Tourist Program: Sustainable Development of the Spiritual Model for Tirupati, the religious center of India

Executive Summary

The achieving the main goal of Sustainable Development of Spiritual Model for Tirupati region, the project is aimed at assisting the religious heritage tourism sector, mainly medium-sized tourism businesses and stakeholders, in developing favorable social, economic, and environmental benefits based on the natural and cultural setting of the South India.

The project’s objective is to collect resources, incentives, and tools that will be used by local tourism enterprises. In addition, tourism project seeks to solve the problem of site management and retain the world heritage site values and mitigate possible site threats.

In the course of project, several general principles for sustainable cultural heritage have been created from existing principle of cultural heritage preservation. Based on those principles, three lines of strategies have been presented for the local tourism businesses. Important statistics and financial reports have been compiled within main tourism business of the region, as well as best tourism practices have been analyzed to introduce positive changes for sustainable tourism. The examples will be presented as an auxiliary material.

Plans and principles for a common cultural heritage sustainable program have presented and the project to use the basic principles of the World Heritage Community to advance the tourism program in Tirupati region, South India.

The sustainable model for Tirupati region tourism development will be established in 2012 to promote sustainable tourism and encourage the preservation of the cultural heritage in India. In addition, the project will also be premised on the tourism program for Taj Mahal venue. The concerns will be specifically connected with the analysis of environmental pollution issues which involve transportation challenges.

Project Information and Objectives

Vision and Mission

The program is oriented on empowering and developing the tourism sector in the South India to continually innovate and improve sustainable tourism practices. The mission of the tourism project is to assist the tourism region in adjusting to sustainable tourism practices in economical, cultural, and environmental terms.

Main Objectives

To collect, record, and evaluate the best tourism practices that would be relevant for the given religious center;
Develop high quality infrastructure at pilgrimage destination to enhance the environment and attract more tourists to the place;
To market cultural heritage tourism practices and assess the benefits from implementing them;
To expand and develop the world heritage tourism project aimed at enhancing the management capacity and providing effective techniques to promote conservation and security;
To create strategic partnerships to encourage socio-economic benefits and employment by introducing capacity building of small business enterprises and promoting an economic diversity;
To assist the World Heritage Committee and the UNESCO Secretariat in solving the tourism management issue. It will contribute to ensuring the original character and authenticity of the religious site.

Program Partnerships and the Potential for Tourism Growth and Success

The core of the project is based on the principles and aspects described in the World Heritage Tourism Program that strives to take actions in the tourism industry sector to define how this field can contribute to safeguarding the cultural and national resources. In this respect, the framework provided by the program will serve as the basis for initiating joint activities and collaboration features between the identified tourist religious venue and the World Heritage Center of UNESCO.

The potential for the Tirupati region is enormous because this tourist site is known as the one possessing religious significance. Specifically, the tourist flow in the religious center amounts to 50,000 people daily, which is about 19 million people per year.

The current facilities in Tirupati do not meet the international standards and, as a result, the site fails to meat the increasing demand of visitors due to the lack of financing and resources. The above-established goals will contribute to higher profitability of the place; it will also attract a greater number of tourists.

The Starting Point of the Program

Investment Attractiveness Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

Infrastructure and Strategic Location. Today heritage tourism, an important sector of the international tourism, has the highest potential for development. Millions of tourists visit religious and cultural sites annually and, therefore, tourism has become a crosscutting problem of site management (See Appendix 1).

At this point, a great number of cities in the South India, particularly in Tirupati spiritual sector, lack necessary experience and trained personnel, as well as local policy makers and communities that fail to contribute to cultural and spiritual diversity of tourism.

Tirupati is located in Andhra Pradesh, the Southern Part of India. The region has two airports of the international level; it also included the port city. Hence, the airport is able to accept about 7 million passengers coming from different directions. Importantly, the regions has developed infrastructure facilities, including rail and road network, banking facilities, impressive industrial estates, reliable communication infrastructure, and developed technical institutes.

State policies. The local government has ratified various industrial and investment polices to promote rapid production growth and develop service sectors with an international perspective. As a result, the government has managed to establish about nine industrial parks within a very short period of time.

Industry. A State Government enterprise, Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation, has already established 272 specialized parks and industrial estates (See Appendix 2).

Brief Overview of Tirupati

Tirupati, a religious place and a sacred site of pilgrimage, is situated in Chittoor region of Andra Pradesh, at a height of 500 feet above the sea level. The city has a well-developed chain of trains and roads and, therefore, the centre of the city of highly available.

The spot is known for the temple of Lord Venkateswara, the richest shrine in India. It is a significant pilgrimage site, with pilgrims climbing the hills to reach the hilltop, where Tirumala town is located. The town of Tirupati also has a number of temples and it is known for its brass and copper idols, as well as red wooden toys.

Potential Hazards to Spiritual Tourism in Tirupati Region

Loss of original character and authenticity because of encroachment. The pressure because of illegal encroachments and unplanned visitor facilities has a negative impact on the site area. In addition, encroachment hampers the normal pedestrian movement. Developmental pressure can be hazardous for the authenticity of the religious site.

Unplanned visitor behavior. Unregulated visitor flow can significantly hamper the tourist circulation. Site management system, therefore can eliminate lack of personnel resources and provides a regulation of visitors during holidays and weekends.

Project Implementation and Results

Developing Infrastructures

By advancing and sophisticating the municipal infrastructure, it will be possible to improve the quality of tourists’ destination and promote greater connectivity among the religious spots. Hence, Destination Utility infrastructure can be significantly enhanced by introducing cafeteria, waiting pavilions, clean water supply, toilets, and outside furniture.

Importantly, greater quality of transport organization at temple site, or near temples sites should also be supported with regard to the current environmental issues. Each area of the region should have specific interpretation centers providing tourists with a brief depiction of the region, including possible exhibits and displays on flora and fauna, museums locations, etc. At this point, documentation establishments for spiritual researchers will also be encouraged.

An important aspect of the project is connected to the provision of accommodation facilities such as budget hotels, camping tents, and luxury resorts. In this respect, the concept of township should be implemented to introduce a visionary community aimed at supporting the tourist population through introduction of commercial space, hotel networks, and entertainment malls.

The introduction of this program concept is rational due to the high attractiveness of the site for investment. In particular, enhanced religious tourist flow, potential development of IT hub, and possibility to introduce center of trade and commerce provide a solid platform for sufficient financial support.

Enhancing the Main Appeal of the Religious Site

Pilgrimage to religious sites is highly motivated by the willingness to experience divinity and mysticism of Gods. The experience can be gained through organizing spiritual pavilions for familiarizing the tourists with the Indian history, including its significance for the contemporary society.

Hence, spirituality pavilions will introduce the basic ideas about spirituality and science to stimulate the visitors to make inquiries about the philosophical problems in the Indian history. The course of tourism development, therefore, should be centered on the core appeal of the new tourism products complementing the attraction of the religious centers.

Apart from the spirituality pavilions, the presentation of specific historical sites and associated events can also be dramatized to attract more tourists and make the place more entertaining. For instance, a historical pilgrimage to the most notable religious sites should be organized and specific bus routs should be established. The transportation system, therefore, must be re-organized in accordance with the newly promoted religious destinations.

Preparing the Conservation of Resources

A comprehensive plan on restoring and conserving the cultural heritage sites is possible through the involvement of specific archeology departments located in Andhra Pradesh. Specifically, effective solid waste management can be introduced to minimize the negative consequences of visiting temples. Involving plant into regulating solid waster treatment can contribute to creating a healthier environment and ensure safety of religious sites and high quality of tourist services.

The development of township creates a number of environmental problems that should be split into two types – the construction and operation phases. At the first stage, it is purposeful to provide an ecologically friendly plan to minimize the effects of land acquisition, personal movement, workers camps, and site clearance.

Aside from environment management within the tourist district, the travelers, or potential customers outside the region, are fully aware of the implications their trip can have on local communities and environments. In this respect, they should have a feeling of greater responsibility for the trip they experience.

With regard to the above-considered problems, the establishment and continuous improvement of environmental approaches and polices is crucial. Waste, lodging, and transportation policies should be adjusted to the local conditions in the Southern region of India.

In whole, conservation of resources and presentation of sustainable model for spirituality tourism are aimed at promoting sustainable tourism in India and provide a forum for internal tour operator to share their opinions and experience to meet the highest international standards.

Engaging Government Participation

The government should take an active part in integrating tourism destination with recreational facilities, commercial regions, budget hotels, and luxury residents. At this point, the local authorities should pay closer attention to the private sector and its activities related to investing the tourism sector.

Multi-stakeholder partnership, therefore, is an inherent condition for advancing the tourism project. Additionally, the local communities should also be engaged with handling small businesses, such as souvenir shops, transport services, cafeteria, craft shops, etc.

With regard to the above, the government should create a partnership to identify the drawbacks in religious infrastructure, discover new opportunities, and provide the standards that would meet the international demands.

The detailed evaluation plan will look as follows:

Collecting feedback from tourist operators to create the appropriate facilities;
Enumerating the current facilities and other requirements for the visitors;
Providing strategies based on the above-presented study;
Receiving a detailed report on the proposed project (sustainability development of the spiritual tourism);
Identifying which aspects of the model are of the highest priority;
Preparing a step-by-step schedule for contractor and stakeholders;
Creating a conceptual framework for defining the skill gaps in cit management and service delivery;
Defining the exact responsibilities and roles of temple trust;
Evaluating effectiveness of the proposed project.

Introduction of Special Tourist Products

At the current moment, Tirupati is viewed as one of the most attractive spots among the tourists. However, due to the lack of human resources and inappropriate commercial infrastructure, the religious destination should be enhanced through introducing special interest tourist products, including ecological tours, a variety of recreational facilities, and sports clubs.

The township project, therefore, will provide the latest activities including a number of amenities and sites for tourists. In addition, an adequate commercial infrastructure will be tailored in accordance to the demands of the tourists. The hierarchy of commercial properties, including local shops, cinema halls, and entertainment destination will be included at a local area.

In order to introduce new products, the proposed project should be presented as an independent area for developing residential, commercial, and recreational districts with high standard infrastructure. The presented profile is designed for serving the entire population sample paying pilgrimage to the temples in Tirupati.

In order to meet the requirements of integrated development, quality institutional enclaves should be introduced to the township. At this point, introducing theme park can increase the potential number of visitors to religious destinations, particular to the temple of Tirupati.

Because, people, particularly the younger population are more exposed to entertainment, the Indian classical standards will also undergo change to meet the international ones. Therefore, theme parks will encourage the visitors to explore myths, themes, origins, and legends linked to particular deities.

Most importantly, the venue will also serve as a recreational and entertainment park for residents and tourists to spend time with friend and family. The usefulness and uniqueness of the park consists in promoting heritage and culture of India in an original way using up-to-date technology. The latter is used to promote the communication strategy that corresponds to the one practiced in the Disney World Theme Park.

Introducing Destination Promotion Strategy

The destination promotion strategy is congruent with values that the World Heritage Community promulgates. Because the project under analysis is the result of collaborative approaches used, the program on the World Heritage Policy.

In particular, building the capacity of tourism management “develops and/or refines a multi-stakeholder vision for tourism development at the site and creates and/or enhances the framework for visitor limits and monitoring, site interpretation and development of appropriate infrastructure” (UNESCO.org 2).

In addition, relying on the concept of potential collaboration, the tourism project should pay closer attention to tourism management plans playing a pivotal role in organizing workshops at the religious site. The priorities should be given to conservation messages and identification on visitors’ needs.

Training local community management and advancing the quality of human resource management is an essential component of successful sustainability project implementation. Because tourism creates a demand for a variety of services, the community should be provided with the opportunity for learning and development.

Introducing a well-planned tourism project through developing local history knowledge provides an invaluable experience and support for the tourism region. Indeed, training residents in marketing and business skills for existing tourism products will have a positive impact on helping to generate tools for mitigating pressures to the attraction sports. More importantly, the strategy will contribute to enhancing the concept of spirituality.

SWOT Analysis – Evaluating Future Opportunities and Predicting Challenges

The main strength of the project has been an effective, functioning partnership and a powerful Tirupati township network. Various organizations and institutions have been involved into the project implementation, including UNESCO. The credibility of the organization allows us to conclude that the project promises to be effective.

The major weakness of the program lies in the fact that the project involves a multi-faceted approach to introducing changes. Too many plans and strategies are implemented to solve multiple problems. As a result, a vast area of the tourism sector is engaged. In order to eliminate the weakness, the plan should be split into several subsequent steps of the implementation.

In order to advance the fulfillment of the project objectives, specific emphasis should be placed on establishing international ties with the world-known non-profit organizations that seek to support environmentally friendly projects on promoting and preserving cultural heritage.

In this respect, the collaborative features with international tourist enterprises should greatly contribute to the development of a competitive environment in India. Because Tirupati is one of the numerous religious centers in India, the competition in the country is rigorous. Therefore, sustaining a competitive advantage is a serious challenge.

Economic and Marketing Activities

Because the main purpose of the program is to develop and empower the tourist sector in the Tirupati region to improve tourism practices through the establishment of a well-coordinated township, the following economic and marketing stages should be overcome:

Developing a particular field of marketing and economic activity;
Applying to available economic and industrial infrastructure;
Initiating tourism project in Andhra Pradesh;
Creating a favorable employed environment;
Using natural resources with regard to the ecological environment;

The project can be interpreted as a potential support system for the rise of the local economic. The decisive role of the proposed tourism model is presented within two dimensions. First, similar to other spirituality models in the country, the township organization enhancing spirituality and environment assists in achieving the objectives.

Second, the religious center, along with other parts of India, is lagging behind such districts as Maharashtra and Karnataka in terms of industrialization and investment. Such a situation results in low growth of the domestic product. In order to reverse the economic recession, the proposed project should have a potential impact on the process of economic growth in India.

The project under consideration has been conceptualized to encourage various economic activities ranging from services to different industries being connected to the current industrial clusters in the district. The conceptualization of the project will provide the following marketing benefits:

Facilitation of the economic activity in the region by proposing infrastructural support to the industries;
Construction of the religious pavilions and involvement of industries in creating higher employment rates;
The proposed project will increase the revenues collected as a result of tourist activities;
Finally, the project will contribute to the welfare of the regional economy.

Conclusions

It can be concluded that sustainable development of the spirituality tourism programs has created serious disputes concerning eco-labeling and religious appeal and has provided the training implications for the region.

A great number of international organizations can be connected to sustainable tourism, but no concrete collaborative features have been created so far. The project under consideration, therefore, is aimed at facilitating the discussion in a global context to lay a foundation for work within the international tourism perspective.

The tourist model is indispensible to creating a solid platform for development of sustainable spirituality tourism, where the sustainability is interpreted through the prism of long-term development. This kind of project is especially important for the regions with developing infrastructure, where the concept of spirituality is not fully congruent with financial and economic possibilities.

In this respect, the regions should gain greater awareness of their responsibilities for the identified areas. In future, the international cooperation can make the mission much stronger to increase the quality of services and promote an ecologically healthy environment.

In order to create a well-developed infrastructure of the township, it is necessary to enhance site management to handle incoming human resources and provide support to employees organizing tourism programs for visitors. More importantly, when the concept of spirituality of the region has been developed, it will be purposeful to work out strategies for involving industries and local authorities in constructing an effective transport system to handle the tourists’ inflow properly.

Finally, once the basic objectives of the project have been achieved, the tourism region should come to the forth as an internally labeled district endowed with high marketing potential and competitive advantage for further development and improvement.

Taking into account the experience of related spirituality tourism project, Tirupati regions should be more concerned with the future possibilities for preserving the cultural heritage and promulgating the main religious venues as being culturally and historically important.

Finally, aside from cultural and historical concerns, the preservation of natural resources is of particular importance as well. At this point, introducing specific activities and measures minimizing the negative impact is urgent.

Works Cited

UNESCO.org. A Proposed Framework for the Development of Joint Cooperation on Nature Conservation and Sustainable Tourism at World Heritage Natural Sites, World Heritage Center, n. d. Web 9 Dec. 2011 < http://whc.unesco.org/uploads/activities/documents/activity-113-1.pdf >

Appendix 1: Economic Profile of India (2003-2004 Period)

Indian EconomyThe country akes the 10th place in the world and the 3rd one in Asian region.
Sector Contribution:

Services Sector

Industry Sector

Agriculture Sector

51.8 %

27 %

31 %

Exports:

United States

China

United Kingdom

US $ 76 billion

21 %

6 %

5 %

Imports:

United States

Belgium

China

United Kingdom

US $ 100 billion

7 %

6 %

5 %

5 %

Gross Domestic Product per capita (2004)$ 3.1000