A boom in tourism across India needs to be carefully managed, as Kerala and the Alleppey backwaters have shown.
The Indian economy is currently judged to be growing at a faster rate than China’s. According to the Office of National Statistics, it is now the fastest growing major economy in the world.
Growing alongside it is the nation’s tourism industry. The WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) calculated that in 2012 tourism generated INR6.4 trillion or 6.6% of the nation’s GDP. It supported 39.5 million jobs; 7.7% of the country’s total employment. Between 2013 to 2023 the sector is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 7.9%.
India’s booming hotels sector is testament to the strong growth and future confidence of the tourism industry. But, many are beginning to understand a growth in tourist numbers needs careful management and regulation to ensure the knock-on effect to local people remains positive and not damaging.
This concern has been particularly highlighted in Kerala. One of the most popular destinations in India, tourism is growing at a rate of 13.31%. Located in the south-west of India on the tropical Malabar coast, its beaches, backwaters and countryside have seen it named one of the ten paradises of the world by National Geographic.
Touring the 900 km network of Keralan backwaters; a system of interconnected canals and rivers including five large lakes, has become increasingly common among tourists who take to houseboats to holiday in the often peaceful and picturesque region.
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