(Prof. Bivraj Bhusan Parida is currently Professor and Dean at the Department of Tourism Management, University of Burdwan and also the Director, UGC- HRDC at Burdwan University. Here is the excerpts from the interview with Ms. Shipra Raj, Research Scholar, CCMG.)
Q: How do you think the field of tourism can inform the wider creative industry in terms of policy in India?
A: If you look at economy in large, Indian economy is emerging as the service economy and looking at that part if you look at the contribution of tourism to the Gross Domestic Product our economy as a whole you will find that the share of tourism is day by day increasing. As a result of which we find that tourism is emerging as a priority sector which it was not earlier and now everybody is trying to contribute to the field of tourism. Everybody is participating that is both government as well as private players in the product and service delivery relating to the tourism industry is concerned. As a result tourism is emerging as a bigger economic sector as a whole.
As far as policy issues are concerned tourism is not a single product, but it is a complex product. We look at different producers, different service providers combining together and delivering the products and services to the tourists for their satisfaction. So each sector has a key role in developing and creating a new tourism product which can satisfy the needs and wants of the tourists. As a result of which the tourism service providers can accommodate with them all the related industries. And as a result tourism has a greater potential in the future.
Q: In lieu of the employment crisis in India, how do you think the creative industry can generate new sources of employment as well as rejuvenate the old ones?
A: If you look at the tourism trade again what we find is that the employment multiplier is there. There are direct employments and also there are indirect employments and if you look at the supply side of tourism everybody is trying to contribute. If you look at the tourism product for a tourist leaving the residence and again coming back at the same residence whatever he is consuming is part of tourism product. And through that many types of employments are created if you are staying in a hotel it is not only the hotel where employment is created even the food he is consuming, the agriculture who is producing the food, vendors who are supplying the raw materials all are part of the tourism employment generation. In that case again if you look at the tourism trade the employment potentials are vast and it is the need of the hour to identify the opportunities and also to create effective manpower so that the satisfaction level of the tourists can be managed and more number of tourists can be attracted to India so that more employments can be created.
If you look at travelling, at one point of time we were emphasizing only on attracting more number of foreign tourists because we were looking at the Dollars, the foreign exchange earnings. But now we are emphasizing more on domestic tourism. If you analyse Government of India has designed a campaign for promoting the destinations inside India for the tourists, for the visitors. Lot of things are taking place. The whole idea of Tourism Ministry, be it the State Tourism Development Corporation, be it Government of India’s tourism department, the whole idea of promoting tourism has changed. You take the example of Assam or Orissa or take example of any state now they are coming with their tourism resources. Go to any big airport one can find that the tourism promotional campaigns, audio-video campaigns are very heavily displayed to attract the attention of the tourists.
Q: What role do you foresee for the government as well as private entities taking in the formation of the comprehensive policy concerning the creative industries and creative economy in India?
A: Tourism is not an industry only to be supported by the Government. The private player has a major role to play. Government can create road, government can create infrastructures but when they are creating infrastructures it is the private player who have to maintain it. When a government is creating a road for tourist destinations the road is not going to be used by the tourist only but it is also going to be used by the local people. When they are creating hotels say hotelier’s job is to attract tourists. At the same time if he thinks it is not his job to maintain roads then he is creating problems for himself because if the road condition is not maintained effectively the tourist may not like to visit that particular place or particular hotel. So it is a combined effort local people who are benefited from the tourists it is private operators who are operating be it travel agent, be it tour operator be it hotels who are operating with and providing the services or be it government who is facilitating all these things. There should be proper coordination so that it can give a boost to the economy.
Q: What steps can the tourism industry take to make it more sustainable and environmentally friendly?
A: The tourism policy makers are well aware about this; and they are also aware that there is a charge against them and that is the reason they are now talking about responsible tourism. They have gone one step ahead from sustainable tourism, they are talking about responsible tourists, responsible tourism. And at the same time they are also talking about community participation in tourism creating a responsible tourism products and services. So responsible is a word which is playing a very critical role in producing tourism product, delivering the tourism product and also participating in the tourism product. If you look at tourism product as a whole it is an experience industry again. The tourist who is visiting a destination cannot carry anything with him when he is going back to his place. He is only experiencing he can only narrate his experience, his feeling, his emotion whatever he has enjoyed in that particular destination. So that experience is to be created with responsibility and every stakeholder has a greater role to play.
We are in the right direction and if every stakeholder plays their role effectively keeping the growth of the sector in mind things will move. I am very much optimistic about the present growth of tourism sector and I am sure we will achieve the number one position very soon.