We bet 99% of Indians have no clue where or what Croatia is.
No big deal.
For the uninformed, Croatia is a small Southern European country on the Adriatic Sea.Â
Part of Yugoslavia until 1991, Croatia has an area of just 56,542 sq km and a population of a mere 4.55 million.
Yet, asÂ a story in today’s New York Times notes, Croatia expects 10 million tourists this year.
What was seen for much of 1990s as a war-torn nation is now widely perceived as a prime tourist destination, with 10 million tourists a year and visitors flocking to its Adriatic coast.
In contrast, India – land of the Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, Ajanta, Ellora, Tanjore temples, GoaÂ and countless other fabulous tourist spots – gets just about four million tourists.
According to the World Tourism Organization, Croatia got 8.47 million international tourists in 2005. In the same year, India got a piffling 3.91 million international tourists while its communist neighbor China got a whopping 46.81 million tourists. Go figure.
Surely something is very rotten when newly independent tiny countries like Croatia (126th largest country in the world) attract more tourists than India (seventh largest).
Nearly 60 years after India won independence, the country is still barely on the international tourist map.
Poor marketing,Â negligible investment in tourismÂ and lack of basic infrastructure at tourist spots are some of the obvious causes for India’s glaring failure to attract tourist dollars.
Are things likely to change much anytime soon? We are pessimistic of seeing a boom in tourist interest in India in our lifetime.