India has always been one of the world’s favorite destinations due to its diverse culture and uniqueness; however there are several societal elements that have directly or indirectly impacted upon growth of tourism in this country.
The unique hospitality of Indians has attracted travelers to the country on the one hand while; unfriendly gaze and racism have put them off on the other hand. Be it behavioral unfriendliness, or social prejudices have always kept Indians much away from the tag of ‘global brotherhood’ that it boasts of for ages.
“Incredible India” tourism campaign and the growth of communication and media has helped India in getting millions of travelers and business tourists however, the tourism industry is hampered by many social problems.
E.M. Forster in his “A Passage to India” described the real social and political atmosphere within colonial India. He criticizes Anglo-Indian colonial society, quoting their wide cultural differences and distinct thoughts. But the contemporary prejudice and misunderstanding prevalent in Indian society is yet a great obstacle in the development of tourism. Not only travelers face a lack of proper accommodation and hygiene the excessive bureaucracy also comes in their way to get proper assistance in these matters.
Many a times, local people exploit the tourists and harass them, making their trip to “Incredible India” a horror. Be it a taxi driver, or local shopkeepers or beggars, everybody tries to fool tourists and extract money from them.
Most of the famous attraction for tourists, especially pilgrimages are damaged by pollution. Allahabad, Baranasi, Hardware etc are favorites of all tourists who come to soothe their spirits and search for peace of mind but pollution and dirt make them off.
The Lonely Planet for India is recommended for anyone venturing to India.
Beggars are a big problem everywhere in India, be it Haridwar or Tirupati, or Mumbai’s Haji Ali, hundreds of beggars surround the tourists making it difficult for them to appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the place for which they come here.
Safety- ahs always been a great concern for travelers in India, despite the principle of global brotherhood, Indians do not welcome everyone with a friendly gesture. Men are found staring at foreigner women causing them discomfort. The embarrassing incident of rape of a British girl in Palampur has led to serious concerns over the safety of tourists, particularly foreigners, in this country, which has been known as place of peace and tranquility.
Problem of interaction with local people also keeps tourist away from the rural interiors of this country, despite the fact that rural areas are the real treasure f natural beauty and culture. Very few people understand English in the villages and most of women do not talk with tourists due to hesitation and social restrictions.
Most of these social problems are hampering the growth of tourism in India, yet the Indian government is far from eradicating them. Forbid the social problem, the country is indeed lacking infrastructures for educating people.
Therefore, despite cultural uniqueness and diverse heritage, the social restrictions, lack of volunteering and real hospitality in Indians may stop the international travelers from coming closer to taste the uniqueness of ‘Incredible’ India.