It has been cryptically observed that INDIA performs better than her tourism industry. Considering her rich resources in biodiversity, cultural heritage, history and antiquity, tourism should have been the foremost in the Asian region, particularly in South East Asia and the Pacific, where growth in tourism has been the fastest in recent years, almost four times faster than the world average (WTO: 1994). Surprizingly, some small-sized neighbourly countries, like Malaysia, Indonesia, Hongkong have been able to attract more tourists and better receipts than India. Even in terms of quality, the diminutives like Maldives and Bhutan present an appreciable model of sustainable tourism by integrating environment and tourism.
India's tourist movement, organised in early 50's, has now come of age. Leaders of the industry have reason to be self-complacent on what they have achieved on numbers, hard currency and development of recreation resources in the remote mountains, along the coastline, historic cities, parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Critics of this kind of growth have raised eye-brows as they found it, for the most part, adhoc, piece meal and lopsided devoid of research base and bereft of well defined sustainable tourism development policy goals. This has resulted in unwholesome development, threatening the integrity of the ecosystem. This is so much visible over the Himalayas where traditional religious tourism in the name of Yatras has almost yielded place to unholy mass consumerism. Resorts of the Raj days, all along the middle Himalayas, have reached their saturation points, crying for diffusion of activity. Coastal Goa, Kovalam, Puri, and Mahabalipuram on the Western and Eastern seaboards appear to be in distress. India's most ancient city-Benaras-with its Ghats is inflicted with worst kind of environmental injuries. The Taj city is besmeared with pollution. The Nawab's Avadh is crying for better development and strategic tourism promotion. Strangely India's tourism industry runs with little baseline data on tourism resources, visitors statistics, demographics and behaviouristic studies. Very little, if any
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