My trip to Singapore was an eye opener, that what tourism can do to an economy, and how tourism can be monetized at each stage. Most of the Singapore destinations or tourist spots are artificially created--Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Sentosa, but they are marvels and what is truly exciting about the place is how the government monetizes each step without being an intrusion to the tourists. A trip to Jurong Bird park, you would not realize while exiting you might see a beautiful picture of yours placed at a very conspicuous place, which you will have a choice to buy (monetization!!) or leave, chances are for memories sake you will buy it, but you are not at all haggled to do the same.
The taxi guys are friendly, they guide you on tours and there is never any siphoning of money.
Remember what does a tourist want, its simple they want-peace, comfort, easy movements, and naturally good places to visit.
I was just wondering, Singapore has created places for people to visit, most of them artificial, but they create a push or need for it. If we think of Bihar, (In case our forward looking CM ever see's this blog, it is to be noted), we are endowed with legacy, of such humongous importance to culture and traditions, that there is only PULL and no push factor required, to convert Bihar into I would say, at the expense of being rhetorical, one of the most visited place in the world.
Just come to think of it, Bodh Gaya (place where Buddha got enlightenment), a place which any Buddhist for sure or even people having interest in culture, would die to visit it. Pawapuri (Jainsim), Nalanda, RajGirh, Lauria Nanadangarh (Asoka's pillar, remnant of first true monarchy), Kumhrar, Patna sahib,to name a few, all these places are of immense historical importance and are not artificial creations to attract tourists, but a big pull factor for all people in one way or the other connected to it.
Just think of it, if we have all Buddhists visit Bodh Gaya at least once , what numbers would it lead to, and mind you today world's biggest celebrities are convert Buddhists (an additional pull factor), Similarly we can talk of Jain's, Sikhs, etc. I am just talking about sheer individual numbers in terms of people having connect with the destination for religious or emotional reasons. I am not including people who have interest in history, culture and old traditions, or sheer adventurers. The numbers could be mind boggling, and the impact on socio-eco-political fabric would also be immense.
People tend tobecome tourist friendly when they see the same bringing in money and improving lifestyles, a delinquent youth of yesteryear could become a great guide, a village of Mithila can be converted to a model village displaying arts and traditions, etc.
I am surprised, that other Indian states, with not so much naturally endowed tourist destinations have taken such lead in this space why not Bihar.
Now under Nitish Kumar, with public confidence building, infrastructure improving, along with Law and Order, I feel this could be the trigger point for Bihar tourism to develop.
As we always say its never to late!!