Couple of days back while driving to office, I was listening to the local Radio station jockey asking a guest (some govt official) on what will be the impact if Taj Mahal is not included in the new seven wonders of the world. I was quite surprised by the answer. The government official who was being interviewed answered, "this is the age of search engines and if Taj Mahal is not included in the new seven wonders, there is a possibility that people may very soon forget about Taj. When they will search for the next place to visit, possibly Search engines will not display Taj Mahal thus impacting Indian tourism industry". Well the answer was very apt and demonstrated what impact Google, Yahoo, MSN (or Live), Ask.com are having on any nation's tourism and thus economies. According to a Yahoo Search Marketing research nearly 87% people who go on high end vacations use the Internet to shop for travel.
NEARLY NINE IN 10 CONSUMERS--OR 87 percent--who go on high-end vacations use the Internet to shop for travel, according to a study released Wednesday by Yahoo Search Marketing.
The majority of luxury travelers--57 percent--sought information from general search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.com. More than half--54 percent--also reported visiting online travel agencies to research airfares, hotels, and the like, while 44 percent went to online travel suppliers. The other major online sources of information were travel review chatboards and blogs--frequented by 10 percent of luxury travelers.
Among the 64 million online travelers cited in the TIA survey, 66 percent use online travel agency sites (such as Expedia, Travelocity, or Priceline), 67 percent use Search Engines, and 55 percent use destination Web site. This one statistic underscores the vital importance of search engine compliance and search engine ranking to destination marketing organizations.
This makes me think, why are governments not tying with these Search engines or learning SEO for a direct impact on increase in tourism.
BTW, do cast your vote for Taj Mahal, for more details, visit votefortaj.com.