Women’s safety, poor infrastructure and sanitation are the top concerns of international tourists planning a trip to India. In a recent BBC World News India Travel Study, about 66 per cent respondents of the total 441 said that sanitation was a deterrent, while for half of them safety and security was the key concern. Around 33 per cent were worried about the infrastructure of the country.
“Travellers who have not visited India know very little of the country beyond the Taj Mahal and have a vague impression of a noisy, polluted and poor country. They have apprehensions regarding infrastructure, sanitation and safety especially for women,” the survey says.
The reports says the internet is a major source of information for travellers planning a trip to India. While most of the state tourism boards have upped both the frequency of advertisements and marketing budgets in the last few years, the international tourists are yet to be influenced by these ads.
About 85 per cent of the respondents said they had not seen any ad by an Indian state tourism board. A miniscule 15 per cent said they seen and been influenced by advertisements for Kerala, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka or Maharashtra.
Some state campaigns, like that of Vibrant Gujarat, do not seem to be working. The state has very little brand recall among tourists, inspite of being a hot investment destination.
“Even as Gujarat ranks high as an investment destination, it is yet to pick up as a preferred destination for international travellers, mainly on account of it being a dry state. Only 1 per cent of the respondents had instant recall. While it has good infrastructure and transport facilities, it is yet to promote destinations such as the Rann of Kutch, Gir Forest and Gandhi Ashram,” the survey said.
On the other hand, Goa has the highest recall value among international tourists. Kerala too had a good brand recall. The North-East, sadly, has not been able to realize its potential owing to the lack of infrastructure facilities, the survey said.
In the wake of recent crimes against women in the country, female foreign travellers have been concerned about travelling to India. As a result the growth in inbound tourism has slowed.
According to the ministry of tourism data, foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) from January to September 2013 were 47.41 lakh with a growth of 3.8 per cent, as compared to FTAs of 45.67 lakh with a growth of 5.2 per cent during January to September 2012 over the corresponding period of 2011. The FTAs in India during 2012 were 66.48 lakh registering a growth of 5.4 per cent.