastructural problem, there are shortage of quality hotels—above all there are acute security problem. Women tourists are not safe; often there are reports of rape. Judicial delays does not allow justice to be met in a reasonable time. All these damages the image of India, ultimately coming in the way of fully realizing the tourist potential. There is another sector which needs Govt attention. This is medical tourism. India has a huge no of efficient doctors and paramedic staff as also some well equipped hospitals where patients from rich countries come and take medical treatment or undergo surgeries at much lesser cost than their own countries. This group of doctors and paramedical staff have worked in those developed countries, worked with sophisticated medical equipments for treating the patients. Those experiences will help them to treat the patients from developed countries at a much cheaper cost. Our Govt may create necessary infrastructure and improve law and order situation to attract foreign tourists. Thus, tourism as a whole can create a lot of wealth for the nation.