India today presents a largely unexplored cruise tourism market with almost 100% of its potential waiting to be explored. With new itineraries and exotic locales becoming more and more important for the survival of competing cruise lines, a country like India with its globally recognized heritage and natural wealth, its exotic and attractive locations, its beautiful destinations can strategize to position itself on the itinerary of most cruise companies. In this section we have analyzed the Indian cruise tourism market to see the trends, the potential and the possible growth direction.
INDIAN TOURISM MARKET SCENARIO
The Indian Tourism sector has shown remarkable buoyancy in the past five years.
Indian Tourist Trends
India witnessed a doubling of the foreign tourist arrivals from 1.23 million in 1991 to 2.64 million in 2003 with the tourism earning increasing by 228.7% from Rs.431.8 million in 1991 to Rs. 1419.5 million in 2002. As on 2003 the size of the tourism industry in India was US$ 4 Billion.
Statistics of Tourists in India
(in millions) Period| International Arrivals| Outbound Tourists| Domestic Tourists| 1999| 2.48| 4.11| 190.67|
2000| 2.65| 4.42| 220.11|
2001| 2.54| 4.56| 236.47|
2002| 2.38| 4.94| 269.60|
2003| 2.73| 5.35| 309.03|
2004| 3.36| N/A| N/A|
The period 1999 to 2003 has shown an impressive Compounded Annual Growth Rate of 12.83% for domestic tourists and a CAGR of 6.79% for outbound tourists. In respect of International arrivals, it is well known that this is largely linked to global event especially events in South East Asia and to some extent, events happening in North America/ Europe since most of the tourist traffic originates from that part of the globe. Thus the 9/11 effect and the SARS effect can be seen very clearly in the fall in tourist arrivals for the years 2001 and 2002. However, total international tourist arrivals in India has bounced back in 2003 and steadily increasing over the past decade which proves that India has a lot of appeal in the international market. WTTC projects India’s travel and tourism industry to grow at CAGR of 7.5% upto 2014 much above the expected growth in South East Asia and the world aggregate level. The WTO projects an annual average growth rate of 6.2% in South Asia over a larger timeframe till 2020. The buoyancy in the Indian Tourism market will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the cruise tourism potential in the country, as cruise tourism forms one of the very attractive tourism options and would compete favourably with the other offerings.
Indian Tourism Market Dynamics
Several dynamics and trends can be identified that have attributed to this increase in tourism in the country. These have been covered in this section:
Buoyant economy has contributed to larger disposable incomes among Indians
India’s economy has been one of the fastest growing in the world during the last 13 years. Economic progress has helped to create a proportionately small but absolutely quite large “middle class” estimated at a number between 75 and 150 million people in 2004. Of these, research suggests that around 25 million have incomes which are sufficient for them to travel abroad should they wish to do so, and it also appears that this group in increasing numerically quite rapidly. An important driving force has been the steady move towards economic liberalisation in India. There have been considerable foreign investment; some high technology industries have made substantial inroads into India’s employment scene, especially in the area of information technology but also in areas such as communications...