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A Study to understand the Role of Nation

Branding in the upliftment of

Indian tourism

1. Introduction

Tourism industry has emerged as an important instrument in the economic development of Indian economy. Due to its strong backward and forward linkages it generates employment in different profiles and thus increases living standard of people who are directly or indirectly linked with this economically profitable activity. The first tourism policy being introduced in 1982, we have come travelled a long way in the upliftment of socio-economic culture in India. Also the Indian tourism has a clear bright future.

Interesting fact is India is rich in diversified places to visit, but the only thing which keeps tourism industry restricted to growth is non-availability of globally benchmarked services and high domestic flight fares. There is a lot of potential in the Indian tourist market. Unfortunately, that is either not seen or not visible to foreign investors due to low information about such destinations or future prospects in the Indian tourism. That may be concluded as the major reason why despite of Southern India having such beautiful locations, 49% foreign tourists visit Northern India and only 18% tourists go to south.  Although necessary, but branding India only on the basis of diversity of tourist places will not lead to expected growth of tourism industry of India.

This paper explains the causes of slow growth and majorly pin points the key areas to be taken care of so that Indian tourism can take a hike on a global platform. This paper

• States the importance of Indian tourism as a catalyst, in the socio-economic development, improving the employment rate and also its contribution in improving the GDP of India.

• Suggests effects of overall development of destination branding policies on the tourist base and foreign investment in tourism sector.

• Enumerates measures to retain the domestic tourists from choosing foreign countries as a tourist destination.

• Captures the very idea of how an improved perception can be developed, not only in the mind of the tourists but the investors as well so as to take Indian tourism on a ride to the very top of the global leader chart.

This study would exhibit that this is the time that Indian tourism undergoes a major change not only by means of flaunting the diversity, but also by showing the positive prospects of investing in India and how we are capable of presenting better results than any other nation globally.

Tourism – an interesting issue

There's a chaos in the world about how India is developing rapidly. Let's get an insight to it, we are the 7th largest economy by method of nominal GDP and 3rd largest by PPP. According to current statistics by the National Council for Applied Economic Research, tourism contributes as much as 6.77% to the total GDP. This can be called as a matter of great pride. But is it justified, that a country as rich in diversity as ours, gets only 6.77% share from tourism. The answer will be a big NO, as we can do much better than this.

On paper, India should be a tourist powerhouse. The country has all the right ingredients - good food, rich culture, beautiful historic monuments, spirituality, and diversity to lure travelers from all over the world. Yet India lags behind Asian tourist hubs like Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea and China.

While tourism in India continues to increase, with 6.65 million tourists visiting the country in 2012, it grew just 5% over 2011. Bhutan and Sri Lanka from the same south Asian region recorded over 17% growth in the same year.

Major part of the problem which makes it most interesting from the Indian perspective is, even though we are such a big and fastest growing economy, we do not hold any position in the list of top 10 tourist destinations in the world (Rank: 65), or in Asia and the Pacific Region according to the statistics provided by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as a part of their world statistics Barometer.

   2. Literature Review

2.1 Nation Branding

Nation branding is the process of evolving a unique personality or identity for a tourist destination and using a tagline, a symbol, a design or a combination of these to create a positive image and to communicate the same to the tourists [5]. Nation branding is to create ability for a nation to be distinctively identified as a destination by combining all the attributes associated with the Nation and making it different from its competitors [8]. Like any other brand, nations have their own individual identities, which are unique and distinctive amongst themselves [9]; no two countries are identical. On the basis of those unique identities or attributes, many countries have been branding themselves systematically. Thus, nation branding, which is a new concept in Marketing, is an important instrument in the development of a country and in creating a strong brand of that country [10].

    2.2 Related Studies

• Study by Sunaina Ahuja proposing holistic approach for different destinations using destination branding approach [11]. This study shows how destination branding approach can be used to brand destinations in order to attain a maximum profit level for Incredible India Campaign (IIC).

• Research study on Malaysia [12] examines the elements of country branding from the perspectives of the citizen of the country. The study constructs their views toward the country using both emotion (affect) and perceptions of competitive advantage and subsequently conceptualizes and tests a framework of internal country-branding elements.

    2.3 Gaps in related studies

• The holistic approach study doesn't capture the point of view of tourists. It just captures the information from different continents and produces a model. In order to develop an efficient policy for Branding India we need to understand the target audience.

• Research on Malaysia, doesn't focus light on external branding of the country.

• Also there is no such study which we could get related to capturing the preference of the tourists from different countries and India itself and providing solutions for the uprising problems being faced by the Indian Tourism Industry.

• No solution to the present problems faced by Indian tourism has been suggested by any study.

2.4 Objective of the study

• To suggest the improvements that can be made in the branding policy of India to improve the tourist base.

• To find out ways to attract foreign investors to invest in Indian tourism industry.

• To find out ways of getting India to top 10 tourist destinations.

3. Research Methodology

The Research methodology in this study includes 5 steps. The first step contains identification the variables based on the expert review and secondary data. The second step is to devise the instrument for data collection. The third step is the data interpretation and analysis using appropriate statistical tools. The fourth step is to relate the results of the study with other existing studies in the same direction.

For this study primary data is collected from both Indian and foreign tourists belonging to different age groups and information like, their perception relating to India as a tourist place, problems faced by them as tourists in India and how will an improved branding policy impact Indian tourist base according to them has been captured.

Secondary data from UNWTO, EBSCO, and Google based on recent statistics of tourist base incoming and outgoing India was captured and especially YouTube provided a source of utmost information about Nation and Destination branding ( –Wally Olins; ( Sasha Strauss.

 4.1 Tools and Techniques

• Factor Analysis: To identify important factors leading the tourists to visit India.

• Cluster Analysis: Divisions of the tourists on the basis of different motivation.

• Interview Method: Interviewing tourist agencies and 2, 3, and 4 star hotel owners for their input to improve over the problems faced by tourism industry of India.

 4.2 Data Collected

Both the secondary and primary data is collected in this study. Secondary data is collected through advertisements, expert reviews and online journals. Secondary data gives us an insight of what is the present scenario of tourist arrival and how many tourists are expected in future years till 2020. Also we get to know the factors responsible for the lack of tourist bases in India even being so rich in diversity and culture. Secondary data enables to figure out the gaps in the branding policy of Destinations and how to bridge the gap by means of effective branding models.

Primary data is collected by means of 2 ways, Interview and Questionnaires. 450 questionnaires were received, 150 each from the respondents of different age groups and different nationality. Also 50 people were personally interviewed for their inputs. Hence, 500 was the actual sample size from where the data was collected.

 4.3 Sampling Design

Questionnaire data has been collected from the following respondents:

No. Of Respondents Age group (in yrs.) Indian Respondents Foreign Respondents

150 18 -30 75 75

150 31-45 75 75

150 45-60 75 75

Total = 450 - 225 225

Target Population:  Foreign Tourists and Indian Tourists.

Sampling Technique: (Non Random) Snowball Sampling, Quota Sampling (as presented above on the basis of age groups).

Sample Size: Out of the total of 500 questionnaires, 475 were received (325 by e-mail and 150 personal questionnaires). Out of the received 475, only 450 were kept and classified as usable. Also 50 people were personally interviewed.

Therefore the total sample size used: 500 tourists.

4. Data Analysis

a. Data Analysis Strategy

Data collected by the methods of Interview and questionnaires was analyzed in 5 stages.

Firstly, the reason for the visit of the tourists to India, according to the age groups was factor analysed to identify the major reasons for visiting India. After factors were identified in the previous step, next step was to cluster the factors under respective heads. Clusters were defined in such a way, so that homogeneity under the cluster and heterogeneity between the clusters was maintained. After the cluster analysis, chi square analysis was done in order to find out the relationship between the tourists of different nationality and the clusters defined. Once this is done, branding policies are created for each cluster according to the nationality and is merged with one single policy for the Nation called ‘Universal India'.  

Also their views about the problems faced by the tourists while visiting India were collected and also clustered under various heads. These heads were compared to the problems reported by the secondary data and checked for new problems which might have aroused. Also from the same set of respondents, proposed solutions for the problems were asked and are grouped under broader headings. These headings were hence said to be the measures that can be taken into consideration for the upliftment of Indian Tourism shortcomings.

5.2 Factor Analysis

The first stage of data analysis involved the identification underlying motivations using factor analysis. To understand the important attributes/ factors for branding India which sway the foreign tourists, factor analysis was used in the study. After applying factor analysis on the data six factors were extracted with Eigen Value >1, which explains the 61% of Variance. Results show that variables within each factor were internally consistent through reliability factor, Cronbach's alpha coefficient Factors were labelled as; (F1) Rich Heritage, (F2) Delicious Cuisines, (F3) Worth for money, (F4) Rich Climate (F5) Spiritual and Cultural beauty. Factor 1 explained the items related to rich history, monuments, forts, and heritage and therefore named as “Rich Heritage”. Factor 2 consisted of items, all related to cuisines, spices and food chains. Hence, it was labelled as “Delicious Cuisines”. Factor 3 consisted of three variables, related to value for money, cheap and affordable services and therefore this factor were labelled as “Worth for money”. Factor 4 consisted of rich weather conditions and variety of weathers found only in India. It was related with diverse landscapes, like beaches, deserts, mountains, backwaters, etc. Therefore, this factor was labelled as “Rich Climate”. Factor 5 consisted of two variables related to ethnicity of culture and also of four variables related spiritual and religious learning, yoga and meditation. Hence this factor was tagged as “Spiritual and Cultural beauty”.

5.3 Cluster Analysis

After the factor analysis was done, the factors identified were further grouped with the motivation of their arrival to India. Such kind of motivation can be many but when clusters are divided the major factors for choosing India for the purpose of investment in tourism services, the next step in the analysis is to cluster the visitors on the basis of some specific factors. For assessment of cluster profile, clusters were labelled according to the importance attached to each cluster. The clusters are made with the purpose of visiting India. These segments were labelled as; Business tourists, Spiritual Tourists, Foodie and Adventurous Tourists, History and Culture seekers, Students and Less spending Tourists. Segment 1 consists of tourists who only visit India for the purpose of business. Segment 2, consists of people who are usually visit India for the purpose of religious activities like yoga, meditation, spirituality. Segment 3 consists of people who travel India for adventure sports and for delicacies found in India. Segment 4 consists of those people who are fond of Indian Culture and Heritage. Segment 5 consists of students who come to India to research and also those tourists who want to spend less and still want to fulfil all their desires. After establishing these segments which are different from each other the next step consists of profiling of each segment with respect to their demographic factors like age groups and travelling characteristics. This will be very helpful to create an effective marketing strategy for formulation to identify different target markets.

5.4 Data Evaluation Results

We collected the data from Indian tourists and foreign tourists. The method of survey was questionnaire and interview method. The data collected gave us a collection of tourist review from USA, China, Sri Lanka, and Canada as foreign countries. We did two kind of analysis, first was a collective analysis through which a broader perspective was achieved and we could form the basis of the motivations driving tourists to India, second was individual analysis which led to conclusions forming basis of what branding strategy to be adopted in order to perfectly position India as the foremost destination and a complete package.

Collective Study

The above mentioned data gives us the following collective results.

The above shown pie chart represents the collective results and shows what tourists are basically looking for in India. As described by the pie chart above majority of tourists visit India for adventure and fun. Second largest tourists visit India to see the culture and the heritage. This shows that major focus should be on these two factors for all kind of tourists.

Another thing which we got to know was the problems faced by all tourists. Major tourists had no problems. Although after those tourists majority of tourists feel insecure in India. Also facilities in India are a major concern. Till the time somebody will not get clean and spacious rooms and clean toilets, nobody would like to visit India and will give a negative feedback which will refrain others to visit India, hence reducing the tourist base.

Also we asked the respondents about the investment potential in India. We gave them some options of areas where they would like to invest. Majority of people would like to invest in Hotel Industry as they think this industry has a lot to offer in India. Other than that people would also like to invest in healthcare industry as they feel that needs to be upgraded according to international standards in this country and will help them get more returns. Also people see their money growing in developing the infrastructure of the country.

Now since we asked a question about the investment, we had to ask if not India why others. What we meant by this was that we wanted to know why most companies invest in legacy nations like Britain, USA, France and Germany.

Our basis of asking this question was to know, what are the benefits these nations have to offer and is it possible for India to provide the same benefits, may be not in the same proportion but still sufficient for them to invest in India. We got the following results

Majority of answers were based on the facilities provided by these nations to the investor companies. It is obvious that the answer would have gone to this direction as everybody will like to invest in a nation which is fully equipped and needs no branding, people already know about it. Rest of the answers were based on the security aspect which has been a challenge for us. Over the period of time, the crime rate has increased up to such a scale that Indian tourists are afraid of travelling in their own country, so expectations from the outside will automatically decrease.

Individual Study

This is the study of opinions of every nation as mentioned above. We will see the results for individual nation based on their preference and motivation to visit India. Also we'll see that how separate nation branding can affect the tourist base of India and therefore we will suggest certain strategies to brand India in order to position it in the mind of different people of different nations accordingly.

American Study

This study shows that the Americans are mostly interested to visit India for its delicious cuisines and adventure filled spots. When survey was done, a question regarding; the place they would like to go in India was asked. Most of the Americans answered that they want to visit Leh, as it gives them a chance to experience the most amazing and adventurous bike ride. Also Americans are interested in historical monuments and the diversified culture of India. People like to know about the history and also they are mesmerized by the colourful culture we have in India. The current advertisements are a blend of all this but are unclear as they don't expose the actual experiences people have in India when it comes to adventure and spirituality.

The proposed strategy of branding will be to focus more on these 3 factors on the basis of the proportion mentioned in the chart. Also portraying what are the places to explore, especially when it comes to adventure and cuisines. Exposing shear adventure with a hint of beautiful scenic beauty and similarly top class restaurants with amazing cuisines will help Indian Tourism not only to grow but we will be able to give people an experience they will not forget ever.

Canadian Study

This study shows nearly the same thing as was shown by the American Study. People from Canada are more attracted towards the Indian Cuisines and delicacies. Also they are fascinated by the adventures India has to offer. Majority of Canadians like to visit India in order to enjoy the different cuisines we have to offer. Also rest of them like to seek the History and to explore the Indian Culture.

The efficient branding strategy for Canada should focus more on showcasing the best restaurants which are known for world best taste in the advertisement. Also to position places like Leh and Ladakh, as a part of Canadian Advertisement of Indian Tourism in such a way so that Canadians are driven to India.

Chinese Study

This study shows that Chinese people have pretty diversified reasons to visit India. Most of these tourists are Chinese Pilgrims as majority constitutes the Spiritual Tourists (64%). Also on an equal proportion both kind of tourists, one who enjoy the food and adventure and others who are history and culture seekers would like to visit India. Also as we know that China is fastest growing economy of the world today, there are certain delegations sent to India for business purposes as well, these also come under our cluster Business Tourists and only constitute 7% of the total Chinese Tourists.

Since it is very clear from the statistics we have above, we need to adopt destination branding techniques for places like Bodh Gaya, which is a site of Buddha's Enlightenment and visited by almost all the Buddhist pilgrims. Also temples like Tirupati temple, which is the richest temple in the world, should be positioned in the mind of tourists, which outshines other destinations and compel tourists to visit India.

Sri Lankan Study

This study is yet again a diversified study and contains various motivations for a Sri Lankan tourist to visit India. Majority of people would be the research scholars and would like to see the worth of their money. This means that they want Indian experience to be knowledgeable and inexpensive at the same time. Also many pilgrims do travel from Sri Lanka to India shown by the second highest majority of tourists. Food and adventure is the most common motivation which drives people to India and also is responsible in creating Indian image as a highly diversified tourist destination, because every place has their own cuisine to offer.

The efficient branding strategy will be to enhance people exposure towards the places like Hampi; where they can learn and research about the medieval history of India, Mumbai; where they can research about the finance management and also about sensex, Varanasi; where these tourists can learn spirituality. Also to brand India as a pocket friendly delight. For that we need to cover all the areas like food, accommodation, facilities and travelling fares. Also to showcase places like Bodh Gaya, in order to gain maximum pilgrims and improve the revenue generated by tourism.

Indian Study

Indian study shows that most of the people would like to travel for adventure and to try different cuisines from different cultures and traditions. Another majority of tourists from India visit historical places where they get to admire the heritage India has got. According to the Indian tourists the only point that bothers them is the Price.

The ticket fares from one place to another cause Indian tourism to suffer a lot. This is because Indian tourists start comparing and finding that fares to travel other countries and returning is much cheaper as compared to Indian destinations. Hence majority of tourists like to visit foreign destinations. This is one menace that needs to be removed from the tourism of India and we will be able to retain at least 74% of the Indian Tourists.

How Foreign Investment can be improved?

According to the findings we conclude on the following terms that why investors do not want to invest in Indian Tourism, rather would invest in legacy nations like Britain, France, Germany etc. Following table shows the reasons stopping investors with percentage.

Reasons Percentage

Less Facilities 29%

Low Security 21%

Missing attractive investment Schemes 19%

Low profitability 17%

Misleading Advertisements 12%

Others (developing country, no reason) 2%

This is obvious that every investor wants their money to grow. The issues which are mentioned above lead investors to move from India to other already developed country.

This problem can be removed by developing on these factors.

• These statistics show that tourists want complete value of their money, which is completely fair. Factors like security enhancement measures taken by the government should be used as tool to brand India as a secure nation for tourists.

• Advertisements should be clear and should be informative, just showing the random places will not capture tourist's attention. It should be made in such a way, so that it captures the mind of the investor in every aspect concerning value to money, security, facilities etc. and investor should see the prospects in Indian Market and hence should be biased over investing in India other than legacy nations.

• We suggest a brand tagline as deduced from most of the customer's responses, “Universal India”.

• According to the responses received people believe India has a huge potential for the development of the tourism industry. But we need to work harder to achieve the same growth.

Factors which can lead India to top 10 tourist destinations

• The most amazing answer which we got through interviews for this question is that first we need to retain Indian tourists from going abroad. That can be done by reducing the fares of hotels and travelling fares. Also facilities should be provided according to the budget of the tourist so as to be fair with all tourists.

• Secondly reduction of crime rate is most important. Mostly in metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata etc the crime rate is high, which needs to be brought down.

• By improving healthcare services. Many cases have been seen where a patient dies due to latency in treatment or lack of services. This news forms a perception in mind of foreign tourists that we lack in healthcare potential and hence they refrain from visiting India.

• By improving cleanliness and making the environment hygienic. The initiative of Clean India taken by the honourable Prime Minister of India, will contribute to this point in a positive way.

• Communication barrier also forms a wall between the foreign tourists and Indian representatives. Most of the responses say the same thing; especially people from America feel this difference the most. Providing training or hiring qualified individuals as representatives will actually resolve this issue.

• Also false advertisement should not been done. People do get attracted towards the false advertisement but since they don't find the same quality, they get offended and spread a wrong message which forms a negative image.

Limitations of the study


Since, India is geographically very large, therefore it was not possible to capture primary data from every state, survey was limited to citizens of Delhi only. Also due to time constraints only 5 foreign tourist countries could be surveyed. The Clustering Analysis Algorithms have their own limitations.

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