For many of these brawn machines, the body is the temple, and ignorance is bliss, warns
1. “I HAVE NO BRAIN, JUST BRAWN”
There's nothing wrong with that. After all, the body is their temple, and ignorance is bliss (that's how Rushdie described Californians, but it could easily be contemporary Indians). The only problem is that if they give you the wrong advice, you could end up dropping your uterus, or damage your gonads, or get a bad case of halitosis. According to a veteran gym owner, who didn't want to be named, most personal trainers are only working on getting you a quick-fix bod, even if that ends up making you an invalid with bad knees and a dysfunctional liver by the time you are 55. In their bid to delete all the adipose and turn it into rippling muscle, they often give people insane advice. "They'll recommend any thing just to pump up your body. I know one trainer who advises his clients to eat 27 eggs and nine chickens a day," says the gym owner. Eek? It's because this high protein diet helps you develop quick muscles (and terrible breath?). In one case, a 15-year-old boy, who wants to be Hrithik when he grows up, is on this diet. Does his mummy know? Eggs, chicken, even protein shakes are not so bad, but what can get dubious is the ease with which they prescribe steroids and scary substances like creatine. "Eventually, you must look at the health benefits of fitness, not just the aesthetic side," says former fitness instructor Banoo Batliboi. "Fitness has three basic components : cardio-vascular, strength training, and flexibility."
2. “YOU'RE GETTING OBSESSED WITH ME”
The number of wealthy married women who are having affairs with their personal trainers is staggering. It's logical enough. These women are often stuck with fat, flatulent and flaccid men who are busy chasing their own fantasies. Along comes Mr Hunk, fresh from Ludhiana--or Parsi Colony. Work out happens in madam's bedroom. Drop the blinds. It's a fair exchange. She gets Adonis, and he gets Armani (Why do you think personal trainers are always so well turned-out?). "It happens all the time," confides one lady who lunches. "And these are women you would never suspect." Just last week, a conservative wealthy burkha-clad woman who used to work out at a south Mumbai gym, threw out her husband and had her trainer move in. It works in all directions. We also heard of an expat gentleman who invited his toy boy trainer to come and live with him.
3. “YOU CAN’T CHANGE YOUR GENES”
Your trainer may tell you that he can get you a dream body if you follow his step-ups, but the fact is that the way you look has been largely predetermined by those squiggly little things called genes. Many of these trainers come from small towns in the north, and have grown up in the akhada tradition of eating well and romping around in the mustard fields. The same may not apply to every one. So, if your parents are both a bit on the stout side, and that is the natural shape of your body, no matter how much you sweat it out, or starve yourself, your body will creep back to that level. "You need to be aware of your limitations," advises a gym owner. "It doesn't mean you stop trying, but you could perhaps have different goals--like to stay healthy, and sustain that feeling of well-being that comes from working out." Besides, one size doesn't fit all. Different people require different kinds of inputs depending on their needs.
4. “I CHARGE DEPENDING ON WHO YOU ARE”
The range for personal trainers can be anywhere from Rs 600 per session to Rs 10,000 (no, that's not a typo). Like ipods and salt, personal trainers seem to have become a neccessity, and because they can be as indispensible as your therapist, they charge whatever. If the trainer has broken into Bollywood, and convinced some bimbo that he can charge her chakras and give her a Beyonce like body through his cosmic nutritional tips, he can safely plan to earn Rs 30,000 per session.
That, incidentally, is what a certain well-known trainer reportedly charged a young actress recently. More power to both. What's the big deal? A personal training session here, an Atul Dodiya painting there. It's all very ho-hum beyond a few zeros. And any way, for every sucker, there are at least ten cosmic bull-shitters.
5. "I HAVE NO QUALIFICATIONS"
A trainer has to have a keen understanding of anatomy, posture and physiognomy. Ask whether he or she has been certified. There are several
certifications available, the best among them being the ACSM, or American College of Sports Medicine certifiication, which is offered in India as well. An ACSM-certified trainer will have a good knowledge of theory as well as practical training. There is also the ACE, which comes from the American Council of Exercise. Locally, trainer Kaizad Kapadia has started a fitness academy with a highly respected training program. Make sure your trainer has some idea about the nuances of the spinal cord and does not spell muscle like the shellfish.
Medical tourism is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of traveling to another country to obtain health care. More recently, the phrases global healthcare and medical journeys have emerged as synonyms.
Such services typically include elective procedures as well as complex specialized surgeries such as joint replacement (knee/hip), cardiac surgery, dental surgery, and cosmetic surgeries. The provider and customer use informal channels of communication-connection-contract, with less regulatory or legal oversight to assure quality and less formal recourse to reimbursement or redress, if needed. Leisure aspects typically associated with travel and tourism may be included on such medical travel trips.
A specialized subset of medical tourism is reproductive tourism, which is the practice of traveling abroad to undergo in-vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technology treatments.
The concept of medical tourism is not a new one. The first recorded instance of medical tourism dates back thousands of years to when Greek pilgrims traveled from all over the Mediterranean to the small territory in the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria. This territory was the sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios. Epidauria became the original travel destination for medical tourism.
Spa towns and sanitariums may be considered an early form of medical tourism. In eighteenth century England, for example, medtrotters visited spas because they were places with supposedly health-giving mineral waters, treating diseases from gout to liver disorders and bronchitis.
The cost of surgery in Bolivia, Argentina, Cuba, India, Thailand, Colombia, Philippines or South Africa can be one-tenth of what it is in the United States or Western Europe, and sometimes even less. A heart-valve replacement that would cost US$200,000 or more in the U.S., for example, goes for $10,000 in the Philippines and India-and that includes round-trip airfare and a brief vacation package. Similarly, a metal-free dental bridge worth $5,500 in the U.S. costs $500 in India or Bolivia and only $200 in the Philippines, a knee replacement in Thailand with six days of physical therapy costs about one-fifth of what it would in the States, and Lasik eye surgery worth $3,700 in the U.S. is available in many other countries for only $730. Cosmetic surgery savings are even greater: A full facelift that would cost $20,000 in the U.S. runs about $3,000 in Cuba, $2,700 in the Philippines or $2,500 in South Africa or $ 2,300 in Bolivia."
Easy Destination World City Travel Guide brings to you the most popular medical destination from around the world. These places are recommended by famous doctors and Health Departments of various countries on being less expansive with world standards medical facilities and specif field these countries are specialized in.
When confronted with the task of transporting a loved who is bed ridden or confined to a wheelchair great distances one can find themselves lost.
The first thing that you as the "guardian" needs to figure out is the distance. This will help in determining both the comfort needs of your loved one and it will help decide the method of transport required.
There are no exact answers to whether air or ground transport is best. Ground transport is certainly cheaper and air is certainly faster. A good question to ask yourself is how long will the transport take both by air and by ground. Then look at the needs of your loved one. Will they be able to tolerate that given amount of time in a transport vehicle? Also will traveling by air cause undue stress to your loved one? Always consult your doctor before utilizing medical transport by air.
Once you have decided on your mode of transportation. That is whether your loved one will be transported by air or ground medical transportation then you can start asking the question of what to transport them in.
There are three classic methods to be transported in. Going by patient need from the bottom up. The lowest needs patient would be classified as an ambulatory patient. These patients are able to walk to the transport vehicle and are very good candidates for air travel. The next level would be those who are confined to a wheelchair. These patients are able to sit upright for the duration of the transport. As a rule of thumb, most patients don't tolerate sitting in a wheelchair more than about three hours especially if they have any kind of sore areas on their back or bottom sides. The last mode of transport is by stretcher. Transport by stretcher is the preferred method for any transport over three hours. If a patient can't tolerate a wheelchair or is bed ridden then this is the only method for medical transport.
Once you have determined your method of medical transportation and determined whether your loved one will be going as an ambulatory patient or in an wheelchair or stretcher then your ready to search for your long distance medical transportation carrier. I have linked to a few good ones in this article but you can enter a simple search for long distance medical transportation and find more.
Last but not least it is important to plan ahead. Book the transport after you have everything in place on both the pick up address and the destination address. A lot of medical facilities require notification prior to receiving patients. Make sure to have all medications prepared for transport and if your loved one requires any special equipment such as oxygen the make sure to notify the medical transport company that you choose.
If you follow this article as a guide line you will find that it will take much of the stress out of a seemingly difficult scenario.
If you dear sir we want and care see your doctor after age 45. Your prostate should be under “surveillance” because from that age is starting to grow and cannot help it.
Small but important so is his prostate. This gland is a walnut size which enables all children of Adam has the desired offspring. To tell the urologist oncologist believe it or not “is the most important part of the male reproductive system. Without it there could be multiplied or leave fruit in this life. Without it their “brave soldiers could not march into war” and the “chosen” would never “conquer” the egg metaphorically speaking of course.
But what makes Prostate so important? It turns out that the prostate produces a fluid indispensable not semen or sperm which allows the sperm to navigate to the outside of your body with ease. This is the prostate liquor.
This fluid “dissolves” the thick mucus produced in the seminal vesicles so that sperm can travel through that medium well known to all until you reach the desired destination.
Without prostate liquor would not therefore the millions of “soldiers” could not achieve happiness. But like all things in the world even this happiness last forever.
The prostate to tell the oncologist at the National Institute of Neoplastic Diseases (INEN) from the 45 years begins to suffer inevitably a number of changes. Begins to grow and grow. This abnormal development is called by medical science Enlarged Prostate Problems Or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).
From a small nut the prostate may become a peach. But do not panic this is not cancer. It is as its name implies benign. But this does not mean he will not embarrass you.
And the first symptoms of prostate problems by the feel when you try to urinate and cannot or when their strong desire to go to the bathroom will result in a poor result.
For things of Mother Nature the urethra (the tube where they exit the urine) passes through the middle of the prostate due to BPH the canal is imprisoned from provoking the so-called obstructive syndrome.
As you get older so does the prostate grows in size and triggering BPH.
This could cause problems emptying the bladder or urinary retention. It could even warp the walls of the bladder. Therefore older adults urinate often and little adding that this is going to happen to everyone. If as I read none will be saved.
100% of men have BPH prostate problems. But that eye it will happen to the 45 and it might not cause discomfort to the 50 or 55. But ultimately the 70s and 80s feel (for her trouble urinating) that your prostate has grown abnormally.
This is an inevitable phenomenon but only 50% of men need surgery for this condition. “Some 30% require medical treatment to relieve these symptoms of obstruction as there are drugs that relax the urethra and allow the man urinate better. What about the other 20%? For this group may live with their symptoms. Why? Well simply because appreciate a less significant decrease in their urination.
Even with luck this group and all others must attend regularly (at least once a year) to a urologist to monitor the growth of prostate know their status and that can only be done through the digital rectal examination.
As recommended by the specialist who also advises Complementary ask so prostate specific antigen (PSA for its acronym in English). This is a test that will predict or suspect degeneration-now self-malignant gland.
While the first of the reviews made him turn back stop and not run away. Their fears are unfounded? Do not let me touch the prostate because I’m going to die undefeated’ is the classic answer that we heard in the consultation” said the expert and is indignant because a digital rectal exam could save the lives of many. This test can detect any abnormal growth.
But if this is still not convinced know that this is a test of short duration. Literally in good hands no longer than 20 seconds. “This test does not hurt anyone. Do not make silly ideas. Digital rectal examination never goes out of fashion because it is an irreplaceable review. So do not listen to those who will say this game will test your manhood. The only thing at stake is your health and of course your prostate. See your doctor. No matter.
PROSTATITIS. This is the second most common pathology of the prostate. Most are chronic and presented as perineal pain back pain increased sensitivity of the skin on the thighs and discomfort with urination. It gives the 50% of men mainly young people. Is directly related to sexual life takes. “All that is where God sends” cause prostatitis.
The Prostate Cancer. When present in the peripheral area grows. This disease does not produce symptoms and when it appears to be a prostate cancer too “aggressive.” It is said that 100% of men aged 80 have prostate cancer but only 30% develop the clinical form of the disease. Moreover all could be cancer histology.
India has proclivity for offering exemplary, superlative, excellent and holistic medical services to patients visiting India. Also India has been top destinations for wide range of treatments at most suitable price giving utmost care. Best surgeons in India are highly qualified and capable to perform simpler to complex surgical operations. Their master's degree, specialization fields adds impression upon their curriculum vitae and makes them perfect in practicing a particular field.
Well established surgeons practice wide range of medical streams like fertility treatments, cancer treatments using latest technology, brachytherapy for various types of disorders including cancer, kidney and related disorders, dental, orthopedic, and many more. They are up dated with new innovative techniques and math international protocols of practicing treatment operations. Surgeons in India gain trust by giving ears to the patient's problem and queries. The emotional and mental support provided by surgeons of India proves intention to make patient feel comfortable in their company. Surgeons give their best ability to perform well in every treatment and surgery making it success.
Selecting service provider is not an easy task as there is a long list of surgeons and top hospitals in India offering services but one should keep some points while doing the process.
Urine leakage Incontinence is a disorder of bladder unable to have control over flow of urine. This is problem seen in older age people. Men and women both are affected by this disorder but women suffer commonly. The Urine Leakage Incontinence Bladder is curable and treatments are available at low cost in India as compared to other nations by undergoing a surgery if medication and other treatments are not working. Many people suffer from frequent need to urinate and/or constant dripping even after emptying the bladder, known as bladder incontinence. The condition is completely curable under the right medical care. Healthcare in India is of international standards and costs nearly 25 per cent of the expenses in the developed countries.
Complete loss of control over bladder activity is seen twice in women as compared to men. Incontinence is Bladder disorder is disability to control urine flow or a frequent urge to urinate. This is cause of depression and limited social activities along with embarrassment. The situation differs, as with occasional urination or with complete loss of control. Treatments are decided by the associated surgeons after detecting perfect defect.
There are types of urine leakage incontinence; they are
Urocare India are a group of medical tourism consultancy helping overseas patient pursue affordable urinary incontinence surgery in India through best doctors paneled with them. India's top quality hospitals with internationally trained urological surgeons are listed in the team's association to provide a healthy, stress-free and care life after surgery. The team organizes the treatment plan once the patient decides to fly to India for their surgery. All the arrangement of travel, accommodation, and pre and post operative care is overseen by the team to give comfortable medical tour leaving no regrets but only happiness and successful experience to the international patient.
Urinary incontinence is the loss of control over one's bladder. In certain cases, it results in total loss of the bladder's contents or just causes minor leakage. The condition may be temporary or lasting, depending on its cause. Incontinence can be due to many different health problems like cancer, kidney stones, or an enlarged prostate. Aging also causes incontinent bladder as the muscles weaken. The condition generally affects people over 50 years of age, but anyone can be affected. Consult a doctor for any instance of incontinence as the condition interferes with daily life, causing embarrassing situations.
There are different types of urinary incontinence:
Stress Incontinence: occurs during some physical activity like during exercising, sneezing, coughing, or laughing. They cause the sphincter muscle, which holds urine in the bladder, to become weak and release urine even with subtle pressure.
Urge Incontinence: is a sudden and strong urge or need, to urinate and the need strike very frequently, and in many cases, people cannot reach the bathroom in time.
Overflow Incontinence: occurs the bladder is not emptied completely in one go, but later, one may lose some urine. It is also called dribbling.
There are many causes of bladder incontinence like aging, cancer, physical damage, infection, or neurological disorders. Some cases are temporary and are often caused by an external factor like drinking caffeinated beverages, alcohol, or too much intake of any fluid. Some medications like blood pressure drugs, sedatives, muscle relaxants, also lead to a short spell of incontinence. Certain conditions like constipation can increase the urge to urinate because the compacted stool can make the nerves controlling your bladder overact. With increasing age, the bladder muscle weaken making incontinence more likely. Damage caused to one's pelvic floor muscles can also lead to incontinence, since they muscles support the bladder. In nearly all men, the prostate gland enlarges with age, causing Urine incontinence as a result. A tumor can also cause incontinence by blocking the usual flow of urine.
Consult a doctor if you feel like you may be having problem emptying the bladder fully. Tell in detail about your condition, so that he/she can determine which type of incontinence you are experiencing. One can also take care of incontinence at home. Ask your doctor for exercise of physical activities to strengthen the pelvic muscles. Have a clear and easy path to the bathroom, keep a night light on, and use absorbent undergarments when you leave the house to prevent accidents.
The quality of your health directly impacts the quality of your life. And now more than ever it is easy to be healthy. There are gyms and spas round every corner. Every hospital will provide nutrition guidance and help you plan a lifestyle that is tailored to keep you healthy
Health is big business, worth billions and billions of rupees. From pharmaceutical companies to the thriving alternative remedy providers such as acupuncture and ayurveda, from the licensed medical practitioners such as doctors and nurses to the more peripheral and loosely structured health care providers, health represents a large chunk of any functional economy and health is always one of the prime indicators for development studies. Health is also fast becoming a viable source of income for the national economy with the rise of health tourism.
Countries like India are ideally poised to benefit greatly from health related developments. As of now our billion plus population has inadequate access to health care, which means that there is a vast scope for the development of a health infrastructure: from hospitals to medical services, from doctors and nurses to more easily affordable medication, India has ample room and scope to improve and grow, which is good news not just for the economy but for the people. Added to which is the incentive of medical tourism, which is poised to be a major economic boost. As healthcare becomes increasingly expensive in first world countries many people are looking to travel to countries like India which can provide world class health care at a fraction of the cost.
But health, at the end of the day is not a commodity that can be purchased. Health is a state of being, and a fragile state of being at that. Unfortunately, we tend to take health for granted until we are jolted out of our complacency by a rude event such as an illness. To be healthy today is admittedly not an easy goal. The long evolutionary process of which we are the end result geared the human body towards a life which the vast majority of us no longer live. Industrialization and development have led to a life style that is at complete variance with our evolutionary processes. We lead, for the large part, sedentary lives that entail little or no physical exertion. The food we eat is no longer a means of sustenance. It is by and large a form of indulgence and sensory gratification. Added to all of these changes is the spectre of new and mutating forms of viruses and diseases such as the latest one, the Swine Flu, which is currently poised on the verge of becoming a level six pandemic, according to the World Health Organisation.
Health is a gift that needs to be nurtured and taken care of. Fortunately, it is entirely within our power to do so. The basic unit of health is our body and unless we abuse it to an intolerable level, it only requires basic maintenance. If you are merely unfit and as yet disease free then all you have to do is take care of your body. Exercise, in whatever form appeals to you, and a balanced diet will help you maintain healthy status without undue stress. The upside to maintaining physical health is the fact that you tend to function better in mental and emotional terms when you are physically we l l . Even if you have discovered the value of health the hard way, by falling ill or suffering from a lifestyle disease such as diabetes, health is a still an achievable goal for you. Managing a disease is possible with the right combination of exercise, diet and medical care. "With mean age increasing in our country, more and more people present with geriatric problems like arthritis, cardiac ailments, hypertension, senile eye problems and cancer. There is a lot of focus on improving the Quality of life of these Geriatric patients and now technology has made it possible to undergo safe surgery like Joint Replacement", says Dr. Dinesh Batra, CEO, Primus Super Specialty Hospital The bottom line is a simple one; the quality of your health directly impacts the quality of your life. And now more than ever it is easy to be healthy. There are gyms and spas round every corner. Every hospital will provide nutrition guidance and help you plan a lifestyle that is tailored to keep you healthy. So don't wait, be healthy.
Test your health
To know the current state of your health count your breaths per minute. If they are around 8-10 then there is nothing to worry; 12-15 start yoga; over 15 then immediate corrective measures are required. Yoga and Sanatan Kriya prescribe techniques to regulate your breath flow so that you feel charged up and radiate health. Let's take up a technique of this kriya as prescribed by Yogi Ashwini to regulate and synchronize the breath with the body's biorhythms. Bhramari Pranayama: Use your thumbs to shut your ears and put your fingers at the back of your head; then shut yours eyes and make a humming sound like that of a male bee. Hold for as long as you can. Repeat this five times daily. Enjoy health and vigour.
Even the most meticulously-planned trip can go off the rails when you fall into silly travel traps. Plan and execute the trip in such a way that you do not have to deal with headaches and last-minute changes. Getting the most thrill out of a new destination depends on how foolproof your travel plans are. So before you start packing for your next holiday, here’s a pocket guide to travel know-how for a smooth experience.
1 - NOT BOOKING ENOUGH CONNECTION TIME BETWEEN FLIGHTS
Travel experts suggest that you must leave a window of at least an hour-and-a-half between connecting flights to significantly lessen your chances of missing your flight or having your luggage lost. The 30-45 minute gap is often not enough, especially at large airports where the gates are far apart and commuting from one gate to another takes a couple of minutes. And, remember, never rely on airlines to do the time calculation for you.
2 - ASSUMING YOUR PASSPORT IS TRAVEL-READY
Certain countries demand that passports be valid for three-six months past the date of your flight home. Check the expiry date way ahead of planning your holiday. Since routine passport processing takes about four to six weeks, apply for a passport in advance. If you’re a frequent flyer, flip through the passport to check if there are enough pages. Countries like South Africa require you to have one fully blank visa page in the passport. Without the requisite number of pages, you may be refused entry.
3 - PURCHASING FLIGHT TICKETS AT THE WRONG TIME
The hardest part is knowing when to stop tracking fares and make that final purchase. Sale schemes can save you a lot of money but figure out whether they are genuine. Usually, airline ticket prices go up in the last two weeks before flying, so try to make the call before this deadline. And if you are travelling abroad, book tickets even earlier – three to six months in advance. Keep in mind that many airlines come up with discounts on Tuesdays – so if you decide to buy on a Monday, you may regret your decision when your destination goes on sale the next day.
4 - NOT MAKING USE OF YOUR FREQUENT FLYER POINTS
Why pay a fare at all when you can use your frequent flier miles? But for redeeming them, you need to make a booking early. Airlines designate a very limited number of seats on each flight as eligible for reward travel, and these seats go quickly. Moreover, if you lack enough points to buy a ticket or upgrade it, remember you can amass those thousands of points when shopping for your favourite brands on the airline’s retail shopping portal. Often, you can even rent cars from affiliated companies, book restaurants and do a whole lot more – all you need to do is go on their website to check.
5 - CHOOSING ‘CHEAP’ OVER ‘CONVENIENT’ HOTEL
When the description of your hotel says “near city market”, triple check before considering it. The word ‘near’ is open to vast interpretation. A more expensive hotel in the middle of where the action is, will be far more convenient and budget-friendly than staying in the interiors and spending time and money on transport. Taxi fares in certain cities are outrageous. Moreover, if you wish to get back to the hotel and relax for a bit before having dinner, you can’t do it if your hotel is 45 minutes away from the city.
6 - NOT CHANGING MONEY BEFORE LEAVING
Always do your research about currency exchange centres in your city that give the best deal. When on an international trip, the most common myth is that only amateurs change currency at the airport, because the exchange rate for foreign currency will be better in the destination town. Yes, it may be, but what if you don’t find currency exchange centres at a nearby spot? If it’s an unknown city, your problem gets worse. Therefore, it’s always wise to carry a minimum amount for cab fares and other small expenses before you leave.
7 - NOT BUYING SOMETHING YOU LIKE AS SOON AS YOU SEE IT
You loved that funky skirt at the beach stall but you’re not buying it, thinking you’ll surely get a better deal and a better version elsewhere. Unfortunately, you may not. And not having it will haunt you for the rest of your life. You may also think you can go back to that same shop if you don’t get it elsewhere. It rarely happens as you already have designated days for your travel. You’d rather visit the unexplored places. So when you like something, use your bargaining skills well and just buy it.
8 - HANDING VALUABLE POSSESSIONS TO STRANGERS
You may be forced to gatecheck your hand luggage. Place your valuables and essentials like jewellery, iPad, camera, house and car keys, medication — and anything else you can’t live without — in a pouch or a ziplock inside your carry-on. If you must surrender your carry-on to a flight attendant at the last minute, you can just remove the pouch and keep it with you. This way you won’t be worried about your items. Plus, you could use them whenever you need them.
9 - PAYING HIGH CREDIT CARD FEES
Some credit cards charge a fortune as foreign-transaction fee; if you’re withdrawing a foreign currency the exchange rate will be miserably high – while others charge minimal fees or nothing. So do your research well and choose the card that doesn’t empty your pocket. A lot of credit cards offer great additional travel perks (such as extra points for dining or free checked baggage) and are free for the first year, so you can make use of them.
10 - SCUFFLING WITH LOCAL LOGISTICS
Sometimes, you may not stay at a great hotel but you need a good concierge to assist you with booking tours, making theatre and restaurant reservations, provide an English-speaking guide, instruct the cab drivers in the local language etc. What you can do is walk up to the concierge desk of the nearest five-star hotel. They will be happy to help even if you’re not staying with them. Just be sure to tip them.
The tourism industry could convert crisis into opportunity
The economic downturn and the terror attacks in Mumbai have adversely impacted tourism. But in many ways tourism is an antidote to terrorism; tourism is a catalyst for employment creation, income redistribution and poverty alleviation. One of the best ways to fight the terrorists is to support India’s beleaguered tourism industry.
The Indian tourism industry will be resilient and bounce back as it did post-September 2001. The present crisis presents an opportunity. There was an even bigger crisis in Indian tourism in 2001-02. The attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, war in Afghanistan, withdrawal of flights, attack on Parliament House in New Delhi and troop mobilisation on the India-Pakistan border meant that Indian hotels had just 20-25 per cent occupancy. International tour operators had removed India from their sale brochures and inbound Indian tour operators had switched to outbound operations.
Then tourism was positioned as a major driver of India’s economic growth and its direct and multiplier effects were harnessed for employment generation, economic development and providing impetus to infrastructure development. At a time, when the national tourism boards of Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia had stopped their advertising, promotion and marketing budgets, the ‘Incredible India’ campaign was launched to bring back consumer demand, generate momentum and enhance growth in the tourism industry. This was also a period when the tourist infrastructure around Ajanta Ellora, Mahabalipuram, Kumbalgarh, Chittorgarh, the Buddhist circuit and at Humayun’s Tomb was improved.
The Indian tourism sector had been crippled by the limited air services, seat capacity and high ticket prices. Changes were ushered in this sector. It started with the permission to ASEAN carriers to operate to seven Indian metros, permitting low-cost carriers to launch operations, liberalisation of charter policy, the opening up of the UK bilaterals, granting approvals to new airlines and permitting private airlines to operate on international routes. One of the most closed sectors of the Indian economy was suddenly opened up and it unleashed huge growth in both India’s GDP and higher tourism flows.
This was also the time when young entrepreneurs launched travel portals. These changed the way Indians booked their travel. It is now projected that online channels would continue to outpace the total travel market and online penetration would be nearly one-fourth of the travel market by 2010. New products like medical tourism, value, cruise and rural tourism were conceptualised and implemented in partnership with the private sector and the community.
The 2008 economic slowdown and terror attacks require another such response. The terror attacks were restricted to Mumbai. Other regions and states such as Kerala, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal and UP remain safe, calm and normal.
Long haul markets still make for 95 per cent of India’s international traffic. There is a need to focus on China and Japan, which will emerge as the biggest source of tourists in the coming years. Kerala as a tourism destination was unheard of almost a decade back. Its emergence was largely on account of travel diversion from terror-prone Jammu & Kashmir. Kerala, of course, had developed new products like backwaters and Ayurveda, its entrepreneurs had created experiential boutique resorts and infrastructure had been spruced up. There is a need for new states to emerge as tourism destinations by enhancing the quality of experience and improving infrastructure. In fact, the next year should see focused attention on infrastructure deficiencies which have threatened to derail India’s aim to become a world-class global destination.
The imbalance in demand and supply of hotel rooms and a near-total absence of the two- to four-star category of hotels have led to escalating prices thereby reducing India’s price competitiveness. India needs to create an additional 1,50,000 rooms in the next three years to penetrate large volume markets like China. Domestic tourism can help balance both the present adversity and the seasonality of inbound tourism. The strategy necessitates creating awareness among the rising Indian middle classes about new experiences (chasing the monsoons), new attractions (plantation holidays) as well as pilgrim circuits, heritage and monuments.
To drive growth, we need to push five critical C’s: civic governance (improving the quality of tourism infrastructure),capacity building of service providers (taxi drivers, guides and immigration staff), communication strategy (constant innovation of the ‘Incredible India’ campaign and penetration in new markets), convergence of tourism with other sectors of the Indian economy, and civil aviation (continued opening of the skies, improved airport infrastructure and rationalisation of taxes).
In the context of India, the vast potential of tourism as an employment creator and wealth distributor still remains untapped. The size of the tourism industry worldwide is $4.6 trillion whereas the software industry globally is a mere $500 billion. The tourism industry globally generates over 250 million jobs whereas the software industry generates only 20 million jobs. In India, in 2007, revenue from foreign tourists was $10.7 billion and 53 million people were employed in the tourism sector.As India grows and expands its base in travel and tourism, it will generate many more jobs and the sector will become a major catalyst for India’s growth with employment creation.