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Development of Indian tourism in India

There was a time when...

My first trips to India date back to when I was a child. I was ten and a half years old, international tourism was spreading through documentaries/conferences of "Connaissances du Monde", in some dark rooms of the suburbs of big cities. Among the audience, a few discovery enthusiasts dared to take the plunge, buy a ticket, and leave for these then little-known distant lands.

My parents decided to start their peregrinations with India. I remember that the tourist sites were rather deserted on the whole, populated by the visiting international population. We were then in the 70s.

In the 2000's, while spending a year in India, I noticed the beginning of a craze for tourism on the part of Indians.

Today, we are in 2023 as I write these lines, in post-covid.

And we have to admit that Indian tourism is literally exploding.

The numbers

In 2021, India's domestic tourism increased by 11.05% from 610.21 million to 677.63 million visitors!

The top states in terms of domestic visits were Tamil Nadu with 115.33 million, Uttar Pradesh with 109.70 million, Andhra Pradesh with 93.27 million and Karnataka with 81.33 million

Example of infrastructures to be rethought

At the end of 2022, we organized a pilgrimage trip in the footsteps of the Buddha and it is with astonishment and questioning that I noticed that this booming tourism is about to overflow.

Overflowing because the infrastructures cannot assume a sudden massive flow. Quite simply.

Let's take an example and go to the Vulture Peak in Rajgir. The place is famous because it is here that the Buddha pronounced his teaching on the Prajnaparamita through the Heart Sutra, one of the most famous texts of the Buddhist literature.

A first chairlift was inaugurated in 1969 but this 1 km long installation only offered seats that could accommodate one person at a time...

It was therefore urgent to do something and in 2021 an 8-seater gondola lift was inaugurated next to it, transporting pilgrims and the curious over a difference in altitude of about 400 meters.

An investment of 19 crores i.e. about 2.2 million euros from the Railway India Technical and Economic Services Ltd (RITES), requested for this installation.

The old chairlift with its 101 individual seats, the oldest chairlift in India, will obtain the title of national heritage.

So what about it?

Let's be honest. It is already "has been". Yes, I know my words are harsh but what can we say about a facility that is already overused and for which the pilgrim or tourist has to queue for two hours only one and a half years after its opening...

Once there, the site is overcrowded. There is not a single wall left free to sit, the stairs that wind between the stands of the temple merchants are overcrowded with a crowd that is hurrying and hurrying, the beautiful white stupa taken by storm by curious people turning in all directions, twirling in search of the best selfie or the best break ...

Fortunately, for the Buddhist practitioner who comes, as it is the case for us, in order to connect to the teaching of the Buddha, the site for that, this particular place where the Buddha taught, is fortunately away, not indicated, so the crowd does not venture there and the site remains authentic, allowing meditation.

But what about the years to come?

11% growth in 2021.

The figures for 2022 are not out yet.

What about the figures for 2023, 2024, 2025?

In Agra, tourists make ridiculous pauses pinching the Taj Mahal with their fingers...

In Lumbini, we saw the sign indicating that it was forbidden to make "tik tok"! a sign having to be installed in order to put an end to deviances...

The government has launched big investments to develop tourism. The highways are digging their way in all directions, razing houses and buildings on their way, which will be the subject of a future article.

Buddhist sites are undertaking a lot of excavation work, which will also be the subject of an article in this blog.

But how to manage this massive influx of tourists?

How to manage the endless queues?

How to manage the amenities such as toilets?

How to manage the waste thrown away?

How to manage future deviances such as graffiti and other fantasies to be validated on the networks?

A lot of questions and worries in front of an explosion which of course brings good since on the other hand, it is not less than 32.1 million jobs which benefited from this tourism in 2021.

It is clear that India has just taken the turn of modernity and that many challenges will arise.

Fortunately, every visitor quickly becomes aware of the exceptional strength of the Indian people in terms of adaptation and capacity for change, so I remain confident that solutions will be found and applied to allow a legitimate development integrating ethics, ecology and logistics.

So hurry up to join us before it is definitly to difficult to visit all these amazing places that India can offer...


--> Teacher training is given from 1 person upward. Kathy is in Lu Jong 1 teacher training ending in July. Aurore and Mickael are in training until January. It is possible to join or start a new training course from 1 person, Info here.
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