Afghanistan War, and the attack on Indian Parliament), when the need for a strong
national tourism policy was felt.
In recent times, India has experienced rapid development in terms of economic
growth and technology modernisation (making it one of the four developing countries
that are believed to have promising emerging markets BRIC countries). However,
poverty and social inequalities are still largely present, and the country represents
the perfect example of the modernisation divide, with those who are experiencing
better living standards, and those who still struggle with basic needs (Hannam &
Diekmann, 2011). When examining `Incredible India', it is clear that India's modern
landscape has been left out in the visual images of the campaign. Instead, the
country has been depicted as the "world's oldest civilisation", with exotic and
colourful pictures showing its cultural and geographical diversity (Khanna, 2011).
On the one hand, the campaign successfully established India as an exclusive
destination, and created a connection with an idea of wonderment, as Hannam and
Diekmann argued (2011). Moreover, it helped to change the Western perception of
India from a country with poverty and health and security issues towards an
optimistic idea of an emerging tourism destination (Bandyopadhyay & Morais, 2005).
In 2002, India's position in FutureBrand
's Country Brand Index was 29 out of a total
of 45 countries. By 2006, India was amongst the top 10 country brands (Kant, 2009).
The IIC is also seen responsible for other positive changes, namely the rise in
foreign exchange earnings and the increase in foreign tourist arrivals (Kant, 2009).
On the other hand, the campaign has also been criticised, regardless its success in
generating awareness in the Western countries of India as a tourism destination.
Bandyopadhyay and Morais' (2005) asserted that the Indian government sought to
mystify the destination as if it were devoid of problems. Similarly, Geary (2013)
argues that the IIC uses imaginative portraits of the country while masking regions of
socio-political conflicts and problems such as the high level poverty in the country, or
health and security issues.
`FutureBrand' yearly measures and ranks perceptions of countries around the world - from their cultures, to
their industries, to their economic vitality and public policy initiatives and presents a `Country Brand Index'
In their study, Kerrigan and colleagues interviewed respondents regarding the
projection of India as a nation in the IIC (2012). Across the interview, participants
said that the visual images used by `Incredible India' failed to take into account the
multiple realities of India and its increasingly modern landscape. In some cases, the
images were described as stereotypical and unrealistic. This is comparable with
Jensen's (2007) claim that branding is `selective story-telling'. This implies that only a
destination's positive aspects are portrayed, while the negative aspects are ignored.
Moreover, Singh et al. (2012) maintain that the centralised campaign lacks in clarity.
It promotes a great variety of tourism products (natural beauty, spirituality, heritage,
culture, etc.) but fails to include specific tourist information (e.g. about the individual
states or cities where the tourism products can be found). Branding also lacks a
focused message for the specific target markets (Ahuja, 2014). Lastly, although the
number of international tourist arrivals experienced an encouraging growth, this trend
is not promising when compared with countries such as Thailand or Malaysia (Singh
et al., 2012)
, and the Ministry of Tourism has not been able to meet its own-set
yearly targets in tourist arrivals (Khan, 2013).
To sum up, the essay has dealt with the challenges of branding such a vast and
diverse country like India. The "Incredible !ndia campaign" received global media
coverage and resulted in an acceleration in tourism performance since its beginning.
Although it can be argued that the IIC was successful in establishing India as a
premium destination, the campaign has also been criticised under several aspects,
perhaps the most important of them being its selective story-telling through
In 2011, 6.29 million foreign tourists visited India, 15 million visited Thailand and 24 million visited Malaysia
(Singh et al., 2012).
Excerpt out of 4 pages
- Quote paper
- Laura Gorlero (Author), 2016, Challenges of developing brand India, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/387542