The 21st century is characterised by unprecedented challenges and opportunities, arising from globalisation, the desire for inclusive development, and the imperatives of climate change. The millennials today are not earning to build an empire or an estate rather they need experiential learnings in their life. Their experience is the new asset. The experience here refers to the experience in their personal lives, not in professional lives, and the personal experience is travel. Tourism is the second-largest and fastest-growing industry in the world.
The potential in the industry is more than the oil industry. People travel for different purposes. Some travel for leisure, business, education, relations, and many more reasons. Tourism is defined as traveling from one place to another and to be in that place for more than 24 hours and less than 1 year. The industry requires a great infrastructure to operate. This includes the airline industry, the hotel and restaurant industry, the transportation, heritage sights, monuments, and many more which is mainly known as Tourism Stakeholders.
People travel to experience the different cultures of different places, races, religions, societies, and communities. This expands the circle of society and creates a mutual bond between two communities from different corners of the world. The airline industry made it easy to travel from one place to another within minimum time, this boosted the interests of travel in people. This is how the term, “World is a global village” was introduced. The travel industry made it easy to travel to places and the communication between people and their cultures made the world a mutual cultural society.
The social media today encourages the youth to travel and to visit places. It creates a hypothetical situation and a sense of imagination where a person imagines about being at the destination which encourages him/her to travel to that particular destination. Bloggers, Vloggers, and Social Media Influencers today, explore places and write about destinations and other people are influenced by them to experience the place, culture, food, and weather of that destination which also acts as a mediator between potential travelers and a destination to travel. Social media posts are at its peak in today’s world. Some people do travel to experience, but some in peer pressure. In today’s world, if a person is in one continent and other is at different, they are connected through social media. Social media is the greatest influencer and the greatest platform to share one’s experience. It is easily accessible and costs nothing. The travel industry is often called as an intangible industry and a person tends to travel to a certain destination depending upon their preferences. As there is a rapid increase in the usage of the internet nowadays, potential travelers decide their place of travel by checking the online reviews by real people who have already experienced traveling to that particular destination which clearly shows how social media has now become a decision-maker of everyone\'s lives.
Tourism is a labor-intensive industry, which plays a pivotal role in promoting a country on the international level and generating much needed foreign exchange. The industry creates several jobs. Tourism creates business contacts, creates a market place, and helps to decline the rate of territories to promote broad-based employment and income generation. The stakeholders\' investment in the infrastructure adds to economic growth, generates income and employment, and in return it genres more tourism and creates a circle of growth, infrastructure, employment. It is also a platform to increase socio-economic and cultural contacts. Tourism in India is ranked 4th after fuels, chemicals, and automotive products in global exports. PCI has recognized the tourism industry as a pro-poor and nation-building activity in the 12th Five-Year Plan document. Tourism is an activity that has been increasing day by day with the introduction of many emerging trends. these trends includeÂ Options for Low Budget Travellers, Visa on Arrival Boosting Tourism, Rise of Boutique Hotels, Exploring New Destinations, Travel Trade shows Promoting Tourism like SATTE, etc. With the introduction of setups like hostels for travelers, various low budget options have come up recently in India. Numerous budget hotels, bed and breakfast, and many other options have been proposed to cater the travelers, who are financially constrained.
Due to the emergence of Social Media, many youngsters have started to travel. Since they have to meet their expenses they tend to stay at such cheap hotels or hostels. The taxes and other expenses for moving around the country are comparatively lower from other foreign destinations therefore it also becomes a good choice for budget travelers from around the globe. A rapidly growing country like India has a lot dependent on its government policies. Visa on arrival in India, which applies to tourists from over 40 countries, was started in 2014, since then a rise of foreign visitors has been observed, which therefore generates foreign exchange in India. This policy is expected to be extended to more than 100 nationalities in the coming years. A recent surge in the number of boutique hotels or resorts in the country has offered a wide variety of staying options for tourists. These boutique hotels provide comfort while letting the visitors indulge more into their surroundings, thus promoting tourism in our country. Domestic as well as international tourists both are expressing constant interest in exploring new and lesser-known destinations in the country. With improved connectivity and penetration of the internet, more and more such destinations are coming to light and catching the eye of travelers. With the prevalence of these emerging trends, the future of the Indian travel and tourism industry looks quite flourishing.
Tourism circuits are proposed to be developed in an integrated manner with Central Financial Assistance and involvement of State Governments and private sectors which have been structured considering the length, duration, connectivity, and tourism potential of the destinations in this plan. The first step is the identification of circuits and after that, there is a need to identify the basic and tourism-related infrastructural and promotional activities.
International tourism is also growing due to the decline in airfares by the airlines and aviation industries. It is also increased by the improvement in transport technology and the decrease in the time travel and the transit time. The industry is expanding in different entrainment, sports, religion, culture, adventure, education, health, and business. The expenditure creates an employment and demand chain for society. As per various studies, for every room in a five-star hotel about 15 jobs are created.
Atithi Devo Bhava (the guest is God) as a slogan is being promoted by the Ministry of Tourism by ad campaign to promote the motto to create respect for the industry. Slogan roots are in an ancient Hindu scripture “Taittiriya Upanishad” which became part of the “code of conduct” for Hindu society since ancient times. The slogan creates social awareness to improve the treatment of tourists in India. It is aimed to provide the inbound tourist a sense of being welcomed, the campaign targets the general public, while it focuses mainly on the stakeholders of the tourism industry like the taxi drivers, guides, immigration officers, police and other personnel who directly interact tourist.
India is a diverse market for travel and tourism. Total contribution by travel and tourism sector to India’s GDP is expected to increase from Rs 15.24 trillion (US$ 234.03 billion) in 2017 to Rs 32.05 trillion (US$ 492.21 billion) in 2028. Ranked 7th among 184 countries in terms of travel & tourism’s total contribution to GDP in 2017. The Tourism industry is the third-largest foreign exchange earner for India. Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) increased 5.20 percent year-on-year to 10.56 million in the same period. Foreign tourist arrivals for medical purposes increased from 427,014 in 2016 to 495,056 in 2017(P). During 2018, arrivals through e-tourist visas increased 39.60 percent year-on-year to 2.37 million. During May 2019, arrivals through e-tourist visas increased by 21.70 percent year-on-year to 1.23 million. As of 2017-18, 81.1 million people are employed in the tourism sector in India which was 12.38 percent of total employment in the country. The Government of India has set a target of 20 million foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) by 2020 and double the foreign exchange earnings as well.
The past colonial ruled areas encourage the Britishers to visit the monuments and the British architecture in India. The forts and places of Rajasthan are famous all over the world. The Indian Himalayas and the sky kissing peaks and the Kashmir valley have no other place like in the world. The world\'s largest delta at Sundarbans and the great Indian plateau has its unique significance. The Mansarovar originated Indus has the shreds of evidence of the world\'s oldest civilization, The Harappan Civilization also known as Indus Valley Civilization. The country is full of ritual cultures, festivals, races, communities, regions which encourages people to visit here once. The majestic Himalayas, the serene backwaters, sparkling and magical ocean, the desert, the dancing river, or the alluring lagoons, all appeal to nature lovers. People come from far off countries to a new beautiful vision of the glory of nature to India. There are uncountable fortresses and palaces in India which are magnificent and were built with such precise knowledge of architecture in those ancient times. A Major number of tourists, whether domestic or international, practice religious tourism and visit temples and holy shrines situated far and near, in the mountains and in the sea, in the plains and in the deserts, to experience the art, architecture, culture, and rituals of the local communities.
Social media is a huge platform and the largest community in the world. People from different backgrounds can meet people from different corners of the world and build a personal or professional relationship. It is one of the largest contributors to the intangible tourism industry also called \"global village\". Social media has brought people together and gave them a platform to meet at a virtual place and can express their views and perspective, discuss globally prevalent topics, and also connect with people personally. Social media gives voice to an individual\'s thoughts and perspectives. It tends to be a global stage where one can put their ideas in front of potential viewers and engage with respective audiences. The information spreads faster through social media than any other means of communication. The greatest leader of the world expresses views on social media and addresses its audience through it. The accounts are officially handled by the professionals and are published under surveillance. These internet communities are a positive stimulus that impacts people on wider aspects. Various online communities, people-oriented forums, and online subscription websites have created a great platform for them, and hence, the use of manual forms of media such as television, newspapers, and radio is declining day by day. Internet is the cheapest mode of marketing single-handedly which indulges people into considering it as a necessity in today\'s world.
Social media is a great influencer in the tourism industry. It boosts and pumps up the will of the person to travel and explore places by reading blogs, watching vlogs, and amazing photography. The community creates a hub to meet different travel enthusiasts.\nSocial media can be classified into two types, first is the self-disclosure- the one where people simply hold the account for personal use and upload pictures of themselves or family and friends. It is a huge trend to post travel pictures and videos which has become a driving force to force people to travel. They also post articles on such platforms to let other people know about their travel expeditions. The audience is encouraged by the posts to travel to places to experience similar things. There is a huge amount of social media communities where people from different regions come across virtually and share their experiences through articles and blogs. As technology has leaped in a short period people are more interested in sharing their experiences through a short film, documentary, or popularly known as \"Vlogs\". It is easier for the target audience to gather enough knowledge about a place that is worth visiting and worth their time and money. Through such informative videos, people decide what to do at the place they are going to visit. People interact through these social networking sites and share all the details through which it is easier for even a solo traveler to visit a place on the information shared by the previous traveler. People review the places they visited, restaurants, hotels, bunkers, the food they ate during the stay, about the local people and culture, etc. so that future traveler could get the best place as per their needs and wants. Social media is a space where people have created their little world through visuals. An individual\'s traveling experience counts as an asset in today\'s world. Memories are the onl< thing a person would cherish once he/she would be of the age when he/she would not be able to travel anymore. At that time, he/she will share their gained experiences to future generations. People share their adventurous stories with people which later would encourage other people to visit that place. Experience is also now called as an asset. This whole phenomenon is then followed by feedbacks and comments by the viewers or audiences.
The other part of social media is media richness. As stated earlier, social media reaches the desired audience faster than traditional print media. Therefore, Marketers now use social networking platforms as it spreads the word rapidly. Social media can reach mass or specialized market segments in the desired period. There are different ways to market on social media. Media richness is a type of face-to-face communication than telephone or e-mail communications. The travel and tourism industry has optimally used the internet and reached its target customers helped in the flourishment of the industry. Social media has made a huge impact on the tourism industry. Consumers engage with social networking forums to research trips, make informed decisions about their travels, and share their personal experiences of a particular hotel, restaurant, or airlines. This has made online platforms the decision-maker for potential customers. For example- TripAdvisor, in particular, has had a wide-reaching effect on the industry. It has 50 million unique monthly visitors who are actively seeking out travel information and advice from the sources they trust the most: other tourists and holiday-makers. Such review generating and price comparing websites are proved to be authentic and more credible. Social media has impacted not only personally but also professionally. Its impact on the tourism industry is nothing short of paramount. As a customer service channel, social media cannot be ignored. People use these social networking sites before, during, and after they travel to interact with other people and share their experiences. The target market for your products and services will reach potential customers on time and provide you with real-time responses and feedbacks. Once a marketer develops a strategy on how to facilitate and share consumer\'s reviews and experiences they have reached the maximum engagement of their audience and future travelers.
Customer service and satisfaction have also been transformed as a result of social media. The vast majority of brands have a social media presence that is being used to become aware of and, when necessary, to provide help to unsatisfied or confused customers. That is how a travel stakeholder is in touch with its consumers before, during, and after they have traveled. Social media has led huge hotel properties, travel agencies, and other brands to engage with their past consumers and potential customers through it. Many of these brands organize prize-winning contests and sponsor people, mainly; social-media influencers, bloggers, and celebrities so that they visit and review their products/services with exciting offers which later in future would help them attract customers. Travel Agents working with or for young travelers should take note that today\'s generation prefers “experiences over materials.” So the idea of upselling them on flight upgrades and accommodation would not be as great as it sounds. Instead, consider offering them exclusive adventures guaranteed to create memories that would leave a mark and good-enough for an exquisite Instagram post. While travel agencies may struggle to remain relevant as self-booking options have increased gradually, their advantage is that many travelers still prefer the personal touch.
The emergence of social media has agitated traditional customer service models -for hotels and travel agencies alike. The Travel and tourism brands By curating positive reviews and encouraging social shares, hospitality brands can leverage social media to build positive brand awareness, increase brand loyalty, and display just how much their accommodations and activities have to offer. The travel and tourism industry can leverage social media to increase brand loyalty, build positive brand awareness, and display how much their products and services have to offer by encouraging social media shares, interaction, and engagement.