The tourist situation that was depicted in the 1998 INTACH Report was very much a non-sustainable one: After the medieval temples of Khajuraho had been included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites in 1984, the government of Madhya Pradesh had declared Khajuraho to be one of the major tourist destinies of India. MP government invested in an airport, and invited several chains of 5 star hotels to establish in Khajuraho. Also a yearly international dance festival was created to attract the tourists. The result was that Khajuraho became included in the tours for international tourists (Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Jaipur etc.).
A tourist would typically fly in at noon from Delhi or Varanasi, stay overnight, and fly out again with the next flight the following noon. Since these tourists all stay in the mentioned 5 star hotels, the benefit of their presence for the local population is very small. Since more than 200.000 tourists visit the temples every year, this number was sufficient to develop a whole economy of shops, small guesthouses, street venders, beggars, … However, the short stay of the individual tourist caused this small local businesses to barely survive.
The situation has got better since 2009 when a railway station, planned for decades, finally opened, thus giving a boost to local tourism.
But every visitor still wonders at the rundown tourist facilities of most of Khajuraho’s amenities, in a region that is still, and after all, predominantly an agrarian society.