After officially being anointed the tourist destination of the world
, there is no stopping India. The country was recenty awarded by Conde Nast Traveller as the No. 1 tourism destination and piped such countries as Italy, Thialand, Australia and New Zealand to the post. So what are the USPs of India.
No more the land of snake charmers, India is now seen by foreign tourists as "environment and pocket friendly
". American tourist Fredrick O''Neal. who is currently in Delhi says," Last year I went to France and the trip burnt a hole in my pocket. Even renting a room in one of the alleys was so expensive. But here, I had choices available and it is so cost effective. My friends had told me about Paharganj and here I am. My landlords asked me not to bring along my junkies and to avoid having non vegetarian food in the house. Otherwise they are non-interfering." Samir Arpan Dass, city manager of a travel and tourism company reveals,"Since the past two years, there has been an increse in foreigners inquiring about Indian tourist locations. Indian toursim may be largely attributed in the improved image of India abroad and emergence of India as one of the pocket friendly
destinations." According to India''s toursim minister Ambika Soni,"India jumped from the fourth position to first this year. We are expecting an approximate 10 million tourists in 2010, the year Delhi will host the Cmmonwealth Games." Adds Amitabh Kant former joint secretary of the Ministry of Tourism,"India is a preferred medical tourist destination
.By 2012 India will earn about $2 billion through it." And spooky as it may sound, India''s graveyard tourism
is one reason why 3,50,000 Britons are visiting India every year.
A source at Ministry of Tourism says,"We are observing the 150th anniversary of India''s first war of independence and the number of British tourists wishing to visit the cemeteriesof their ancestors is burgeoning. No worder graveyard tourism accounts for a 9 percent of the total toursit inflow in India." Foreign tourists give a thumps up to India," Samanth George Virgin currently in India for the third time,says," I fell in love with the pictureseque landscape of the Himalayas, the eternal beauty of the Taj
and luxuty train journey of the Palance on Wheels
. Except for the jammed roads and the spicy food, I have found the Indian hospitality to be one of the best in the world. Aslo we were told to watch against eve-teasers but we faced nothing of the sort." Concurs Blandina Anne Laure, an archeaologist from France,"Indidan tourist destinations are very popular in France . After the Taj was listed as one of the Seven Wonders
, I made extensive plans to come and see it. I will now be leaving the the site of Nalanda University and the for Shillong." Talking about what she loved about India, she says,"I admire the carefree attitude
of Indians which is opposite to that of the Europeans. The warmth
of Indians towards the tourists is also remarkable. We were told to be cautious of the auto drivers and luggage lifers but we haven''t had any untoward experience.