India is coming of age as a tourist and business destination, and Indian hotels and airlines can contend with the best in the world.
These are the findings that a poll conducted by Smart Travel Asia, an online travel magazine based in Hong Kong, has thrown up.
Approximately 5,000 voters from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, the United States and the UK, among other countries, participated in Smart Travel Asia's Best in Travel 2010 online poll.
The participants were asked to cast their votes in 11 categories, which included top 10 holiday destinations, top airports, airlines, leisure hotels, spas and budget airlines, among other things.
Kerala tops the list of holiday destinations in Asia, and Rajasthan shares the eighth spot with Koh Samui in Thailand. Jet Airways shares the joint sixth spot with Virgin Atlantic in the list of top airlines worldwide, and scores a high third place for its business class. While Delhi's new T3 is perhaps too new to merit it a mention in the list of top airports, India scores highly in the list of top 25 leisure hotels and resorts in Asia. The Oberoi Udaivilas in Rajasthan was voted fourth most popular, while the Neemrana brand of hotels and the Taj Garden Retreat in Kumarakom also feature in the top 25.
Upping the anteHas Indian tourism finally upped the ante in the global tourism stakes? "India has always captured the imagination but it has never been voted high as a go-to destination largely on account of poor infrastructure, transport and health," says Vijay Verghese, editor of the magazine. "Yes, the country is being marketed better and in a contemporary manner that has more universal appeal."
Surprisingly, three of India's low-cost airlines --Spice Jet, Jet Lite and Indigo --feature in the list of top Asian budget airlines. "Indian low-cost carriers have featured over the past two years as well," Verghese explains. "But most of their votes came from Indian voters. Aviation is growing rapidly in India but there are issues with capacity, runway space and flight delays."
Top 10 Holiday Destinations Asia1. Kerala, India
2. Bali, Indonesia
3. Phuket, Thailand
4. Hong Kong
5. Hoi An, Vietnam, Maldives and Palawan, Philippines
6. Bangkok, Thailand and Shanghai, China
7. Hanoi, Vietnam and Langkawi, Malaysia
8. Koh Samui, Thailand and Rajasthan, India
9. Seoul, South Korea and Boracay, Philippines
10. Angkor, Cambodia, Goa, India and Penang, Malaysia