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India's Festival of Lights
Every year in October, Northern India comes alive as the traditional Festival of Lights illuminates the nation. Jen Bird.

Indian Tourism Board and Relief Riders International Join Forces to Promote Voluntourism and Decrease Blindness in India

18 Sep 2006/ eTN-  A growing number of foreign tourists are coming to visit "Incredible India." Recent statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism show that 2,486,117 visitors have come to India in the first seven months of 2006. That's a jump of more than 300,000 travelers over the same period last year.

Already significant numbers of travelers are drawn by India's eco-travel opportunities as well as its cultural, historical, and spiritual appeal. India's Ministry of Tourism in partnership with Relief Riders International, (RRI) are highlighting another important travel option, VolunTourism to India. A rapidly growing new sector in international travel, VolunTourism combines exciting travel opportunities with volunteer services. VolunTourism enables visitors to contribute towards the improvement of communities in need and to help protect their environment. More importantly, VolunTourism gives ttravelers the opportunity to interact and make deep connections with the people they visit. More->



The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) announces the release of the PATA India Outbound Market Report. The study, written by Travel Research International for PATA, assesses outbound tourism consumption trends in an economy which has been growing in excess of five percent a year for more than a decade.

The report gives in-depth coverage of destination growth rates, emerging holiday preferences, length of stay differences, new expenditure patterns and even outbound opportunities arising from India's thriving IT sector. It also offers a detailed assessment of air services, mass media and the considerable impact of "Bollywood."

The 92-page report analyses the role of travel agents and tour operators and the social kudos which the Indian middle class gains from fashionable trips such as cruising in Alaska, visiting new countries in eastern Europe, or taking adventure holidays in New Zealand

Indian government figures show that around four million Indians travelled abroad in 1999. Of these, an estimated 35 percent had leisure as their primary travel motivation. The report states that the socio-political conditions in the country seems ripe for further economic growth. "India has become a more open and international economy and society, through a combination of liberalisation, greater exposure to international, social and cultural influences, and an increasing interest on the part of multinational companies in investing in India. These elements, together with a progressive removal of restraints on the availability of foreign exchange, have fuelled demand for international travel, especially in the leisure sector."

However, the report also warns that selling to the Indian middle class is "complex and requires closely targeted and selective efforts among Indiaís travel trade, its key regions and urban areas, particular economic segments, social classes and occupations." For example, average per capita incomes in states such as Delhi, Goa and Punjab are five to six times those of Bihar, Tripura or Orissa.

PATA Managing Director-Strategic Information Centre, Mr. John Koldowski, said: "Due to dramatic economic, social and geographic disparities, you cannot treat India as a single market. Everyone wishing to understand India or participate in its outbound tourism boom needs to dig deep beyond the surface statistics."

The PATA India Outbound Report costs US$175 for members and US$350 for non-members. To order a copy contact Ms. Khanitha "Pook" Jarukirati at pook@pata.th.com. Fax: (66-2) 658-2010. Or order online at www.pata.org