Imapct factor(SJIF): 6.56
Tourism Marketing in India: A case study
Manikanth Sharma and Deepti Dabas Hazarika
Department of MBA, Faculty of Management Studies
Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad-121004, India
India is well known for its rich cultural heritage and diversity. With the changed scenario and advancement of technology, where the time and distance compression lead to the opportunity to individual to travel around the world just with very less time period. India may not able to attract the enough overseas tourists only with its scenic, rich architectural and monumental beauty but also its traditional values and hospitality attracted thousands of tourists. The Indian values and motto of “Atithi Devo Bhav” is not merely a marketing strategy to enhance the tourism industry but something inherited from the culture and ethos. Despite all, Indian Tourism Industry has yet not been able develop to its full potential. The present study deals with promotional and marketing strategies adopted for the improving the performance of our Indian tourism industry. This paper also focused on how the tourism sector contributed to the India Economy.
Keywords: Tourism, Marketing Mix, India
From ‘the land of rising sun’[i] to ‘the incredible state of India’ [ii]and from ‘heaven on earth[iii]’ to ‘God’s own country[iv]’, every part of India has its own unique essence and culture. India not only has a diverse ethnicity among people but huge diversity in terms of flora fauna. India takes the pride of being one of the oldest civilization and all of its varied rich and vibrant culture. People tend to adopt for the commodities that they see most frequently. Hence, advertisement and promotion has become a common way of reaching to the millions of people at the same moment. Before a product is launched in the market, its promotion starts to flash on every screen. Similarly, today in every corner of the world, the beauty and heritage of the region is being promoted; it not only keeps the heritage alive but also contributes to the economy of the nation. “It is accepted as the potent engine for inclusive social economic progress at universal level through its forward and backward linkages and ability to create employment in the economy. Tourism sector has a very high employment potential with approximately 90 jobs creation per Rs. 10 Lakhs of investment[v]”. In 2015, the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) of the World Economic Forum has ranked India 52nd out of 141 countries (65th out of 140 countries in 2013).
People travel for many reasons nowadays, such as, recreation, adventure and sports activities, holidays, conferences and conventions, cultural attractions. Its importance was recognized in the Manila Declaration on World Tourism of 1980 as "an activity essential to the life of nations because of its direct effects on the social, cultural, educational, and economic sectors of national societies and on their international relations”. Although, tourism existed even in ancient era as well, but got narcotization as an activity which could foster the economic development of the country. We do have evidence from the ‘Arthashashtra’ which reveals the importance of travel infrastructure and further about the travelers being accommodated at Sarais. Today, the presence of ‘Sarais’ around Delhi is evidence of the existence of tourism. In ancient times, traveling for pleasure was a tradition of the royal courts. But later with the fall of great empires, the mobility of people decreased.
Tourism can be inter-national or intra-national depending upon the origin and destination of a tourist. Inter-national tourism is a vital source of income for an economy as it adds up to the Forex reserves of a country’s economy. Growth in tourism industry boosts the economy of a country and in return it improves the employment and infrastructure. At present, India has huge potential in tourism industry in terms of employability and revenues. Improvements have been done, apart from good infrastructure, hotels and roads, tourism also demands efficient telecommunication, banks, health care, security facilities etc has to be developed, that seems promising enough to attract tourists across the world. Even, if a region or location is fully developed in every aspect for tourists visit but it needs marketing and promotional schemes. In other words, through the advertisement in various forms including print and media, digital marketing etc., are the invitations to millions of tourists across the globe.
‘Incredible India’ is the very first initiative of its own kind, with the primary objective of providing India a unique identity in the World. It appeals the domestic and international tourists to travel India. Further, another initiative ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which serves a dual purpose where we ask the international tourists to experience the hospitality of India while asking people of India to understand their origin and values. With the greater emphasis on the e-world, or the motto of making of ‘Digital India’, Incredible India’s online campaign increased tourists arrival from 19% to 84% since its launch in 2002[vi].
With the advancement of technology and social media, the role of marketing has became significant. With globalization and liberalization of economies, with increasing competition in every sphere of life, the marketing became of utmost importance. Today, prior to launching of a product, its marketing and promotional strategies are determined. When we talk about tourism marketing, here a nation presents its beauty and culture as a commodity to be sold to consumers who are the tourists.
Figure 1: The Systematic links between demand and supply: the influence of marketing.[vii]
[i] State Tourism Slogan of Arunachal Pradesh.
[ii] State Tourism Slogan of Rajasthan.
[iii] State Tourism Slogan of Jammu and Kashmir.
[iv] State Tourism Slogan of Kerala.
[v] Annual Report 2015-16, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
[vi] Incredible India portal.
[vii] Marketing in Travel and Tourism. Available @http://booksite.elsevier.com/samplechapters/9780750644716/9780750644716.PDF
The above given figure reveals the marketing strategy in tourism sector, determining all the participants in the process of marketing tourism. The simple market concept of demand and supply can be observed here as well. Human beings have natural tendency of being curious about the things unknown to them. They have the desire to travel and dwell into the new places and experience new things under alien environment. Till this desire continues to grow, the tourism would flourish. What marketing in tourism does is, fuel the desire of people to travel by attractive promotional schemes.
What is Tourism Marketing? It can be defined as “the organized, combined efforts of national tourist bodies and/or the businesses in the tourism sector of an international, national or local area to achieve growth by maximizing the satisfaction of tourists. In doing so, tourists bodies and businesses expect to receive profits”. The AIDA (Attention-Interest-Desire-Action) model in marketing can be very well applied in this context. Foremost role of marketing is attracting the attention of the tourists in particular destination which would be further assisted by creating their interest in the destination by showing their mythical stories, scenic beauty or any other cultural aspect etc. Once the interest is created, the desire to visit that place is created and once the desire is created then it becomes quite easy to take the tourist to the destination with an appropriate action plan, with attractive deals. Hence the tourism marketing starts before a tourist reaches a destination. Its process begins right from persuading the consumer/tourist to visit the place to noting down his experience and suggestions after the tour/trip ends. Mill and Morrison (2013) as “a continuous, sequential process through which management in tourism plans, researches, implements, controls and evaluates activities designed to satisfy both the customers’ needs and wants and their own organization’s objectives. To be effective, marketing requires the efforts of everyone in an organization and can be made more or less effective by the actions of complementary organizations.”[i]
A qualitative approach has been adopted while dealing with the objectives to be fulfilled. The following are objectives of present study.
When it comes to the tourism in a country, a large scale of research has been done concerning with the issues like the role of tourism sector in an economy to the factors affecting the tourism sector and role of various tourists organizations in the development of the industry and also analyzing the trends and patterns in the tourism sector both temporally as well as spatially. The present study deals with the marketing aspect of tourism which is the ultimate promotional and branding tool for the enhancement and growth of the tourism industry in India.
According to Iamsoo et.al. (2013) “The Role of Marketing on Tourism Industry” clearly focuses on the significance of marketing on tourism Industry. According to him in today’s competitive world marketing is much more important than the productions and sales of the product. He believes that the lack of marketing in the developing country is the one of the reason that the tourism industry has not been able to reach to its optimum levels. He takes a case study of Iran and concludes that despite of much potential and possibilities existing in the country, the lack of attention towards tourism marketing, tourism industry have not achieved considerable progress. He further talks about the role of tourism industry in the development of the nation. The direct benefits he referred to are the economic growth and contribution to the GDP of the host country and indirect benefits includes the better infrastructure facilities including roads and railways and also the technology and communications and further strengthens the social institutions like health care and other welfare facilities
Now another important aspect to marketing in tourism apart from a planning strategy is the medium used for the promotion. A wide range of medium is available including print media such as newspaper, magazines and promotional banners and electronic media including television, radio and internet (digital marketing). Information Technology has not only enhanced the working of marketing and has made it easier and cheaper but also the coverage over space has also increased. A person sitting anywhere in the world can see the tourist’s destinations of India. Parashar and Indolia (2013) examined the contribution of media to promote the tourism in India. India has been recognized as first among the newly independent Asian countries, to promote tourism at international platform. He explains how the tourism department spends about Rs. 4 crore every year on the promotional campaigns on international platform through media on channels like BBC, Discovery, CNN, National Geographic Travel & living and also the national channels like Sony, Zee TV etc. Further he specifically mentions the joint venture of CNBC AWAAZ with the e-commerce business One Stop Shop, which honored the India’s best travel destinations and tourism services at the fourth edition of the CNBC AWAAZ Travel awards 2010. Such award not only encourages the already existing firm but also invites new firms to promote tourism.
Today, tourism has emerged as one of the largest service industry in context of the Gross revenue earned as well as foreign exchange earnings. Vethirajan and Nagavalli (2014) explained the need of marketing in Tourism Industry. They mentioned the incentives taken in order to encourage tourism industry, including increased online travel retail sales. The introduction of smart phones and tablets and mainly their wide accessibility to the every strata of the society, promises an increase in tourism via online booking channel. India is a diverse country and have diverse destination from the areas where one can observe snowfall to the deserts to peninsula and islands i.e. a miniature of world climate and rich cultural heritage. Hence as mentioned by Tiwari (2012) in his work about more emphasis on the formulation of product development strategies and marketing policy strategies, in order to aware people about the true India.
A similar approach has been worked upon by Patawari and Sharma (2011) in “A comparative study of India and Thailand Tourism”. The SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threat) analysis observed that while hospitality and high technology advancement are opportunities of Thailand with the strengths of good infrastructure, dedication to tourism, medical facilities and security and safety. While India has weakness of of poor infrastructure, lack of safety and health care facilities. Further, the less technology development remains a threat to the tourism industry of India. Today, we talk about the importance of ITC in marketing in tourism industry, but still in India there are regions where networking issues are of major concern, this not only reduced the consumers living
In those areas but also cut those locations from becoming a terrorist destinations. For instance the ‘favelas’ of Brazil. In India Slums are created as a failure of planning process. But in Brazil, Slum tourism has been developing at a faster pace and using it to their economic benefits. Similar, as mentioned above India is known for its unique organic culture, international tourists finds our village at good tourists destinations with natural beauty but the lack of proper infrastructure, networking etc reduces the opportunity to use our village culture to our benefit. A new dimension of marketing has been studied by Kakkar & Sapna (2012) in their work “Impact of tourism on Indian Economy”. Apart from the existing aspects that encourages the tourism, there are other factors as well which speeds up the growth of tourism industry, For instance India took the pride of hosting Commonwealth games in 2010, the visit of President of USA, the sports events like 20/20 IPL Cricket matches etc also encourages tourism in India.
Till now we have come across the works which discusses about Indian tourism industry being underdeveloped and the importance and need of marketing has been mentioned. But the annual report by Ministry of Tourism, India mentions how the lack of marketing and inappropriate marketing has become an obstacle in the development of tourism industry to its full potential in India. For instance, the two major initiatives by India i.e. ‘Incredible India’ and ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ both are lacking the welcoming aspects. Both focus on portraying the art and culture. But one need to keep in mind taste of people are varied hence a more of diverse aspects need to be shown for instance the adventure we promise to the tourists.
Trends in the Tourism Industry in India
[i] Mill, R. And Morrison, A. “The Tourism System” 6th edition, Kendal Hunt Publishing Company, 2013.
In 1951, the international tourist’s arrival stood at only 17 thousands which has rose to about 80 lakhs in the year 2015. Over the last decade, the foreign tourist arrival has seen a growth rate of 200%. This could be attributed to the initiatives taken by the government of India (GOI) at every level and in every form. For instance, we can observe a negative growth rate in the year 2001-02 in the arrival of foreign tourists but after the launch of ‘Incredible India’ we proved to be one of the most successful programme initiated by GOI, observe a growth of 14.3 for the next year 2002-03 and 26.8% for the year 2003-04. Such high growth rate after a decline is due the marketing and promotional strategies adopted by the government. Further, we can observe is what lacks in India is
lack of proper implementation of policies. Even if the policies are implemented they do not inculcate the desired results for a longer period of time. After the ‘Incredible India’ programme, it was assisted by various other programmes. However, the wide and meaningful impact was not observed. It could also be attributed to the lack of marketing and promotional approach followed. There are various factors that determine the tourists market of a nation say political stability, economic stability, social stability etc. Hence it’s a complex aspect so the decline and growth could not be attributed to a very single factor. Today, India has a very negative perception among the international tourist community, with poor infrastructure, poverty and lack of proper health care facilities are prominent which drastically destroys the image of India as a popular tourist’s destination. Hence, the promotional and marketing schemes introduced are supposed to improve the image of India on the world map. Only attracting tourists with the rich culture and heritage aspects would not give the desired results. A more diverse and stable view of India needs to be developed. Also, tourism is considered important because of its economic significance in growth of the nation.
Source: Reserve bank of India
A similar pattern can be observed here, where the earnings observes the maximum growth for the same period as the ‘Incredible India’ was launched leading to increase in number of tourists visiting India. Also, the economic market instability and recession can badly affect the tourist market of the countries all over the world. The same can be observed in the year 2009 after the economic slowdown in the year 2008. Also, the decreasing earnings after the year 2012 is an issue of major concern. Although the absolute number of foreign tourists arrivals may be increasing but it shows that India’s full potential have yet not been explored. In terms of Domestic market, we observe an increasing trend in terms of the contribution of tourism sector to the GDP as well as employment. The contribution to GDP is more or less same in the past 5 or 6 years, while the employment has been increased from 10.17% to 12.36%.
Table 1: Contribution of Tourism sector to the GDP and employment in India
Source: Ministry of Tourism Government of India.
4.1Marketing Strategy for tourism in India:
While discussing the marketing in tourism, one needs to focus on the 7 P’s established in order to generate a more sustained and appropriate marketing approach.
Themselves under a budget they do not want to cross. Hence the aim of marketing approach here is profit maximization for the organization while also influencing the consumer and proving the worth of the product. The price factor involves both the monetary aspect including fee or cost of the product and the non-monetary price in terms of time. The price would be directly affected by the demand and supply of the product in the market. The increased number of firms in the tourism sector has increased the competition in the market hence a unique market approach can give a firm upper hand in the market.
With the invasion of technology and ICT, the international marketing has also been focused upon. A collaboration of marketing at national and international level targeting specific strata of people with the required product as per the demand need to be addressed in order to achieve wide and meaningful impact of the strategy adopted.
Promotional and marketing strategy adopted in India: Right from the beginning when India was born an independent nation, efforts have been made to utilize its heritage to earn economic benefits. It would not only result into economic growth but also keep the heritage alive. In 1960s, India Tourism Development Corporation was formed to provide the homely comforts to the international tourists. The major focus of ITDC was to establish an elaborate modern infrastructure (The Ashoka group of Hotels). The major role was played by Air India for the promotion of tourism in India and promotional centers were set up in London and Frankfurt. It was in 1982, when the first ‘Tourism Policy’ was formulated which talked about the ‘Travel Circuit’ concept. During the eight five year plan a National Action Plan for tourism was presented in the parliament which focused on the infrastructure and effective marketing and promotional efforts in the domestic as well as overseas market. Certain specific tourist’s destinations were listed out. Major thrust on tourism was laid in the ninth five Year plan. It talked about the product and human resource development. It was felt that the fierce competition in the tourism sector at global level, nations are trying to divert tourists traffic towards their own countries hence the importance of marketing a promotion was felt. The elements of the marketing and promotional efforts at international level included advertising, brochure printing in the local languages, production of advertisement promoting Indian tourism including festivals of India, trade fairs, etc.
At National Level: Social Awareness Campaigns have been in action promoting green and clean environment, infrastructure, hospitality, a good social conduct towards behavior. “Which side are you in?” someone who glorifies that nation in front of others or one who adds shame to the nation. The ‘Atithi Devo Bhava” advertising campaign telecasted on all the television channels across the country. These were not only limited to television but to major websites in the country. Further an ‘outdoor campaign’ undertaken on ever connecting terminals of buses, metros and railways. Social awareness campaign in the digital cinemas/ theaters was also released.
At International Level: The ‘Global Print Campaign’ showcasing the varieties of tourism products available to the consumers. Further, awareness on e-tourist visa was spread in international markets for promoting Indian tourism. Other than the campaigns certain initiative like celebrating ‘Bharat Parv’ and ‘World Tourism Day’ would further help in making India as an international Tourist Destination. Apart from the internet and television, print media has also played a wide role in the marketing and promotion of tourism in India. A small yet powerful initiative included the ‘Incredible India’ carry bags produced for distribution in domestic and overseas offices. This seems little steps but inculcate wider impact. Also, various trade fairs and travel bazaar were organized.
The 100% foreign investment in the hotel and tourism related industry, the introduction of e-visa and visa on arrival etc are incentives to the people to travel across India with great ease. It is evident from the fact that the inflow of tourists increased after the introduction of e-visa from 24963 (Jan 2014 to Nov 2014) to 341683 (Jan 2015 to Nov 2015). Today medical tourism has been rising in India; M-visa has been encouraged by the government. A recent report by KPMG records a compounded annual growth rate of 27% over the last three years (US$ 3.9 billion). The most recent National Tourism Policy in 2015 not only encourages domestic tourists to visit their country but also adds few destinations in India as ‘must see’ destinations at global level. Following Institutions are undertaking the promotional and marketing activities in Indian tourism:
Other institutions are National Council for Hotel management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) etc fosters the growth of tourism industry in India. The Domestic Promotion and Publicity (DPHH) were launched in 2004 under the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. It aims at creating awareness among people regarding the potential tourist destinations in India. The success of the scheme further encouraged government to make more investment in the scheme. It is evident from the data released by Ministry of India where expenditure on DPHH increased from 60 crore in 2009-10 to 142 crore in 2014-15. Various regional schemes were also launched with the two central schemes of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ and ‘Indian for India’ in order to create awareness about tourism.
Table2: Expenditure on Advertisements to Promote Tourism in Foreign Countries
The importance of information technology was realized for better marketing and promotional strategy; hence we observe a significant increase in the development of technology for promotion of tourism Industry. As per the statistics provided by government of India the annual expenditure for promoting tourism rose from 14 crore in 2009-10 to 45 crore in 2013-14.
Also new schemes have be launched in the financial year 2015-2016 including Bharat Paryatan Bhawan Major works, Swadesh Darshan - Integrated Development of Tourist Circuits on Specific Themes and National Mission for Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) with an annual expenditure of 5 crore, 569.4 crore and 110 crore respectively.
Table 3: Expenditure (in cr.) on various schemes in Indian Tourism Industry
Source: India stat (Scheme-wise Annual Plan Outlay of Ministry of Tourism in India (2009-10 to 2014-15)
Here we can observe the shift in the trend of expenditure done on various schemes. For instance, seeing the need of hour apart from launching new schemes old scheme has been modified. The expenditure increased about 5 fold in just last 5 years from 5 crore in 2009-10 to 40 crore in 2013-14. While the expenditure on Central Sector Schemes has increased on the other hand the expenditure on Centrally Sponsored Schemes shows a decline trend of expenditure. It clearly indicates a more decentralized and more agencies coming up for promotion of various tourism schemes. An immense need of market research has been felt that is evident from the clear jump in the expenditure on marketing research which remained almost about 5 crore for three consecutive financial year but see a huge increase in the year 2012-13 to 20 crore which later increased to 30 crore. Once the potential of tourism in India is explored, government is launching new schemes every year, like the tourism circuits and National Mission for Beautifying Pilgrimages in year 2014-15 and then PRASAD in 2015-16. Overall the expenditure on all the schemes in India regarding tourism Development have increased from 1000 crore in 2009-10 to 1882 crore in 2014-15, i.e. Almost twice in half a decade.
This paper concludes that Indian tourism industry would not be able to get the desired growth and impetus unless it is backed up by intense promotional and marketing strategies. Further, even though the marketing is done, it lacks innovation and creativity. The advertisements featuring Indian tourism also presented culture and heritage now also the similar trend of promotional advertisements can be observed. There is a need to have a good synergy between the organizational structure and culture to make Indian tourism more tourists friendly. Also, the place and people need to be focused upon by developing the region’s infrastructure and hospitality among people. Initiatives have been taken in the form of campaigns like ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ is such initiative which ask the people to behave responsibly. The initiative has also got the voice of “Amir Khan’ which made it successful drive and reached to the heart of every individual. Such marketing techniques have become the key aspect while marketing strategy of any service is discussed. Be it ‘Amitabh Bacchan’ asking people to visit the Rann of Kacch’, or adding surprise element with ‘Janne kya dikh Jayye’ in the deserts of Rajasthan or ‘Shahrukh Khan’ promoting the Bengal tourism, the media is filled with such initiatives. Now the GOI has launched the ‘Incredible India’ app, for International and domestic tourists to access and discover information about Indian tourism more easily.
Also, India needs to work up on its tourism brand equity and need to change it from a poverty and poor health issue to a green and clean and safe country. Also, infrastructure need to be developed assisted with the improvement in the technology. For instance, today for the consumers, the collaboration of “oyo” hotels with “ola” cabs is a positive way in a manner that it would enhance mobility even outside the usual environment of people. Hence, not only the direct commercials promote encourages the tourism but the indirect factors affecting tourism has also been promoted that would further promotes tourism in India. For instance, the transport facilities such as Uber, Ola has helped in enhancing a comfortable and secure mobility of people, or the online hotel services aggregator say trivago which provides best hotels at cheapest price etc, and the easy of roaming on their own has increased which further encourages more tourists to step out of their environment.
Authors wish to acknowledge with gratitude to Dr. K T Vigneswara Rao, Research Coordinator, Accendere Knowledge Management Services (AKMS) (P) Ltd., for his valuable comments and suggestions in preparation of the manuscript.
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