January 2018 \ Cover Story \ Cover story—Bolivia
“Indian businesses can thrive in Bolivia”

Bolivia—officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia...

What are the major tourism opportunities in Bolivia?

I think we must also tackle some more structural issues when we focus upon tourism. Connectivity is one, but also the market itself. India says it has about 300 million people that have an acquisition power of that of an American or a European, and I believe that. I had the opportunity of being here in Diwali last year. The consumption patterns that you see in this country are comparable to any western country. It is stated that you will increase your per capita consumption by 35 per cent in the next 10 years. That means you’ll probably have 420 million people with a capacity to spend. And in the next decade, you are predicted to be the third largest economy in the world. Of course Indians will travel. But where will Indians travel? And here I think we’ve a structural issue. If you ask the common man where London is, they’ll know. If we ask the common man where Bolivia is, probably no more than one in 10 will be even able to answer where it is. That’s an educational aspect which I think we must touch base on. We still look to the West. I ask this often to my colleagues—what is the median age of Europeans? It is 46. What’s the median age of people here in India? 25! What’s the median age of people in South America? Less than 30! The future is in us. It is up to us on how we want to change our vision of where we want to go. It is up to the Media. It is up to communications. Why? We must stop seeing each other as exotic destinations because in a globalized world, organizations are only in our head. There may not be a direct connectivity in terms of flights. Right now we go through Madrid, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires. But Bolivia will open a hub in the next five years, which also means we probably will have connections to Bolivia via Emirates, via Qatar. We need to see ourselves as possible allies. And I also think the Indian businessmen, Indian people can understand the idiosyncrasies of South Americans more than the Europeans. Would traffic be an issue for you there? Would you be able to understand or appreciate the issues we face on a daily basis? Of course you can. To do business in Bolivia, probably is as simple, or as difficult, as it is in India. And you wouldn’t be fazed by it. I think there India and India’s businessmen have a step above the rest. If you can thrive here, why wouldn’t you be able to thrive anywhere? And there are Indians already doing that in Bolivia. At the same I am sure that Indians would not want to travel that far for four days, we have to tie up Bolivia to a circuit. And this circuit will most probably be Peru, Bolivia, Argentina or Chile. We right now have a strategy, it is called the Two Wonders strategy. You have the Macchu Picchu in Peru, and then you have the Unesal Flats in Bolivia.

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