- Tourism in India is important for the country’s economy and is growing rapidly. The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism 9.4% of India’s GDP in 2017 and supported 8% of its total employment.
- According to “Travel Tourism Economic Impact 2018 India” report by World Travel and Tourism Council the sector is expected to grow at an annual rate of 6.9% to9.9% of GDP by 2028.
- Sudip Bandyopadhyay committee observed that the foreign exchange earnings from tourism were around USD 21.07 billion during 2015
- The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report for the year 2017, ranked India 40th out of 136 countries.
- It mentions that India has goodprice competitiveness, air transport, ground transport infrastructure.
- However, some other aspects of its tourism infrastructure remain somewhat underdeveloped. The nation has very few hotel rooms per capita by international comparison and low ATM penetration.
Issues related the industry
- Lack of infrastructure: Tourism-associated economic and social infrastructure – hotels, connectivity, human resources, hygiene, health facilities, etc are largely under developed in India.
- Safety and Security issues: it is a major roadblock to the tourism development. Attacks on foreign nationals, especially on women, raise questions about India’s ability to welcome tourists from far away countries.
- Connectivity issues:Majority of the tourist spots in the country are not easily accessible. This is because of high costs of travelling, poor connectivity and a series of permissions required for various reasons.
- Fluctuations in currency exchange rates: this is creating fluctuations in the number of foreign tourists visiting the country.
- Seasonal dependence of the market is reducing the employability of the sector.
- Complex taxation system in the country is having a detrimental effect on the sector.
- Infrastructure Reforms and Tourism
- Sagarmala project beginning with Char Dham Yatra linking Puri Jagannatha Temple to Dwaraka by sea via various places of religious interest enroute.
- Swadesh Darshan scheme is one among the flagship schemes of the Ministry of Tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. Under this scheme the Government is focusing on development of quality infrastructure in the country with objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth.
- HRIDAY and PRASAD schemes creating a group of culturally important cities and their network.
- Tourist Training Schools, Skill India and Tourism
- Ministry of Tourism rolls out Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification (IITFC) Programme. It will enable Indian citizens to develop and enhance the skills associated with tourism, and where one can incorporate knowledge about facilitating tourists across the country.
- Swachh Bharat:
- Ministry of Tourism is organizing the ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ campaign at various important tourist sites across the country.
- Partnering with Shulabh International (NGO) for scaling up pay-and-use toilets rather than depending on free public utilities (as it has been observed that former type remain more user friendly due to regular maintenance than government ones)
- Special focus on cleanliness and women safety of tourist sites
- Tourism Minister launches Incredible India mobile App. It showcases India as a holistic destination, revolving around major experiences, such as spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga, wellness and more. The mobile app has been designed keeping in mind the preferences of the modern traveler and follows the trends and technologies of international standards.
- Accessible India
- India and the Republic of Korea sign MoU for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism. The Republic of Korea is one of the leading tourists generating market for India from East Asia. Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) from the Republic of Korea in 2017 were 1,50,000.
Probable way out
- Island tourism :NITI Aayog through its plan for “holistic development of the islands” is set to boost eco-tourism in Lakshadweep lagoons. It is planning to set up island water villas which in turn will be a popular alternative to leading destinations such as Mauritius and Maldives.
- State models : Kerala Tourism’s ‘Yalla Kerala’ print media campaign in the Gulf countries,showcased the State’s greenery and backwaters.
- Standing Committee on Railways (Chair: Mr. Sudip Bandyopadhyay) submitted a report on ‘Tourism Promotion and Pilgrimage Circuit’. The recommendations of the Committee are:
- A.Railways’ role in tourism: The Committee noted that Railways can play a crucial role in promoting tourism in the country because of its wide reach. It also provides an economic and eco-friendly means of transport across the country. It can tap into the numerous pilgrimage centers across the country. It recommended that there should be representation for tourism in the Railway Board which would help them frame tourism related policies.
- B.Financial overview: The committee noted that no funds for promotion of pilgrim places are provided separately. It recommended that the budget allocation for tourism should be increased immediately, and a separate fund be created for the promotion of tourism and pilgrimage in India.
- C.Tourism promotion: it has to done by connecting locations of historic and cultural importance.
- D.Proactive advertisement and publicity
International institutions working on it
- United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO): India to chair the Programme and Budget Committee of UNWTO Executive Council till 2021.
- It is the UN agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
- The UNWTO Executive Council represents the Organization’s governing body whose task is to take all necessary measures in consultation with the Secretary-General, for implementation of its own decisions and recommendations of the Assembly and report thereupon to the Assembly.
- The Council meets at least twice a year, the next to be held in Bahrain.
- The council consists of 35 Full Members elected by the assembly in proportion of one member for every Five Full Members, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure laid down by the Assembly with a view to achieving fair and equitable geographical distribution.
- Pacific Asia Travel Association
- The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association working to promote the responsible development of travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region.
- It was founded in 1951.
- PATA is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism in Asia Pacific region.
- The PATA Awards are presented to outstanding entries in the principal categories of Marketing; Education and Training; Environment, and Heritage and Culture.
- International Buddhist Conclave: Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, has been organizing the International Buddhist Conclave biennially.
- IBC 2018 will have a religious / spiritual dimension, an academic theme and a diplomatic and business component.
The Ministry has planned to organize an ‘Investors’ Summit’ during the Conclave to attract investments in developing world class infrastructure