Places must decide on not only how many tourists they want and how to balance tourism with other industries or strategies but also what kind of tourists they want. The choices will be constrained, of course, by the place’s climate, natural topography and resources, history, culture and facilities. Like any other business, tourist marketers must know the actual and potential customers, their needs and wants, determine which target markets to serve, and decide on appropriate products, services, and programs to serve these markets. Once they have defined a target group they must strategically devise a communication mechanism which attracts that tourist in the most cost effective manner.
This study aims to look at Bihar as a tourism destination, understand its potential in light of its history, both cultural and political along with the way it is perceived by the world outside, especially the traveller. It aims to synchronize the objective of the state with regard to increasing tourist inflow and that of the demands of the contemporary traveler both domestic and foreign.
In that view research has been carried out to understand the factors that affect tourism growth on the demand and supply side. And with the help of that analysis recommendations for a communication strategy have been given.
Tourism is a major social phenomenon of the modern society with enormous economic implications. Its importance as an instrument for economic development and employment generation, particularly in remote and backward areas, has now been well recognized all over the world. It is also an important activity for cultural interaction, social uplift and environment conservation. Tourism is now one of the world’s largest industries and one of its fastest growing economic sectors.
Tourism may have a positive economic impact on the balance of payments, on employment, on gross income and production, but it may also have negative effects, particularly on the environment. Unplanned and uncontrolled tourism growth can result in such a deterioration of the environment that tourist growth can be compromised. . This is especially true with regard to tourism based on the natural environment as well as on historical-cultural heritage.
Thus new word which is being used very often these days is ‘sustainable tourism’. Sustainable tourism has three interconnected aspects: environmental, socio-cultural, and economic. Sustainability implies permanence, so sustainable tourism includes optimum use of resources, including biological diversity; minimization of ecological, cultural and social impacts; and maximization of benefits for conservation and local communities. It also refers to the management structures that are needed to achieve this.
The following lists down comprehensive benefits of tourism especially in India:
- Promotes national integration and social equity
- Helps survival of traditional art forms
- Promotes international understanding
- Nearly 8% of employment worldwide is tourism dependent
- The latest study by World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that the highest real growth of tourism demand worldwide at 9.4% will occur in India
- Comparison of the IT and Tourism sector worldwide
Size of Industry
IT: $500 billion Tourism: $4.6 trillion
IT 20 million jobs Tourism 250 million
Tourism and hospitality industry in India
India is known worldwide as ancient and mysterious civilization and the second most populated country of the world after China, with a population of one billion. With increasing worldwide tourism and travel for leisure, business and cultural purposes are on the rise, India attracts only 2.4 million visitors annually of the 600 million who travel. India can develop a sound policy to attract tourism and travel to generate jobs at the lowest cost of investment per job in this industry as well as promote sustainable development and cultural heritage, which has been so precious to India. India needs to shed its reluctance of encouraging tourism by affluent Westerners. Tourism, if properly planned and promoted can provide 20+ million jobs in next ten years and foreign exchange in excess of 30 billion dollars. What India needs is a firm policy and commitment to expand tourism as a source of sustainable economic development with value for the tourists and enhancement of India’s cultural heritage. (P, 2005)
Understanding the concept of ‘Destination’ Branding
Destination marketing involves using tourism as a means to an end rather than an end in itself for reasons including: improving the image of an area to attract industrialists; increasing the range of facilities and amenities available to the local community; giving local residents more pride in their local area; providing a rationale and funding for improvements to the local environment; and trying to make the destination politically more acceptable to outsiders. Thus we see that due to the multiple stakeholder nature of a destination, there lies a need for a concerted effort to achieve any goal set forth. This can be explained by the diagram below:
The Dynamic Wheel of Tourism Stakeholders
One of the key problems have been difficulties associated with marrying the objectives of profitability and sustainability, and co-ordinating the activities of the various stakeholders associated with a tourism destination.
Destination marketing should occur not only on the demand side to increase visitor numbers, but also on the supply side to market the destination to intermediaries and to increase the numbers of sellers through investment in accommodation, entertainment and infrastructure, etc.
The Requisites of a Successful Tourism Marketing Plan
The main competition is identified
Tourism trends are identified
A long-term orientation is adopted
The importance of competitiveness is recognized
The need for infrastructure improvements is highlighted
The need for integration with national/regional tourism plans is recognised
Residents ‘ attitudes to tourism are considered
Local cultures, values and lifestyles are considered
Wealth and job creation and quality of life for residents are primary aims
The issue of environmental problems is addressed
The issue of seasonality is addressed
The benefits of tourism to the destination is quantified (Cameron, 2008)
Destination identity and image
The need to develop brand identity is recognised
Brand associations are identified
The need for image development is recognised
Positioning is discussed
The need for coordination of industry promotional material is recognised
Recognition to ensuring the promises made in marketing communications are conveyed to visitors
New and innovative forms of communication channels are addressed
The need to improve branding and brand awareness is recognised
The importance of experiences to tourists as opposed to tangible propositions is recognised
National government agencies are involved in planning
Local government agencies were involved in planning
The area tourist board/area tourist office was involved in planning
Local residents were involved in planning
Local businesses were involved in planning
The need to improve communication between stakeholders (public, private and residents) is recognised
Leadership is addressed to give greater guidance to stakeholders.
Implementation, monitoring and review
The timescale for each task is included
The need for monitoring and review is established
The absence of a structured approach requires the study of destination marketing under theoretical lenses. Here a white paper which throws light on the existing theories which address the area has been studied. The crux of which is: As a consequence of globalization, the marketing of places has grown in importance as countries, regions and individual destinations compete with one another to attract investment and visitors. In order to compete effectively, it is essential to identify the critical success factors and ensure these are incorporated into one’s strategic planning. An extensive review of the literature covering place and destination marketing indicates that image and identity play an important role in differentiating between objectively similar alternatives. Accordingly, the branding of destinations has become of major importance and is analyzed in depth. (Halkier, 2008)
Place Branding A Case Study: Denmark
In order to observe a structured approach to Destination Branding the case study of Denmark has been reviewed. It proposes how theoretical models have been applied successfully in real life scenarios.
This paper examines the area of cross-sectoral branding where tourism is combined with other international economic activities in order to construct a common national umbrella brand. From a theoretical perspective the article contributes to the study of cross-sectoral place branding by developing a coherent analytical framework, drawing on recent contributions to the study of Other images and inter-organizational relations. On the basis of this, an empirical case study of the prospects for establishing a cross-sectoral umbrella brand is undertaken, focusing on Danish national tourism and inward investment promotion bodies. Having analyzed both the rationales behind and the image profiles of current branding efforts, it is concluded that while disagreement exists at the strategic level with regard to the potentials of umbrella branding, the differences between the current image profiles are of a more manageable character. In the case of Danish tourism and investment promotion, barriers to inter organizational cooperation, in other words, seem to be founded on unfavorable assumptions about potential alliance partners in view of own future aspirations rather than the present branding actions of the actors involved.
Bihar had once been the seat of the golden age of the Indian empire but now has shrivelled into one the most backward states of India. Some pockets in Bihar now exhibit one of the lowest living conditions the world over. Bihar post its bifurcation into two smaller states has lost most of its natural resources and the state has failed to catch the IT train which has left it with small scope of riding the ‘India Rising’ bus. The youth of Bihar are leaving its motherland and doing so the great state is losing its heritage. It is in the interest of not only the people of Bihar but also the nation to protect its cultural heritage.
An approach for Bihar can be based on the ‘Appreciation of Frames’ study by Schon wherein he demonstrates alternatives to approach in dealing with the housing problem within the social policy. One perspective frames slum areas as diseased, the other frames them as natural communities. When viewed as diseased, the problem becomes one of eradicating the diseases, with the implied solution of urban renewal and regeneration. This involves tearing down slums in order to stop the cycle of decay and relocating the inhabitants of the areas to newly planned and sanitized developments. In contrast, when viewed as natural communities the problem becomes one of dislocation. Natural communities should be preserved in order to maintain the beneficial outcomes of established patterns of interaction and informal networks which characterize them.
The Current State of Bihar
Negative Brand Equity
Change in local government
Renewed faith of residents of the state in the system
High rise in migration from the state
High worth of Non residents
Disparity in documented and actual state of tourist sites
Lack of any dedicated communication focused on tourism
Unorganized and fragmented efforts in maintenance of crafts and culture
Tourist activity concentrated in pockets (e.g. Buddhist Circuit)
The notion of Bihar
“When Delhi newspapers publish articles on Bihar’s disorders and atrocities, they tend to make a point of emphasizing the state’s ‘backwardness’…”
“The first ballot-rigging recorded in India took pl ace in Bihar (in 1962)… the first instance of criminals being awarded parliamentary seats also took place in Bihar (in 1980)”
– William Dalrymple in
Caste wars and At the court of the fish-eyed Goddess
The above quotes, summarize the general impression that the public holds about Bihar.
From Laloo Yadav to corruption to crime – This is one state that has perpetually been in the news, and for all the wrong reasons. In the days immediately prior to the fodder scam, the media had a field day reporting Laloo and his antics, people were quoted saying that “Laloo was the most entertaining item on television”. (Nambisan, 2000) The extensive reporting, in the last few years with the explosion of the news media, has played an significant role in shaping public opinion and view about Bihar, its culture, and its citizens. Laloo Yadav has, in a way, come to symbolize Bihar to the audiences. So, Bihar, to a ordinary citizen, is a state full of rowdy, dishonest politicians, and heavily accented, non-English speaking, primitive simpletons.
I am often told, in a manner of considerable disbelief, “But you don’t sound like a Bihari at all!” – Because it appears that all Biharis are supposed to talk in heavily accented, wrecked English.
Evolution of Bihar over the Ages
The history of Bihar can be effortlessly traced back into ancient times. Bihar appears in the earliest mythology and legends of ancient India , as far back as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Sita, the partner of Lord Rama, was a princess of Bihar. She was the daughter of King Janak of Videha. The present districts of Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Madhubani, and Darbhanga, in north-central Bihar, mark this ancient kingdom. It is in fact, known that the author of the Ramayana, Maharishi Valmiki, lived in Ancient Bihar. Not only Hinduism, but Jainism and Buddhism have roots in Bihar. It was in here that Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment, and it was in the modern town of Gaya that the religion of Buddhism was born. It is here also that Lord Mahavira, the initiator of another great religion, Jainism, was born and attained nirvana. That site is located at the current town of Pawapuri, south east of Patna, the Capital of Bihar. It was also in Bihar that the tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh was born and became a Guru. A beautiful Gurudwara (a temple for Sikhs) built to commemorate his memory – the Harmandir- is located in eastern Patna. Known reverently as the Patna Sahib, it is one of the five holiest places of devotion (Takhat) for Sikhs.
Kautilya, also known as Chanakya, the author of Arthashastra, the first discourse of the modern science of Economics, resided here. He was also the adviser to the Magadh king, Chandragupta Maurya.
Another Mauryan king, Samrat Ashok, around 270 B.C., was the first to formulate firm doctrine for the governance of a people. He had these doctrines, the so called Edicts of Ashok, inscribed on stone pillars which were installed across his empire. The pillars were crowned with the sculpture of one or more lions atop a pedestal which was inscribed with symbols of wheels. As the lion denoted might, the wheel denoted the never-ending nature of truth (dharma), hence the name Dharma Chakra. This of lions, atop a pedestal, with writing of a wheel, was adopted as the Official Seal of the independent Republic of India (1947). The dharma chakra was, also incorporated into the national flag of India, the Tricolor. (Biharinfoline, 2009)
In medieval period Bihar lost its stature as the political and cultural hub of India since the Mughal era was a period of national administration from Delhi. The only notable person of these period in Bihar was Sher Shah, or Sher Khan Sur, an Afghan. Based at Sasaram which is currently a town in the district of the similar name in central-western Bihar, this jagirdar of the Mughal Emperor Babur defeated Humayun, the son of Babur, not once but twice, first at Chausa and then, again, at Kannauj (in the present state of Uttar Pradesh or U.P.) In the course of his conquest Sher Shah became the monarch of a territory that extended till Punjab. He was not only a ferocious warrior but also a dignified administrator – in line with the tradition of Ashok and the Gupta kings. Numerous acts of land reforms are attributed to him. The remains of a grand crypt that he built for himself can be found at today’s Sasaram (Sher Shah’s maqbara.)
During British India, Bihar was a division of the Presidency of Bengal, and was managed from Calcutta. As such, this was a region very much dominated by the citizens of Bengal. All leading learning and medical hubs were in Bengal. Throughout the 20th century, Bihar saw a great deal of geographical division. When divided from the Bengal Presidency in 1912, Bihar and Orissa were a single province. (Kumar, 2007)At that time, an region in the south-east, primarily the district of Purulia, was separated and incorporated into West Bengal as part of the Linguistic Reorganization of Indian States. Yet another dissection of Bihar occurred in 2000, when after years of political hassle, the state of Jharkhand was carved out of the state of Bihar. The region of Jharkhand now includes southern districts of Bihar, and has the city of Ranchi as its capital.
The Politics of Bihar
Bihar played an significant role during the freedom resistance and it was from Bihar that Mahatma Gandhi started his civil-disobedience movement. It was at the unrelenting request of a cultivator, Raj Kumar Shukla, that Gandhiji visited Champaran, saw the sad predicament of the indigo farmers and the domination of the Biritsh. Many people from Bihar consequently became leading partakers in India’s struggle for freedom. The most distinguished was Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who went on to become Independent India’s first president. Another was Jay Prakash Narayan, also warmly called JP. JP’s considerable contribution to contemporary Indian history continued up until his demise in 1979. It was he who persistently and unwaveringly opposed the dictatorial rule of Indira Gandhi and her younger child, Sanjay Gandhi. Fearing people’s response to his opposition, Indira Gandhi had him detained on the eve of declaring nationwide Emergency beginning June 26, 1975. He was jailed in Tihar(near Delhi). The movement started by JP, nonetheless, brought the Emergency to an end, led to the colossal defeat of Indira Gandhi and her Congress Party at the elections, and, to the putting in place of a non-Congress government -The Janata Party – at Delhi, for the first time. With the approval of JP, Morarji Desai became the fourth Prime Minister of India. JP continued to be the Conscience of the Janata Party and of post-Gandhi – post-Nehru India. He called upon all Indians to work tirelessly towards removing “dictatorship in favour of democracy” and bringing about “independence from slavery”. Sadly, shortly after attaining power, internal strife among the leaders of the Janata Party led to the resignation of Shri Desai as the Prime Minister. JP persisted with his call for “total revolution”, but he succumbed to kidney failure in 1979.
Subsequent internal strife in the Janata Party led to the creation of a breakaway political party – the Janata Dal. It was also from this party that Laloo Prasad Yadav, the Chief Minister of Bihar was elected. A new party led by Mr. Yadav was shaped as – the Rashtriya Janata Dal – which went ruled for about 15 years in Bihar. The Janata Dal at first came to power in the state in 1990 on the support of its victory at the national stage in 1989. Laloo Prasad Yadav became the chief minister after winning the battle of legislative party leadership by a slim margin against Ram Sundar Das, a former chief minister from the Janata Party. Later, Laloo gained fame with the masses through a succession of populist measures. The honorable socialists, including Nitish Kumar, slowly left him and Laloo was the uncrowned king by 1995 as both Chief Minister as well as the President of his party, Rashtriya Janata Dal. He was a magnetic leader who had the people’s support and Bihar had got such a person as the chief minister after a long time. However, he derailed programs for the development of the state. When corruption charges got serious, he relinquished the post of CM but anointed his wife as the proxy CM. All through this period, law and order and management grew steadily poorer.
In 2005, as hostility reached a crescendo among the masses, middle class included, the RJD was voted out of control and Laloo Prasad lost the legislative elections to a coalition headed by his earlier partner and now rival Nitish Kumar.
Bihar – How much in the eye of the Beholder?
‘Bihar is in the eye of the beholder’ says Vijay Nambisan in his book of the same title. He attempts to paint a more positive portrait of Bihar at least in the opening chapters, attempting to be unlike those who trash everything about Bihar completely, and believe it beyond hope at any point. He states that Bihar is the richest among Indian states in terms of natural and mineral wealth, and only its political stat sets people thinking about it in a negative way.
However, as we read on, the state of Bihar and its citizens that Nambisan explains starts becoming similar to, more and more, the typecast that he was trying to shatter. It’s true that the tome is peppered with optimistic images, people and events, but overall, the picture that Nambisan paints is as dismal as any other. The stories and tales are mostly about corrupt politicians, gang lords getting the better of the community and the killings, extortions, and adversity that the ordinary man faces. In between, we have tales about devoted teachers overcoming caste discrimination, innovative women trying to make a living for themselves and their children, and intelligent young minds harassed against a system that otherwise fetters them. An entire section deals with the high occurrence of violence in the state and how it is taken as everyday phenomena – a scary situation.
Has Nambisan also fallen victim to the typecasting of Bihar? Or is the reality of Bihar so bleak that even the most optimistic picture that is painted of it shows more despair than hope?
“What is happening in Bihar is happening all over India. But Bihar is a microcosm of the whole; laboratory specimens, as it were, most easily brought under the microscope of analysis”. (Nambisan, 2000)
The rest of India has a propensity to become self virtuous and holier than thou, and look down upon Bihar and Biharis as a pollutant. Politicians shake their heads and mumble, journalists condemn the collapse of democracy and the general public remains contented with just shuddering at the mere mention of it. What people do not want to admit is that the ills that plague the state are festering everywhere, in varying degrees and different stages of development. Such is the inclination to look upon Bihar and Biharis as a expression of all that is bad, that there have been reported cases of people accommodation to Bihari students in cities like Delhi, simply because they were scared to have Biharis beneath the same roof, thinking no doubt about probable robbery, rape and murder. (palgrave-journals, 2008)
Previously, there were a little half hearted attempts to industrialize the state: an oil refinery in Barauni, a motor scooter factory at Fatuha, and a power generation unit at Muzaffarpur. However, no continued effort had been made in this way, and there was little achievement in its industrialization. Historically, sugar and vegetable oil were prosperous industries of Bihar. Until the mid fifties, 25% of India’s sugar production was from Bihar. Dalmianagar was a large agro – industrial region. However, these were required to shut down due to flawed central policy which negated the strategic advantages of Bihar.
Recently the dairy trade has picked up very well in Bihar. Sugar industry is another one which has started to improve with 25 new sugar factories committed in Bihar between 2006 and 2007. Since 2005, the state government has taken the major task of creating a business friendly environment and investment opportunities and leverages the resources there for all big and small industrial houses.
There was a partition of Bihar in 2000, when the industrially superior and mineral-rich southern-half of the state was carved out to outline the separate state of Jharkhand. Since then, the main economic activity of Bihar has been crop growing. The new Bihar state produces about 60% of the yield of the old Bihar state. There is a tendency now, amongst politicians, to hold responsible the separation of Jharkhand from Bihar as a reason for the majority of the problems surrounding the growth of the state.
Biharis and Non-Biharis: Perceptions and Opinions
Respondents were asked to name anything that came to their mind when they thought of the “Bihar”. The top of the mind recollection is the strongest connection that a person’s mind makes among two things and it was fascinating to see the diverse things, people or places that respondents linked with Bihar. The respondents were then additionaly probed on other stuff that they linked with Bihar, how the connection came about and why. Respondents in both cases were also asked about famous places or people that they associated with Bihar. This kind of factual information gave a few insights into how much authentic knowledge the respondent had regarding the state, and whether knowing more concerning Bihar, its history and culture changed the opinions and perceptions of the people at all. As was anticipated, people from Bihar possessed significantly more factual knowledge about Bihar. What was exciting was that though there were distinct disparity between Biharis and Non Biharis concerning perceptions about Bihar, there were still some expected threads.
As a youthful housewife from a small town in Bihar put it, “Jab tak rahega samose mein aaloo, tab tak rahega Bihar mein Laloo” . The line is a famous one, from a speech by the great politician himself. Almost all the respondents thought of Laloo Yadav first when asked to name celebrities linked with Bihar. In one case, a young university student of Delhi University was unable to think of any other renowned person or place that she knew of, from Bihar. Among Non Biharis, Laloo unquestionably enjoyed top of the mind recall, as every respondent, with no exception named him. Even amongst my Bihari respondents, a number of them reflected of Laloo Yadav as one of the eminent people associated with Bihar. An interesting incident that I observed here was that respondents from the younger age bracket could think only of Laloo when it came to associating eminent personalities with Bihar. Some of the older age bracket remembered Jai Prakash Narayan, even smaller number remembered Rajendra Prasad. Despite being the present Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar was not recollected as frequently as Laloo by the respondents. There was hardly any talk about of personalities from fields other than politics. One or two respondents recollected Prakash Jha for his films and the stand-up comedian Shekhar Suman, but it seemed that the lone people from Bihar that had achieved any fame at all were politicians. There was one interesting case where I interviewed an elderly lady, who had spent almost her whole life in Bihar, save for a period of few years in Delhi. She had no complicatedness naming famous personalities connected with Bihar, right from ancient times. She also had a authentic tourist guide’s list of the famous places of Bihar, for historical or cultural importance. This was in bare contrast to the younger age bracket, who knew moderately little of Bihar’s history, despite having lived there. This led me to consider that media had clearly played an extremely important role in formation of even the level of factual information that people possessed, apart from determining their opinions .Laloo Yadav yet again was the chief image that came to people’s minds when asked about their observation about Bihar. Though, the awareness of Bihar was not limited to just the image of Laloo. Having named Laloo as the foremost thing that came to mind on hearing “Bihar”, most of the respondents and interviewees went on to talk about the corruption and disorder that had become widespread in the state during his rule. (bstdc, 2009). The above quote from my interview with a lecturer in Ahmadabad summed up a what Non Biharis as well as Biharis felt about Bihar. The view is that the state has been devastated by dirty politics, and not allowed to build up in any fashion over the time, and the overpowering emotions were those of bleakness and sadness at the state of affairs. While talking of opinions and associations with Bihar, there was marked disparity between respondents from inside and outside Bihar. Almost all Biharis spoke affectionately of memories of their childhood and youth spent in Bihar, and had some sort of a sense of belonging to the place, which obviously came from having spent a long time in the state and having fond memories to look back upon. Even when they spoke of the ills that plague the state, the manner in which this was spoken about was one of sorrow that the situation had turned out to be so bad. In contrast, Non Biharis spoke in a manner that implied a sense of almost disgust from the state and the state of affairs there. A 2o year old college undergraduate from Delhi University summed it up when she said (bstdc, 2009) The same response, in not so many words, echoed across other interviews of Non Biharis.
Overall, the awareness of people about Bihar was related to Laloo. In one way or the other, roughly all respondents were of the view of Laloo while answering this inquiry. The biggest substantiation that suggested this came from an interview with a young college student from Ahmedabad, who spoke of Biharis as primitive, and speaking in a typical dialect. (Halkier, Contemplating Place Branding Umbrellas. The Case of Coordinated National Tourism andBusiness Promotion in Denmark, 2008)
Amongst all the states of the country, Bihar is in all probability the one that enjoys a distinctive history. It is here that religions followed the world over, Buddhism and Jainism were born, even as Hinduism flourished. It is here that an important advocate of a fourth religion – Guru Gobind Singh of the Sikhs was born. And it is here that the world’s first institution of higher education at Nalanda was established. And if all that is not sufficient, it was in Bihar that Gandhiji launched his Satyagraha movement in opposition to the British rule. (Cameron, 2008)
Bihar without doubt bears the profound weight of history, but bears it with much warmth and awareness. For both Buddhists and Jains, the land is sprinkled with monuments and sacred pilgrimage centers, while the Hindus have no fewer temples. However, it has not shied away from accepting the modern. The old learning centers continue in the structure of newer centers of excellence, the olden day trade hubs have paved way for the fresh economy and even newer technologies.
Bihar is a land sanctified with beauty both spiritual and physical. Its vast lands, fed by some of the country's most important rivers, have ensured prosperity. It has a rich traditions and legacy and its people are meticulous and fun loving.
Places of Interest:
It is located 25 kms from Patna and is famous for hosting the largest cattle fair in Asia. It is held in the month of November and people from across the country attend it to trade livestock.
The temple of Hariharnath which is located at the confluence of Gandak and Ganga attracts a lot of Hindu devotees.
It also is a city that is host to a large number of Agro based exhibitions
It is located at a distance of 125kms from Patna and has fantastic roads that connect it to the capital city
This is the birthplace of Buddhism as Buddha attained enlightenment here.
The Mahabodhi Temple is the Mecca for the Buddhists as it has the Peepal tree under which Buddha meditated.
It also has an Archaeological Museum , town houses and monasteries built by Buddhists across the globe
It is located at a distance of 90km from Patna
It is known to be the greatest centres of learning in the history of the nation and attracted scholars from many countries
The ruins of the University, the memorial built for Huen Tsang- the famous Buddhist scholar, the Sun Temple and the Nav Nalanda Vihar are of great historical significance
It is located at a distance of 55kms from Patna
It is named after King Visala from the Ramayana.
It is renowned to be the capital of the Lichchavis
Buddha delivered his last sermon here and attained Nirvana.
The 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, Lord Mahavira was born here
Other places of interest include the Jain and Buddhist structures like the Vishwa Shanti Stupa and the Ashokan pillars.
It is located 148kms from Patna
It is famous for the Sher Shah Suri mausoleum- the one who built the Grand Trunk Road that cuts across the country.
The mausoleum appears like a floating structure in a lake
It is located at a distance of 102km from Patna
It is an important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus.
It was the capital of Magadh before Pataliputra
It has hot springs, Swarna Gufa, Griddhakuta Parvat
It is located at a distance of 112km from Patna and is well connected
It is a famous pilgrimage destination
Vishnupad Temple is another famous temple built in the 18th century, that attracts a lot of people
SWOT Analysis - BIHAR
What are the influencing factors that divert or hinder the success of a tourism communication.
1) To understand the concept of ‘Destination Branding'
2) To determine the weight of the parameters that guide a tourism communication's success
3) To understand the potential of Bihar in the Tourism sector
4) To explore the perceptions of domestic tourists on Bihar
5) To explore the perceptions of foreign tourists on Bihar
6) Suggest branding initiatives for Bihar tourism
7) Suggest communication strategy for Bihar Tourism
* Marital Status
* Lifestyle and leisure activities
* Motivators for selecting a particular travel destination
Media Consumption and Attitudes
* Media consumption Habits
* Attitude towards various media
Perception of Bihar
* Awareness of the respondents about Bihar
Bearing in mind the objective of the study it was apparent that only multiple avenues would give the intensity and extent of information that would be essential for proposing a communication strategy. Hence the research would be totally of qualitative nature. The following grid gives abroad outline under which the research would be conducted. The idea of the entire exercise is to get perspectives from the various stakeholders in the industry.
The research was broken into two parts, the demand and the supply side. This was done to refine the results and to match both segments' perspective so that the recommendations are feasible and synchronous with factual realities.
On the Demand side both tourists and Biharis of the state were interviewed. The tourists consisted of a good mix of foreign as well as domestic individuals. The Biharis referred to here are both, those currently living in the state or those who have migrated to other states and even NRI's.
On the Supply side reachable officials of the tourism department of Bihar as well as an individual working in national tourism board were contacted. Further tour and travel operators operating in Delhi and Patna were interviewed.
Universe for the study:
20 years to 40 years
Have travelled outside their geographical region (visited India for foreign tourists/outside of state of residence for Indian tourist) for more than 15 days in the past 2 years.
Qualitative Sample Design
Biharis (NRB's and residents)
Therefore a total number of 30 In-depth Interviews
Tourist Officials and Tour Operators
Tour and travel Operators
Mr. Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Ex. Tourism Minister of Bihar, currently Minister of Public Health and Engineering)
Mrs. Sujata R Thakur (Regional Director- Western and Central Reigion, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India)
Ms. Deepti Singh (Executive Director, Nalanda Travels)
Mr. Saurabh Chauhan (Sales Executive, Raj travels)
Mr. S Anwar Ali (Travel Desk, The Maurya Hotel)
Mr. Abhinav Trivedi ( Cox and Kings, Delhi)
Demographic details of the tourists
Name, age, Income, Country of origin, Occupation etc.
Purpose of visit
People travelling with (Individual / Family / Friends / Charter group)
Past travel behavior (number and places visited).
Source of awareness
Attitudes towards different media and characteristics of information.
Effectiveness and efficiency of various media
(Primary and secondary)
Identifying, used and proposed, information contact points
Mapping their travel to locate innovative media options.
Understanding and mapping the information seeking process step-wise. (earlier visits also)
Awareness towards any present or past communication.
Attitude to communication (past and present).
From Tourism Officials
Existing models of tourism development
Impediments to growth
From Travel operators
Data Collection Techniques
- Email questionnaires
- In depth interviews
- Telephonic In depth Interviews
- Tourist Guides (e.g. Rough Guides, Lonely Planet, Incredible India Literature)
- Internet Databases (e.g. www.indiastat.com )
- Previous documented data on subjects of relevance
Data Collection and Analysis:
The interviews were video recorded and then transcribed. Key dialogues of the respondents were jotted during the on interviews transcripts and were content analyzed.
The study aims to provide insights about the different stakeholders in Bihar Tourism Industry. It aims to keeping the above in mind recommend actions that will multiply the gains of the tourism industry. It will help the marketers of the tourism department of Bihar to understand the motivators of tourist activity and how they can apply them to their benefit. It suggests brand building initiatives from on ground activities to communication ideas in that regard.
It aims to understand the perception that potential tourists hold of the state of Bihar and tries to decipher the reason for the same.
Lastly, the study will help improve my knowledge of the psyche of the tourist and identify gaps and opportunities to tap in these times of economic resurgence in the state.
Limitations of the Research
Research Guidelines: Demand Side (Tourists)
1) Demographic details of the tourists
d) Marital Status
e) Do you have ownership of any of the following durables (AC, LCD/Plasma, FL Washing Machine, High End Cell Phone)
2) What do you do in your leisure time?
3) How dou you decide about a potential vacation spot?
4) What are the influencing factors that affect your choice? (cost of travel, group, itinerary, safety, infrastructure, glamour, nostalgia, history, entertainment)
5) Purpose of travel (business, leisure, family, religious, etc.)
6) People travelling with ( family, alone, friends, charter group, spouse)
7) Past travelling behavior (no. of days and locations)
8) Probe on reason why each particular place was chosen ( create similar circumstances for Bihar and check desired action)
9) Sources of awareness for tourist destinations
10) Recall of tourist brands and attitude/reaction towards the same
11) Check recall rate of different campaigns
12) What is roughly the process you follow when planning a trip? ( From data collection to activities post return)
13) How much time per week to you spend on the following:
f) Shopping (Mall)
g) Cinema (Multiplex)
14) Attitudes towards different media and characteristics of information
* .On a grade of 1 to 5 (1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree)
g) Customer orientation
What are your opinions on destination branding?
What is opinion of Bihar? What is it as a tourist destination? Have you visited Bihar?
Do you recollect and communication for Bihar Tourism?
Use some words that you would associate with a ‘Happy Holiday'
Content Analysis Sheet
Demographics and Psychographics
Country of Origin
Sports, Travelling, Movies, Music
Movies, Sports, Clubbing, Music
Travelling, Reading, Eating Out
Past Travel Behavior
Goa, Manali, Udaipur, Diu, Kutch
Rishikesh, Balaji, Delhi, Mumbai
Goa, Rajasthan, Agra, Pune, Pondicherry
Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Goa, Kerela, Rajasthan
“overnight hai” “booze is cheap”
“one of a kind”
“har saal jaatein hain”
“my daughter is working there”
“it's the home of trance”
“my friends live there”
“read about it at school”
“everyone who comes to India goes to Jaipur”
Purpose of Travel
“get out of the daily grind”, hometown, project work,
Business, “break zaroori hai”
“to relax”, “to discover India”
“once in a lifetime”
Motivators for travel
Sources of Awareness
Internet, blogs, “people who have already been there”, travel books, films,
Circle of friends/co-workers, tour operators, magazines
Internet, Local tour guides (Routard- French), travel blogs, inflight magazines
Internet, Tour operator, Hotel travel desk, Guides, Friends
How do you decide about a particular vacation spot?
Media, articles, internet, WOM, flickr,
Influencing factors for choice of destination
Friends, USP, weather, cost of travel, proximity to residence, company, seasonality, beauty
Friends and family, mix in itinerary, time cost
Cost of travel, Safety, weather, cultural value, avenues for entertainment
Safety, weather, cultural value, unique experience, away from the city, shopping
People travelling with
Spouse, Family, alone, Business partners
Alone, exchange students, Indian friends,
Tour group, Spouse, Friends, family
Opinions on Destination Branding
“it is a must”, “bullshit”, “required to raise awareness”
“but a lot of less glamorous but important locations suffer”
“for the younger people”, “nice trend”
“customer acquisition”, “selling dreams”
“tells you the places you can go to”
“shows you what you are missing out on”
“repeatedly seeing the campaign brings in memory”
“informative and nicely presented”
“tells you what a place stands for”
Campaigns Recollected distinctly
Malaysia , Madhya Pradesh
Dubai Shopping Festival, Uniquely Singapore
Greece, Ireland, Sydney, South Africa
Australia, South Africa, Ireland
What have been the touch points?
TVC, Magazines, Newspapers, Airports,
TVC, Govt. Guest Houses,
Events, Airports, In-flight magazines, Tourist Offices, Embassies,
Tour Operators, Internet, In-flight magazines
What is your opinion of Bihar as a tourist destination?
“Must for Buddhists”
“I'm not interested”
“Why would you want to go there”
“woh ghoomeny ki jaeh thodi hai”
“Historically very rich”
Most respondents were unaware of the region
All respondents were unaware of the region
What would motivate/demotivate you to go there?
“nothing worth visiting”
“there is so much crime”
“wish to see if the place is as bad as they say”
Proximity to a place plays a huge role.
booze is cheap
Some places create their USP on price only e.g. Diu has created a niche for alcohol consumers which is available very cheap.
one of a kind
The uniqueness of a place like Kutch(white sand beaches) draws people there.
Entertainment options are a huge draw, especially with the young.
The crowd that goes to a particular place in itself draws further more people e.g. Pushkar, the foreign tourists draw a lot of Indian tourists simply because of their presence. The same can be said about Goa.
get out of the daily grind
A lot of people take vacation to distress and are looking to get away from the noise.
Migrants travel more than once a year to their home town.
Academic and professional dealing take people to places. In some cases it is the place itself that draws the researcher to the subject.
The young people today consider disco, bars and pubs as major motivators for holidays.
must for Buddhists
While religious circuits draw a particular target group they also demotivate some.
people who have already been there
Past travelers are a major sourcs of information gathering.
Why would you want to go there
Bihar is considered backward and unfashionable.
nothing worth visiting
People are unaware of the heritage of Bihar and its other offerings.
there is so much crime
Crime rates and their coverage in newspapers are a major hindrance to positive perception. Respondents equated Bihar with tourism.
wish to see if the place is as bad as they say
The two respondents did not believe that the state in Bihar to be as bad as the media meant it to be.
har saal jaatein hain
Religious place are yearly must visits for some.
my daughter is working there
Due to the boom in the economy, a lot of people have moved away from home which has given rise to a new type of tourist who goes to meet his/her family members.
Business visits also form a huge part of interstate travel.
break zaroori hai
Today vacations are considered a necessity.
for the younger people
Branding initiatives are considered aimed at younger people who are more likely to fall prey to such marketing tactics.
woh ghoomeny ki jaeh thodi hai
Bihar is not considered as a place to go for vacationing.
Historically very rich
People in this age group seem to be more aware of the heritage of Bihar.
it's the home of trance
Goa is very popular internationally among the youth as the birthplace for a particular form of electronic music.
my friends live there
Foreign nationals often visit places in India while staying with expat friends, relatives of theirs.
read about it at school
Towns like Pondicherry which have been colonies previously attract tourists from those countries.
Branding seems to be an international phenomena in tourism and marketing people instantly catch it.
Tourism brand campaigns according to some respondents is a way of luring people to places by showing them the best of places.
Some respondents felt cheated by these campaigns as a lot of places don't end up being as pretty as they are portrayed to be.
tells you the places you can go to
Source of information
shows you what you are missing out on” “Buddha's enlightenment
One respondent being Buddhist new about Bodh Gaya.
The Taj still remains one of the endearing icons of India and draws its fair share of attention.
Peace and tranquility is surprisingly one of the reasons people come to India while most agree it is the colorful nature and hustle bustle of India that they never forget.
Everyone who comes to India goes to Jaipur
Jaipur fairs on almost everybody's list of places to visit in India and the fact that it is close to Delhi add to its advantage.
Yoga is another major drawer of tourists to India.
To discover India
India still attracts a fair number of tourists due to its image as a land of mysterious cultures.
Once in a lifetime
Respondents considered it to be a must visit place in a lifetime.
Repeatedly seeing the campaign brings it in memory
Tourists admit that repeat telecast of such campaigns puts at the top of their minds.
Informative and nicely presented
Tourism brand communications are found to be informative and appealing.
Tells you what a place stands for
It makes decision making simpler.
Media Consumption (Habits and Attitudes)
Television has lost its top slot of among media as the most used medium, although likability and entertainment factors remain highest. Being short in time frame gives it little time to make information available and hence it scores low on that count. Credibility has also diminished as more and more consumers have begun to rely on internet. Being a mixture of both voice and moving images comprehension of campaign remains very high, even for non-literates and this helps it cut across regional language barriers.
Print and Outdoor
This medium scores highest on comprehension. Customer orientation and credibility remain average as only a facet of the entire product. With departments employing top notch photographers and agencies likability is considerably high while the one-dimensional nature of the media makes it satisfactorily entertaining.
There has been a distinct demise in the consumption of this media. Consumers find advertising on this medium irritating as it hardly serves any purpose. Respondents said that the medium was completely ineffective in the tourism sphere.
Internet and Social Media
This has emerged out to be as one the biggest trends in the media consumption sphere. As a means for information sourcing, keeping in touch with one's social circle the internet is the place where the consumer seems to be at. It brings the best of form (audio/video/text) and economy to one space. The respondents considered the mediums to be most credible, entertaining, customer friendly and informative.
Apart from the fact that tourism departments are present online it helps greatly that so is the customer. Thus it gives them both the opportunity to engage, interact and also transact.
Word of Mouth
It is the oldest and yet it retains the weight that it has carried for so long among the influencers for decision making. The fact that it cannot be bought lends to it the credibility it carries. The human touch inherent to it takes care of likability and orientation. The two way dialogue nature of word of mouth makes sure information is relevant and comprehended.
After having in depth interviews with high level administration of the tourist department as well as tour operators who together form the supply of tourism products to the travelers a number of facts came to light. In view of them the interviewees were asked about what in their opinion were the solutions for the steps and what the government was doing in their regard.
As it is known a communication strategy without on ground work means shooting one one's foot. Following are w combination on inferences and recommendations concerning the supply side.
Inferences and Recommendations:
Role of State Government:
The Govt. of Bihar should identify itself as a promoter, facilitator and provider of infrastructure which will basically make it a catalyst for the sector. Based on its master plan PPP ventures shall setup to investment in the sector.
The govt. should be at the head of formulation of plans and policies. For the maintenance of law and order the govt. should promise to deploy a special tourist police force. It should maintain the quality of tourism products and services by enacting suitable laws for tourism and its development.
Timely execution of policies, qualitative improvement and up gradation of comprehensive master plan of the state with a focus on regional, sub-regional areas and tourist circuits etc.
This should be done with the external assistance (as has been the case with the Govt. of Japan). The Central government shall be asked to lend support for the execution of the state's master plan. The private sector will be wooed in for investment in the tourism development sector and and also the creation of infrastructure.
Keeping in view the great potential of tourism industry in Bihar, the creation of basic infrastructure for the same is imperative. Important ingredients for infrastructural development are-- accommodation for bigger number of tourists, construction of highways on traveller circuits, global level airports with full aviation back up and facilities, local transport, rail route connecting tourist spots with full facilities, the vital cable links, nonstop quality electricity supply and other vital amenities.
Religious circuits are to be developed with special work procedures to promote religious tourism, the religious circuits attractive with appropriate tour packages and amenities. Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sufi, Gandhi and Eco tourism have to find deep expression in development of tourist sites and locations.
The state administration and the private sector shall add their contributions in growth of tourism with the state performing the role of a multiplier agent in a few sectors. The state will attempt to promote industry participation in infrastructural improvement for the tourism business.
Efforts should be made to merge external, central assistance and state's resources with private investments to achieve the set goals as under the Master Plan 2020.
The state government should organize an area-based Master Plan for developing infrastructure as required for the respective spots and regions. Potential of the tourist destinations should be outlined in developing the tourism sector as per the Master Plan. The Master Plan should outline the investment plan segment wise (area wise) for synchronized tourism development. The investment plan should be further divided into yearly action plans to achieve the growth targets as per the preset goals under the Master Plan. New sites and locations to be brought under purview of tourism development are:
- water tourism
- health tourism,
- Ayurvedic medicine
- Haats (Crafts Village)
Tourism involves numerous activities with participation of numerous agencies. Efforts should be made to harmonize the agencies partake in the tourism development venture by evolving appropriate administrative mechanism.
Accommodation is critical factor of tourism as it involves catering to different categories of tourists' expenditure limits which may range from quite low to very high. This makes assembling for differentiated accommodations from economy class in large halls and dorms to premium hotels and resorts. Such essential accommodations in different tourist destinations should need to be increased.
The state should attempt to promote private investments in hospitality and wellness industry on a foremost scale while keeping its investments in areas where private industry is lagging in its attempts to enter.
The state government should encourage founding of Heritage Hotels in Bihar by recognizing heritage buildings and then converting them into luxury and semi-luxury hotels to provide quality and experiential accommodation. This should protect the valuable heritage buildings and mansions from obsolescence.
Way side facility (Hospitality Resource Creation on Highways):
Highway side facilities are an important part of tourism and especially Indian tourism where a lot of tourism happens through roads. Comfortable rest houses fixed with basic amenities on highways, next to the fuel petrol pumps, should be created with PPP investments.
In view of the limitations in availability of land for development of tourism infrastructure the division of tourism should together with revenue department and the local administration ease the rules and regulations for land allocation
Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation:
BSTDC plays an significant role in progress of tourism. It is at present involved in providing tour planning. It has the online bookings which need to be bettered. Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation, monitored by the tourism department, should act as the intermediary to the state and manage the operations. The tourism department should inturn handle the flow and progress of private operations in the segment.
Investment in Core Structure of Tourism:
Investments accessible through monetary institutions should be promoted and encouraged so that the public know of their presence and private investment can be mad a more viable opportunity. Proposals should be sent to the Tourism Financial Corporation of India for outlay in tourism.
A special cell to facilitate loans and the requisite guidance to the entrepreneurs interested in the tourism sector.
Joint Investment with Private Sector:
Private sector should be invited by the govt. to partake joint ventures to develop many significant places whose tourism latent potential is yet to be tapped. The state government should outline the set of laws for such joint ventures.
With road transportation being the most important means of travel for the majority of tourists, the creation of roads, their proper preservation and accessibility of vehicles for the tourists should be given precedence. Besides, wrapping of tour plan on the inter-state and intra-state bus routes connecting the tourism spots and organization among tour operators in this view should be done with an attentive approach. The state government should attempt to provide smaller planes and helicopter facilities to the high net worth tourists. On the basis of demand formation the state government should link the important places that are on the list of such passengers.
Fair and Festivals:
Keeping in with the custom of putting up cultural, business and religious fairs and festivals, the state government should incorporate these to tourism. For this the tourism department should identify the potential tourist areas where fair and festivals form the part of cultural being and build up such sites for a packaged tours aimed directly at such events.
Tourist information centers of the state government should be updated and equipped with the modern systems like computers, database management system. Personnel manning such centers should be proficient in fax, internet, email etc. This should provide abundant of information regarding tourist places, hotel and transport facilities, etc.
Handicraft and Cottage Industry:
Tourism development is connected with the development of handicraft and cottage trade. The state government should utilize this potential. The establishment of Shilp Grams (Craft villages), handicrafts market near tourist places should create secondary touch points as well as bring in additional revenue..
Wildlife tourism has a lot of prospective to attracting domestic and foreign visitors. In order to encourage wildlife tourism the state should protect and develop wildlife sanctuaries. Resorts like the Chitwan in Nepal and Wild Lay in Yellowstone need to used as foundation to model new projects in India.
The government should train and select people and provide them with licenses that will brand them as official guides. They should be well behaved, educated and trained with good manners, good communication skills. A resourceful, practical guide with a skillful approach in relaying the contents of tourist spots has to play a essential role in promotion of tourism. The state government should be looking forward to select such guides to brand a distinctive fashion of tourism to put Bihar on global map of tourist destinations.
While developing tourism to draw foreign tourists the significance of domestic tourists must not be forgotten. Domestic tourists are plentiful in the country travelling to tourism destinations and religious places in different states all over the country. Specific measure are to be made to attract the domestic tourists to Bihar and to facilitate their influx with accommodations and other requirements.
Co-operation with other tourism boards:
There has to be coordination with tourism boards of the nearby states to tap the potential of tourism within the entire region. Efficient organization in utilizing the tourism inputs of these states and avenues developed for inter-state movement of tourists should be the characteristic of inter regional tourism
Development of Light and Sound System:
The success of light and sound shows has been proved across the country as their appeal cuts through age, literacy and other such barriers. Effective systems should be installed and proper care in their maintenance shall enrich any visit.
Development of Aqua Tourism:
With as enormous expanse of natural water in the form of rivers coming from the Himalayas (the sacred Ganga river and a wide Son river), Bihar has a wide scope for increasing aqua tourism and water sports. These invite a different kind of target group and they will extend the visit time of travelers and also add variety to the portfolio of the tourism board.
20 years Master Plan:
The department has prepared 20 years Master Plan with a future projection for growth of tourism in the state. The Master Plan is to envision an assortment of tourist sites in all the districts of the state for their growth. Some of the key points of the plan are as follows:
“The state should entail construction of suitable accommodation for the pilgrims at the respective religious destinations.
Arrangements of safe journey and accommodation for the non-resident tourists.
Tourism Council should be constituted under the aegis of respective district administrations under the DMs.
Specialised education-cum-training for human resource development related to tourism should form an essential component of tourism development.
Acceptance of suggestions from different religious communities should be made for their inclusion in the plan for development of tourism.
The objectives are to construct multi cultural complexes, involvement of local population in tourism industry, exposition of folk art forms and culture to create awareness among people in order to develop tourism. People's participation in tourism development using educative materials and other tools is to be encouraged.” (MasterPlan 2020, 2009)
Conservation of Historical and Cultural Heritages:
The government should make sure heartening private sector participation in preservation of historical and cultural heritages with an endeavor to promote tourism. For this cooperation of the departments of archaeology, trusts, municipal departments. Besides, NGOs can also included in some of the fields. A technical team made up of historians, engineers and archaeologists.
Awareness of Tourism:
Tourism provides economic dimensions to the development of the state. Keeping this in mind seminars, quiz competitions, drawing competitions, exhibitions and display of films on tourism are to be planned. Educational tourism at school and college stage should be encouraged for which tours of the students should be specially made. Emphasis should be on tourism and hospitality management institutes to involve youths in tourism.
In the quest of tourism growth popular cuisines of international and local standard have an significant role to play. Bihar prides itself for a variety of recipes and fruits that give a distinctive character to Bihar. Culinary delights such as Khaja, Lai, Belgrami, Litti-chokha, pickles, sauces, papad, sattu, and Makhana lend indigenous uniqueness to the state. Fruits like mango, litchi, and banana are obtainable in great quantity with their qualities that are unique to the land.
Staff allied to tourism should be given appropriate training to ensure care and comfort of the tourists.
In the years to come the rural tourism will begin to play an important role in the tourism scenario. As a bulk of people reside in villages in Bihar the relating of the villages to tourism development will persuade the tourists to have the benefit of the country life. A move in this course should produce rural employment associated to tourism. The sector should take all possible measures to encourage rural tourism which will add a new dimension to the travel itinerary of the tourist.
The people of Bihari origin from across the world and in other parts of the country should be extended the opportunity under a special scheme to contribute their mite in development of tourism in the state. A standardized brand of Bihar tourism has to be popularized at national and international levels.
The major advantage that any communication can provide would be to create awareness for a particular destination. Therefore understanding the role of communication can be made better by understanding the AIDA model. Below is a diagrammatic representation of the same.
The AIDA Model of communication
MEDIA STRATEGY FOR BIHAR TOURISM
From our primary as secondary research, it is evident that for the tourists the main sources of information are based on their credibility for action are as follows:
- Past travellers
- Internet (travel sites, blogs, social media)
- Travel agents and Tour Operators
- Books (travel guides/magazines)
It was also found that the action generated by communication through traditional mediums like
TV and Print are relatively low. Less than 10% of the respondents actually recollected any communication with regard to tourism.
This can also be due to the low expenditure by the respective tourist departments in this segment for example it has been found during research that the marketing spend of India as a whole is 1/10th of Singapore Tourism Boards'.
The advertising spends of Bihar tourism is just a meager fraction of India's. Keeping these ground realities in mind, it becomes very apparent that Bihar in no way can afford to spend huge sums of money on the traditional mediums that are T.V. and Print.
With the aforesaid three points in view, we need to put together a media strategy for Bihar.
Let us look at this strategy in the format of how a media strategy is designed. The strategy devised will be in the form of answers to the four questions that are:
Also we require keeping in perspective the communication and media objective, which we have derived from our primary and secondary research
- To create interest and curiosity
- Build a suitable Image for Bihar Tourism
Media objective: To set out messages through innovative and cost effective media options to fulfill the aforementioned communication objective.
Who should we target?
The target audience has been divided into five broad segments
1. The foreign tourist already in India
2. The potential foreign tourist
3. The potential domestic tourist
4. Non Resident Biharis
5. People from whom information is sought
Travel experts and Travel agents
The first target group is very obvious as he is the most valuable customer in terms of monetary value and increase appeal even to domestic tourist. The simple reason behind the second and third TG's is that the second group is information seeker regarding tourism in general and at that stage Bihar should come in their deliberation set. The fourth group is the most reliable and credible source and they are spread not only across the country but also across the globe. Biharis who have settled abroad have definitely done well for themselves and they are also potential targets as an investment source. The last target group is those from whom information is sought and to be in their good books is vital for the success of tourism in Bihar.
Where and when should we target them?
To get the most out of marketing spends on enhancing our reach we then have to look at innovative and most cost efficient options. The point where these groups will be targeted will also depend on the decision-making time period of the travelers.
The state tourism department has a tight publicity budget compared to $100 million for Singapore and even when compared to those of some other states as the state has more urgent areas to look to. This sort of money, by any means of imagination, is inadequate to create any real effect on the tourism inflow.
The financial constraint itself answers the question of where. It will be very complicated to target More than one place at a time considering the restricted amount of money at hand.
Therefore, instead of trying to be there everywhere; it makes more sense to communicate at a few places with a greater impact. This would result in maximized returns on market spend and will also ease the measurement of effectiveness of communication.
In a class like tourism, inconsistency between communication and the real product
offering can have perilous implications. On observing the information seeking procedures followed by a foreign tourist fora foreign tourist (esp. for India), we realized all of them get in touch with people who have previously been there. So if these past travelers had a satisfactory experience, they would most certainly spread the first-rate and positive feedback for the place when the approached by prospective tourists.
But in case, these past travelers spread negative word, no amount or quality of communication would be of any help.
Another notable point to target only few places is that we will be able to check the effect of our communication approach. If the quantity of tourist arrivals from that touch point shoot up then we can assume that the current strategy has worked, else it warrants working upon. Testing and experimentation are crucial to reaching the optimum and ideal communication mix.
How do we target them?
The methods of targeting the different segments will be different, so we shall look at them one by one.
Foreign tourist already present in India:
This segment is very significant for Bihar tourism. This is a tourist who's already in India and what we require of him is to spend some of his time in Bihar.
These tourists will then go back and spread word about Bihar and correct any wrong notion that may be around. To target this segment, we must to be there at places that the tourist comes first in contact with. Most foreign tourists normally land at Delhi or Mumbai airports before venturing anywhere else. At the airport there are tourism department offices where
Bihar tourism needs to be visually present and back it with brochures to provide information and data of relevance. The airport is the point of first contact and hence the place is a gem in terms of touch points. Attractive and innovative engagement here will leave a mark on our target.
Apart from this, the places where the communication needs to be present are:
- Bus stands
- Hotels and other places of accommodation
- Tourist spots
- Other tourism offices
- Clubs related to any form of tourist activity (youth hostels)
The potential foreign and domestic tourist:
In this section what we need to do is to build interest and to construct a positive image about Bihar as a tourist target. We need to be present at the touch points from which these travelers seek information. The media, which we require to target then are:
- Travel shows
- Travel books.
The Internet has emerged as powerful tool in the new age not just as a source of information but also as a medium of marketing. As internet penetration and consumption are on the rise they provide unparalleled reach at cost effective prices. Thus it has been evaluated separately.
Documentaries, travel shows and movies: what Bihar needs to do is to request filmmakers and documentary makers like NGC, TLC to come and shoot in and about Bihar. This kind of exposure is more credible and better received by travelers. As it increases awareness and also increases the aspirational value of the destination. Most shows package cities beautifully and give real experiences which help the potential traveler a vicarious pleasure. Gandhi for example became a blockbuster worldwide which led to tourist inflow to nearly double. The same can be said for New Zealand which benefited tremendously from movies like Lord of the Rings and Kaho Na Pyaar Hai. So if the government can induce film makers to come and make films in Bihar, then a lot of people will hear about the place and want to visit provided the film does well at the box office.
Travel books and guides: In this case travel authors of reputation, for example people who write
for Lonely Planet, should be formally invited to Bihar. Then they should be given a proper tour of Bihar by which they will come to know of the range of sites and activities of tourist interest.
The next group of people are the nonresident Bihari both those living outside of Bihar but in India as well as those who are living abroad. This can be done by organizing Pravasi Bihari Summits. These not only entrench the feeling of belonging but also throw up good opportunities to engage them in matters of investment, etc.: There is a sizable portion of Biharis present in the NRI population. People scheduling to take a trip to India often seek advice from these people. If this group does not give a positive recommendation of visiting Bihar then no matter how well-built the communication, the travelers will leave out Bihar from their Indian itinerary.
The last segment which needs to be targeted is the people from whom information is sought
- Travel experts and Travel Operators
Travel experts and travel operators need to be engaged with the Bihar tourism board in the following ways:
1. By organizing events especially for tour operators in Bihar in which all chief operators will be invited. Once they are here, they have to be shown to the true potential of Bihar as a tourist destination. These people are the ones who if go back pleased will get us more touristsas they play a major role in influencing these people.
2. By handing out to these operators' unique materials like calendars, promotional material, posters etc. which then can assist in creating an encouraging image for Bihar.
The Internet can be engaged as a powerful means to communicate the desired point. It gives an opportunity, which was not available earlier, to the state for promoting itself on a truly global platform.
In order to be truly a global destination the state should present the information in the website in different languages which will make it reachable to a larger group of people. What can be done is that a colorful and vibrant site of Bihar tourism be put up which will give all necessary information about the places to visit, where to stay, where to eat, shop, etc. Government recognized guides and tour operators can also be linked. The site should have professionally shot audio/video clips to enhance the visitors experience. To make the site further more engaging the linkages to popular blogs and photo sharing sites can be made so that that site keeps getting updated and concerns, queries and recommendations can be given a platform to be voiced.
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