India is fast changing, and the pace of change is
picking up. There is vibrancy in all sectors of
economy; be it industry or services. Tensions within
the neighbourhood have also eased to a large extent.
New initiatives in policies, both economic and social,
have resulted in larger private sector investments
from both domestic and international players. The year
2004 is recording unprecedented growth in many
sectors, like civil aviation and tourism.
Increased competition in domestic skies led to a price
war, which, instead of hurting the bottom lines,
brought in tremendous growth in traffic, logging as
much as 50,000 passengers in a single day, a record of
sorts. Moreover, on many sectors frequency of service
has increased manifold. Foreign routes have also been
opened up for private domestic carriers. More such
initiatives are in the anvil. Major airports are now
under the scanner, with enlargement of services and
privatisation of facilities. In the first phase,
airports at Delhi and Mumbai are being considered. The
government has also proposed to upgrade 15 other
airports in smaller cities. At least two new domestic
airlines are billed to commence operations in early
2005. Railways, too, facing stiff competition from
airlines is looking at improvements.
of infrastructure are also being improved. Roads in
most states are in focus. Mumbai-Pune freeway became a
showpiece for others to emulate. Many national
highways are being widened to 4-lane, or even 6-lane,
speedways. This has reduced travelling time and stress
on the roads. Again, a highway traveller has much
better options for R&R on the journey, with spacious
parking, hygienic food, clean toilets, and even good
shopping and entertainment.
in your own car has become a very attractive option in
India. Buying a car is no longer a tedious process and
the choice of make and model is as good as anywhere
else in the world. Then, there are now a number of
agencies, especially in the metros and larger cities,
dealing in used cars on spot cash basis. However,
before using this option it will be best to
familiarise yourself with driving conditions in India
and take proper precautions for safety. It is best to
avoid driving after dark.
Telecommunications and IT are some other fields where
India has taken great strides. Telephone
landline-network has penetrated even the remotest
parts of the country. And mobile communications system
is also available in all states, though the
penetration may be restricted. Internet access, too,
is possible even at many smaller towns and villages!!
Therefore, keeping in touch is no longer a headache.
traffic, both inbound and domestic, in 2004 has seen a
sharp upswing, both sectors expecting more than 25%
increase. Buoyed by this growth, hotel industry is
attracting larger investments. Either the existing
chains are looking for new acquisitions to enlarge
market share or discovering new destinations.
Additionally, a few more international groups are
planning entry into the Indian market. Accor Asia with
its Ibis brand, MarriottŐs four-star brand Courtyard,
as well as Shangrila groups Traders and Spanish brand
Sol Melia are eyeing the Indian market. Lemon Tree,
which opened last year in Gurgoan, has plans to open
25 more hotels in the next 7 years.
industry has grown beyond the traditional frame of
monuments and temples. The product range has widened
from leisure to adventure, trekking to motorised
safaris, business and seminars to polo and golf, and
much much more. Similarly, accommodation choices vary
from luxury resorts of Goa to ketuvallams on the
backwaters of Kerala.
which had tourism as a minor economic activity, have
changed priorities and are looking to attract visitors
and investment in the sector.