Itís Time To Go For Domestic Tourism
has woefully been unable to exploit the potential of domestic tourism,
says a paper on Dimension of Domestic Tourism presented at the PATA
India chapter industry meet
on Dimension of Domestic Tourism presented at the PATA India chapter
industry meet in Hyderabad last month, to which a brief reference
was made in this column earlier, has not only data of considerable
interest for planners and service providers but is also revealing
in several ways. The author, Uttam Dave is a senior member of the
chapter and CEO of PKF (Pannell Kerr Forster Consultants) which
has done considerable work for states like Andhra Pradesh and Kerala
as well as hospitality outfits. Daves study based on statistics
collected from various sources puts the size of the domestic market
at 320 million trips (in 2000) of which 109 million visits were
in the urban segment. The total is about 67 times the size of foreign
arrivals in numbers but the revenue generated is only 3.65 times
of the inbound receipts. Dave says globally the ratio between domestic
and international tourists is 10:1 and growth rates in most mature
domestic markets is 2 per cent or even less. In the west, Canada
offers a unique example. It recorded 75 million overnight trips
accounting for 80 per cent of all visits and 70 per cent of tourism
revenues. Figures from China are even more spectacular: 744 million
domestic movements, 330 million urban, accounting for 70 per cent
of hotel occupancy and a revenue of $32 billion. By 2010 receipts
from domestic travel are expected to rise to $156 billion. Australias
domestic scene is no different. It had 142 million trips yielding
80 per cent of tourism GDP.
the characteristics of domestic travel, the study says globally,
on an average, 35 per cent visitors leave home to meet friends and
relations (VFR) and around 50 per cent seek holidays. This segment
is showing the greatest growth. In India, however, VFR travel dominates;
leisure is still limited and, this is surprising, pilgrimages are
not so high. Only 6.9 per cent go to religious places. Business
takes 10.4 per cent. Leisure is a little more at 13.8 per cent.
Social functions attract 30.3 per cent while the rest, 31.5 per
cent, come in the category of Others which could be largely VFR.
Mode of travel tells its own story. Globally, 80 per cent travel
in their own automobiles. In India this figure is as low as 1.9
per cent. Those using hired cars is even lower at 1.7 per cent and
those using air services number a mere 0.35 per cent. Trains are
more popular with 24.8 per cent.
average length of stay for an Indian domestic traveller is 4 nights
and as for accommodation 45 per cent prefer friends and family and
only 23 per cent use hotels.
a domestic tour operator who are the biggest travellers and the
instant answer will be Bengalis and Gujaratis.
PKF study puts the two states at the sixth and seventh place. Maharashtra
leads with 15.4 million (in the urban segment) followed by UP (including
figures of Uttaranchal) 13.9 million, Tamil Nadu 12 million, Karnataka
9.4 million and Andhra Pradesh 9 million. Then comes West Bengal
and Gujarat with 7.2 million and 6.4 million.
study gives several examples of government sponsored programmes
of promoting domestic travel in selected countries. Australia, for
instance, has a five-year See Australia campaign whose
vision statement has this to say: Rediscover the importance
of holidays in maintaining a balanced life and to recharge batteries
in order to cope with the pace of life in the 21st century.
This is backed by a joint government-industry effort, with key trade
sponsors and partners. Chinas focused
and intensive domestic tourism drive is supported by dramatic roads
and railways development schemes.
feels strongly that highway systems drive domestic tourism like
nothing else and puts Indias national highway development
programme covering 13,000 kms in perspective. The Golden Quadrilateral,
linking the four metros over a 5,851 kms length, is due for completion
by the end of 2003, while the more ambitious 7,000 kms North-South
East-West Express Corridor linking Jammu-Kanyakumari and Silchar-Porbandar
will take another four years. He sees many opportunities for service
providers in terms of transport, location-based themed leisure/entertainment,
recreation (which he thinks is the fastest growing) and conferences.
The constraints include market limitation, lower spending and more
importantly, consumers go direct to service providers.
The answer, according to him, is price-led packaging. Also cooperative
marketing, and of course, aggressive promotion by states. Are states,
TAAI, IATO, FHRAI and HAI listening?