The travel and tourism industry of India has contributed a lot in the overall growth and development of the economy. Furthermore, the nation is full of heritage monuments, historical places and this attracts both domestic as well as international travellers to explore the country. Taj Mahal is one of the most popular destinations of the country and it has contributed a lot in the overall development of Agra tourism. The main purpose behind conducting the present study is to assess the impact of Taj Mahal on Agra tourism. Furthermore, both primary and secondary sources of data collection are used to gain accurate, adequate and reliable data on topic under investigation. The primary data has been collected through 20 officials working in the tourism department of Uttar Pradesh. It has been found that over the past few decades, Taj Mahal has contributed a lot in growth of the overall Indian and Agra tourism industry. This contribution has helped the overall tourism industry of Agra in accomplish its objectives of growth and development.
In the year 2015, 6.48 lakhs foreign visitors have visited the Taj Mahal and it has helped the country and government of Uttar Pradesh to enhance their reserves of foreign exchange. , the monument is listed in the category of the seven wonders present on the earth and this is one of the major attribute of this monument which helps in attracting more and more tourists. Another key attribute of Taj Mahal is that as a legend of eternal love and people come here to witness the love of Indian emperor for his queen. The beauty of monument has been enhanced by the use of semi precious stone and white marble. Garden, guest house and mosque present within the Taj Mahal also motivate travellers and tourist to visit the monument at least for once in their life. It is recommended that government and other regulatory authorities needs to take corrective measures to deal with issues associated with The Yamuna River and increasing pollution with the destination.
In the modern era, travel and tourism industry has emerged as one of the most potential and fastest growing industry of India. Furthermore, the industry is also contributing a lot to the overall growth and development of the country's economy. This can be justified by the fact that the tourism industry of India witness 5 million foreign tourists every year. However, the total number of domestic tourist in the country is approximately 562 million (Moghavvemi, et al 2017).
It can be expressed that over the past one decade, the tourism and hospitality industry of India has witnessed exponential growth. For example, the total number of foreign tourist visited in the country was recorded as 8.8 million. The industry of tourism and hospitality is also considered as a leading contributor in India's GDP and the industry holds 9.65% of the total GDP (Tourism & Hospitality Industry in India, 2017). The travel and tourism industry of India is contributing a lot to the overall economic development of the country. For instance, it has created enormous employment opportunities for the people in the country as it has employed 40 million individuals (Chaturvedi, 2017).
The report of World Tourism Organization has highlighted the fact that tourism industry of India will grow at higher pace and it is expected that in the year 2025, the total number of tourist arrivals in the nation will reach to 15.3 million. Furthermore, there are different factors which have contributed in such growth and development of the industry. It can be expressed that factors such as environmental and socio economical have directly contributed to the growth of industry (Green, Scrase and Ganguly-Scrase, 2017). For example, good climate and beautiful scenery present within the country are the elements which attracts the tourist the most.
Apart from this, social economic factors such as accessibility to tourism areas, adequate accommodation, food etc. have also contributed a lot in the development of the industry. The rich heritage cultural history of India is another factor which encourages people from other nations to visit and explore the country (Woof, 2012). In context of its industry contribution to the GDP growth, Indian tourism industry holds 7th position in the world. The overall economy of India is growing with a very good pace and has resulted in enhancing the degree of disposable income left with people in the country. Furthermore, it has also motivated the citizens to spend their money on activities linked with travel and tourism.
However, it can be critically argued that the role of Indian tourism Ministry in the growth of industry cannot be neglected. Adequate support and assistance is provided by the ministry to all the small and large scale business operating in the country (Houck, 2008). In addition to this, aggressive advertisement and marketing campaigns has also resulted in development of the industry (Hazra, Fletcher and Wilkes, 2017). For example, ad campaign such as "Incredible India" has generated high demand of Indian tourism among people living within and outside the country. Indian wildlife and historical monuments can be considered as two of the most special attractions in the nation.
Taj Mahal is considered as one of the most the popular tourist destination in India. Furthermore, it is also included in the list of seven wonders present on the earth and these characteristics have resulted in attracting more and more foreigners and domestic people. Taj Mahal can be also considered as a legend of eternal love as it was built by an Indian emperor in the memory of his most loved queen. Taj Mahal has been built by semi precious stones and pure marble (Asher, 2008). An official site of Taj Mahal has been developed to present the overview of the monument. People can get the tickets by visiting Ticket Counters of World Heritage Sites in India. The monument is located in on the south bank of Yamuna River in Agra city. It was built by the Shah Jahan who was a Mughal emperor and was dedicated to his loved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb includes different gardens, guest house, and one mosque and was built in the year 1643.
Taj Mahal is the result of Shah Jahan's vision and the efforts of more than 20000 artisans of the country. The grave of his wife has been placed in Taj Mahal and that particular area has not been decorated. According to the Muslim laws, the graves of people cannot be decorated in any case. The design and structure of Taj Mahal is so perfect that even in situation of collapse, the tomb will remain safe as everything will fall away from the tomb. This clearly indicates the vision and efficiency of Indian architects in the 17th century. All the above mentioned facts and figures clearly indicates that Taj Mahal is one of the most favourite destination in India and it is also contributing a lot in the development of the country's tourism (Gupta, 2010).
The main propose behind carrying out the present study is to assess the impact of Taj Mahal in Agra tourism. Furthermore, secondary sources of data collection have been taken into consideration to get insight into the topic selected for investigation. The objective of this study is to explore various range of destination located in Agra. The city is located in Uttar Pradesh and it is also considered as the home of Taj Mahal which is one of the seven wonders present on the earth.
The destination consists of historical and cultural monuments such as Agra fort, Itmad-ud-Daulah's tomb, Fatehpur Sikri and Akbar's Tomb. All these monuments has not only attracted domestic tourist but has also encouraged international tourist to visit the destination and explore these monuments. Thus, the study has helped in getting insight into the different destinations and their contribution to Agra and Indian tourism.
Another reason behind carrying out the present research is to identify the overall degree of tourism growth which has been achieved by Agra tourism because of Taj Mahal. It can be expressed that in the year 2015, Taj Mahal alone was holding 23% share of the total international traveller who visited the country. Furthermore, the monument is contributing a lot to the growth and development of Agra tourism by attracting large number of both domestic and international tourists every year.
For example, it has supported the local handicraft industry, craftsmen's to earn adequate profits and earn livelihood. Taj Mahal alone has contributed 21.84 crore INR to the Agra tourism industry in the year 2013 and it is still contributing a significant proportion to the industry. However, the mentioned above contribution is only includes the revenue generates by Taj Mahal through entry fees.
The present research was also carried out with an objective to identify and explore the key attributes of Taj Mahal which has resulted in attracting large number of international and domestic tourists every year. Among all the attributes of Taj Mahal, it rich cultural history is a key attribute which motivates people to visit the monument at-lest for once.
It can be also expressed that the monument clearly reflects the luxurious lifestyle and grand royalty of the Mughal Empire. The visit to Taj Mahal provides people with an opportunity to travel back in the time and explore the magical era of 17th century. On the other side of this, the glamour, Epitome of love, wonder of the world etc. are the key attributes of Taj Mahal which encourages and attract travels or tourists from different areas of the world.