If one turns back the pages of Indian history, a new world unfolds that takes you into an era that reflected princely states, pride and patriotism. India’s struggle to gain independence from the British Raj resulted in host of events and incident that have left strong footprints for the future to know and relive the struggle towards freedom. Some of these landmarks are popular and recognised by people, while there are many that have been lost in the pages of history. Forgotten and ignored some are in deplorable conditions that are in dire need of restoration and attention.
It is rather unfortunate to witness and experience an India at 65 that is still tied in the shackles of bureaucracy, seldom thinking of projecting its untapped hidden jewels in the most effective fashion to the world. If one may draw a comparison to other countries, none can boast of such diversity and strong history, performing so much better in their tourism space as compared to India. We lack the art and science to project, promote and position ourselves as a tourism project. There are countries that may not have much to boast about but are extremely successful in drawing tourists as they go all out to market the destination and sites building massive hype around it.
In our Freedom Special issue at Express TravelWorld we felt it was time to present at least 20 of India’s freedom sites that can be woven so well into tourism itineraries. There is a definite potential in designing new tours and packages with some out of the box thinking. This issue also carries an interesting analysis of the Indian cruising industry. Though the cruise shipping policy has been announced, delays and bottlenecks hamper its smooth sailing. Though there are few who are working diligently to erase bottlenecks, tardy processes, the bureaucratic system once again is forced to look out and compare the way other countries have surged ahead in their cruising business. Experts feel high port charges work as a repellent, as investors shy away for the business. India can also serve as a domestic cruising destination. All said and done we need to move at supersonic speed and bring in change. I would like to conclude on a positive note, with the recent workshop on cruising which took place in Goa which has rekindled hope amongst enthusiasts. We need freedom in the real sense to make things happen and fast.