Most travel economy based countries / regions have one major revenue stream of travel shopping, a lot of which involves picking up souvenirs and mementos by the tourists. In mature travel economies there are players who design travel merchandise and keep coming up with new idea in tune with the times and the tastes of the visitors.
India is yet to catch on to this trend. I see a huge opportunity in developing tourist friendly merchandize that people can take back with them. India, though not dependent on tourism , still has substantial numbers of domestic and foreign tourists. Absolute numbers are not small. On the other hand the variety of local arts and crafts that can be potential candidates for merchandize is huge. Need is to come out with a reliable brand that designs, manufactures, packages and distributes these items through a reliable network with a reliable quality.
Design is the most important aspect of this idea, followed by quality. There are too many crafts that are being sold outside tourist monuments, but they have not changed since I can remember. The same Kashmiri shawls and Kaftans are sold even in the sultry south. Design elements need to blend the modern utility with the ethnic aesthetics and come out with products that will make the visitors pick them up for themselves and for their family and friends.
Where to start, which products to begin with a question that needs debate and discussion as the choices are infinite. Weather you should ‘buy or make’ is another decision that needs a business plan level of research to decide weather you want to pick up a range of products and then manage the end to end supply chain or you want to source products from various other entrepreneurs based on your designs and quality parameters. Where to start geographically is again something you decide based on where you are or where you think the market is best.
This is a Brick & Mortar idea and has to be executed on the ground, as travel merchandize is purchased while traveling and rarely would people buy it online after they have returned home.
If someone wants to pick up and work on this idea, I will share with you the list of potential merchandise that I have created over many years and many travels.