Think tourism in India and most people think Taj Mahal and the Golden Triangle. But there is so much more to the Indian tourism story.
India is changing and tourism is growing – it is now 10 million visitors per year and will grow to 30 million by 2028. The growth will include new parts of India, and new forms of tourism – cruises, medical, mind and wellness, sports, adventure and religion.
India has just built the world’s tallest statue – the “Statue of Unity” of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, an independence fighter and India’s first Home Minister. At 182 metres, it is already bringing tourists into the state of Gujarat.
Things can change quickly these days – China is now the world’s leading tourist destination with over 100 million visitors per year. Other high ranking countries are France (90m), USA (77m) and Japan (30m).
For Australia, India provides around 300,000 tourists per year, but China is number one at 1.4 million.
Some of my wonderful experiences of touring India include ayuvedic massage in Kerala that fixed a problematic shoulder, covered in coloured powder in Kolkata during Holi, visiting Raj Ghat the wonderful Gandhi shrine and gardens in New Delhi and being embraced by an Indian family I met there, being on Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai during the Ganesha Festival with one million of my closest new friends. And on it goes. India is not so much a destination as an experience!
Watch out for the next phase of India tourism – it will take you beyond the Taj Mahal.