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Monday, January 31, 2011

Tourism - An Untapped Opportunity !

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Snow covered mountains, rivers, rice and paddy fields, rain forests, desert, beaches, islands, temples, churches, mosques, forts, palaces, museums, ponds, lakes, valleys, plateaus, ancient cities, towns,modern buildings,music, songs, dance, movies, theater,magicians,languages, dialects, religions and everything in abundance, everywhere, any day, every year and for 1000s of years, Incredible India !!

Lets look at some numbers here -

So Why Tourism, Why not IT or BPO or perhaps high end Pharma/LPO ?

Well the question is not Why not IT/ denying the fact that this industry has played a huge role in transforming the landscape in past 15-20 years, created several jobs etc BUT I believe that the size of Tourism industry which is directly proportional to cultural or geographic diversity has been immensely under performing .

So though we lack on macro economic parameters such as Per Capita GDP or prosperity indicator such as Cars/1000 folks, but definitely there's a huge scope for improvement on increasing the Tourist/Population ratio drastically. I understand that its much easier to run smaller countries like Macau, Tunisia or Malaysia purely based on tourism but still given the diversity of the India, I think we have a huge room for improvement, even if we are able to reach the league of Mexico or South Africa in next 10 years and perhaps Tunisia or Bulgaria in next 20 years, things can/will change drastically.

So What is Needed ?

Franky not much !! We already have the essential ingredients to make India as the most popular tourist destination in the world. All we need is little planning and keep doing what we are planning to do in any case, i.e improve infrastructure, improve public private partnerships and give incentives to the industry to thrive and grow. Based on my gut feeling and some thumb rules I strongly feel that with a little more dedicated efforts considering the tourism industry in mind, the opportunity and the potential to create a significant impact is huge.

The planning - the first thing perhaps would be to break down the Incredible India campaign into pieces, into states, regions etc, let it be sum of parts because India has much more to offer which a foreigner can comprehend in a 30 sec ad !!

The infrastructure - we definitely dont have roads, transportation and elaborate websites. I am not much concerned about hotels and restaurants and recreational activities because I have experienced, witnessed and lived in my small ways the unique entrepreneurial spirit of Indians which will take care of all these aspects beyond what any planning can achieve. But definitely the infrastructure needs a big boost. But the good thing is we need to improve the infrastructure in any case, so no need to tag this expenditure solely under Tourism industry.

The long term potential - the best and perhaps most critical need of the hour - rapid urbanization which is damaging the ecosystem in the villages, which is increasing the pressure on cities indirectly increasing the crime rates in cities, creating unnecessary pressure on infrastructure of cities AND the need to remain connected with what is ours, what is truly Bhartiya, our plural identity, unique to India.

So the employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in this field will have massive trickle down effects on improving the living conditions in rural India, poverty, education and employment. It will be a huge opportunity for ancillary industries such as banking and insurance besides media, entertainment, travel, hospitality and transportation which will be more direct beneficiaries.

Data Sources:
Population - Google
Tourism - Wikipedia Passenger Car - World Bank
Passenger Car - Trading Economics

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chaos - The Only Order ?

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Growing up is never easy, especially when everything else in the world is growing with you in quantity, quality and in almost every possible dimension. Lets take look at some statistics -

Estimated Number of registered websites in the world-
1998- 2.4 million
2000- 7 million
2010-180 million

Question - did anyone in the year 1998/99/2000 imagined that the number of registered websites will increase 25 times over next decade ?
Question 2-any guesses for the number of registered websites by 2020? 500 million or 5 billion?

Estimated World Population-
1000- 0.25 billion
1500 - 0.50 billion
1810- 1 billion
1910 - 1.8 billion
1965-3.6 billion
2000 - 6.1 billion
2010-6.9 billion
2020 - projected - 8 billion

Question - did anyone in the year 1000 AD imagined that the world population will shoot up 25 times in next 1000 years ?
Question 2 - any guesses for the population in 3010-150 billion? OR back to 0.25 billion?

Estimated Mobile users in the world -
2000- 0.5 billion
2005- 2.1 billion
2010 - 5 billion

Question- did anyone in the year 2000 forecast a 10 fold increase in next 10 years?
Question 2 - projections for 2020? definitely not 40 or even 20 billion right !!

Year 1910 - did Britishers ever imagined that 100 years fast forward and Indian and Chinese economies will be ruling the world, despite of them looting the world for 300 years !!

Will United Nations/US/UK government will ever succeed in reducing the Chaos/Entropy of this World, i.e reducing the poverty, wars, coup, terrorism etc?

These might be sample and apparently random statistics over a completely diverse time frame and on similar lines we can analyze the number of TV sets from 1900 to 1930 to 1950 to 2000 and many more interesting statistics. But the question remains - is it possible to predict any trend over a 'long time frame' in future for almost anything/event/behaviour!

Perhaps not! Why? Simply because the human mind does not have the ability to comprehend the outcomes of billions and billions of macro and micro events taking place everyday, everywhere, everytime ! No matter how smart we become in foreseeable future, we wont be able to run aMonte Carlo simulation for the whole world in our head to predict the outcomes of random events.

With world becoming more complex then ever, with the advent of internet and social media, the possibilities of interactions and so the total volume of interactions has grown out of proportion in the past decade. So, the definition of 'long time frame' itself has reduced and most analysts are caught on the wrong side, in their attempt to predict the stock price over next 6-12 months!!
So, is Chaos the only order? With increasing population and more rapidly increasing 'things' (mobile, internet!!) around human beings, the number of interactions between man-man, man-thing, thing-thing are bound to increase in leaps and bounces which will further increase even more random events in almost any field - science, technology, politics over next 10 years !! So perhaps the next decade be most eventful decade in past 20000 years? I think so, provided some comet/s (force majeure as they call in business :)) etc does not happen to our dear planet!

What about Religion? Almost 80% of the world population firmly believes in some religion or the other, still the number of people attaining salvation/ moksha, which tend to reduce the Chaos/ Entropy of the world have not succeeded either? But what if no religion ever came into existence, perhaps we would still be in jungles! So religions have definitely succeeded in temporarily reducing the randomness, aberrations in the society at large.

We can find the most interesting application of Chaos Theory in - Politics!! Politicians know that its impossible to predict the behaviour of voters after 4/5 years, i.e during next elections. So, they start their hidden and public campaign to woo voters just few months/ weeks before the elections!! Perhaps we need to establish a new branch of studies - Thermodynamics of Politics and Religion!!

But the next question is to all "Thermodynamicists" (please don't mind the extension of Science- Scientists association, if you prefer Mathematics - Mathematician kind of usage then I can rewrite "it" as Thermodynamicians but it does sound weired, right!), so coming back to question outside the brackets of terminology, Can the Entropy and so Chaos of our System will keep on increasing forever from here on or will the end be same as the beginning- A Big Blast?

Chaos - The only order, from ever since, forever !