ABSTRACT Tourism provides the second highest net foreign exchange earnings to our economy. It is estimated that, by 2010, this industry will create 7 million new jobs, may contribute Rs.1,30,000 crore in capital investment and may have 7% share in GDP. India, is a country which has everything for everyone for all seasons. But, the present situation of tourism industry is not up to the mark. This paper aims to throw light on the importance of this area, the challenges and opportunities that awaits to make the customer satisfied and to lift the economy of the country. PROMOTION OF TOURISM (CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITES FOR INDIA) Tourism – An Introduction Tourism is one of the largest & important industry which is useful for the development of a nation. It occupies 11% of the world's GDP and may create 7 million new jobs by the year 2010. $595 billions have been generated by the international tourism industry in 2000. Indian Tourism industry Tourism in India has grown very much during the last decades. It gives the second highest net foreign exchange earnings to our economy. Foreign tourist arrivals are at 2.64 millions during 2000. Domestic tourism helps to understand various cultures and to experience national integration among the citizens Apart from the higher class people, the middle class has emerged as a powerful source for the development of domestic tourism. Around 1.50 million domestic tourists have made a trip outside their places. Ninth five year plan It gives importance to * Development of infrastructure * Development of trekking, winter sports, wildlife and beach resorts * Exploring new source markets in region and countries having cultural affinity * Environmental protection and cultural preservation of national heritage projects * Launching of national image buildings and marketing plans * Providing inexpensive accommodation in different tourist centers * Streaming of facilitation procedures at airports * Human resource development * Creating awareness * Facilitating private sector participation in development of infrastructure Organizations 1. Department of Tourism (Under the Minister of Civil Aviation & tourism) It formulates and implements the polices and program for tourism development. It attracts foreign tourist by developing infrastructure, publicity and promotion, travel agencies, etc. It as 21 filed officers in India providing facilitation services. 18 officers are functions in overseas countries to attract tourist to India with Air India it makes joint promotional effects in US, UK, Europe, Australia and other countries. 2. India tourism development corporation (ITDC) It is a public sector units established in 1966. It is involved in construction, management and marketing of hotels restaurants, etc. Tourist transport facilities, production, distribution and seal of tourist published materials, providing entertainment facilities, etc. are some of the services rendered by ITDC 3. Indian institution of Tourism and Travel management It is an autonomous body to educate tourism and travel management for tourism personnel. It also organises entrepreneurship development programs, seminar, workshops, etc. 4. Institutes of Hotel Management & Catering Technology It offers various degree/diploma courses relating to Hotel Management, nutrition, etc at various parts of the country. 5. National Institute of water sports It is set up in Goa and conducts courses like sailing, scuba diving, water skiing, etc. Need for attention The average global growth of the industry is 5% but the tourist traffic share of India is static at 0.38%. Neighbouring countries have utilised the opportunity for their growth. Due to the effect of Sepember 11 attack in Asia-pacific region, there was a loss of 4.4 million jobs. Also, there was 5.7% loss in tourism demands. Awaiting opportunities for India India is distinct in having * Ancient Civilization * Natural landscape * Traditions * Music, dance * Religious practices * Exclusive festivals * Art & Craft Focus of the international travellor is shifting from developed regions to the developing regions. Challenges to be faced * Many of the tourist site environments are unhealthy * Facilities and services are poor in many sites * There exists inadequate transportation to reach and continue the journey * Infrastructure facility is very poor * There is limited availability of tourism information at limited places * There are regional conflicts due to which tourism is getting affected in some areas * There is a lack of adequate security in some areas of the country which makes the tourists feel insecure Overcoming challenges * ITDC have to be enriched so that it can provide adequate facilities at tourist sites like good environment, tourism information, etc. * Present modes of transports are getting strengthened. However, the reaching tourist spots from the nearby town/city is still a dificult one. Special attention has to be paid by the Department of tourism so that its recommendation has to be implemented by the Governemnt at the earliest. * The Central and state Governments, must have special attention and invest in large to develop the infrastructure for utilising the tourist spots. * Tourism information must be updated often. The websites must give enriched informations with catchy phrases. Specific toll free numbers can be used for easy access of information by tourists * The Government must take action to solve security problems and regional conflicts. * Liberalising the visa norms can be made so that more number of tourists can arrive and stay for more days. * Involvement of private sector in the field can be made to serve the tourists better * Investment in HRD programmes relating to travel & tourism industry can help to promote it better * There can be focussed promotion of various places to get attention of the travellers by using aids like short films, photographs, etc. * Clearly planned, focussed tour packages can be introduced which may attract the travellers Conclusion It is clear that there is a wide scope for underdeveloped countries like India to promote tourism. If India overcomes the challenges by enriching its present strategies, it will emerge as a best tourist spot and will yield maximum foreign exchange to our country.