[Answered]Tourism industry has been a part of India’s growth story in last decade, but still have not reached full potential. Discuss. Also suggest some measures to boost tourism in India.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Write a contextual introduction.
Body. Contribution of tourism in India’s growth. Issues.
Conclusion. Way forward and measures.

India’s culture and diversity make it a land of beauty and attraction. Tourism in India is important for the country’s economy and is growing rapidly. Each city and state has so much to offer in terms of the heritage, architecture and experience that can be explored. India’s tourism potential is huge.

Contribution of tourism sector in India’s growth story

  1. The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated ₹17 lakh crore (US$240 billion) or 9.2% of India’s GDP in 2018 and supported 42 million jobs, 8.1% of its total employment. The sector is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 6.9% to ₹32 lakh crore (US$460 billion) by 2028 (9.9% of GDP).
  2. India’s medical tourism sector it is projected to grow to US$7–8 billion by 2020. In 2014, 1.85 lakh foreign patients traveled to India to seek medical treatment.
  3. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are the most popular states for tourists. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Agra and Jaipur are the five most visited cities of India by foreign tourists
  4. India has good air transport, particularly given the country’s stage of development, and reasonable ground transport infrastructure. The country also has high natural and cultural resources. However, there exists the potential to increase this growth rate to 30% – and when that happens tourism will contribute around 25% of our GDP.

Some issues related to tourism industry-

  1. Infrastructure bottlenecks- India’s tourism infrastructure remain somewhat underdeveloped. The nation has less hotel rooms per capita by international comparison and low ATM penetration. Fast-track clearances of hotel projects should be done.
  2. Poor flight connectivity- Poor air connectivity especially to rural area is a hindrance to Indian tourism. India’s Udan scheme is a right step, but India has to increase number of airports. E.g Mysore, has no commercial airport.
  3. Poor hospitality- When it comes to the hospitality sector, even though the situation has improved in the last few years, it needs to do much better, especially in the second-tier cities. To do so, the sector must not just invest in brick-and-mortar infrastructure, but also in human resources. In the last few years, India has seen several attacks on tourists, especially women. This situation must be addressed not just because of the revenue but also because it tarnishes India’s image.
  4. Decreased tourism- The Survey 2019 pointed out that the tourism sector experienced a sharp slowdown in 2018, the Survey stated that the foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in 2018-19 stood at 10.6 million compared with 10.4 million in 2017-18. FDI in hotel and tourism also declined from $1,132 million in 2017-18 to $1,076 million in 2018-19.

Measures to boost tourism industry-

  1. Improving infrastructure-Infrastructure should be strengthened. Land should be made available for hotels and reserve land for hotels in all new townships under planning.
  2. Skill development- Skill development efforts should be increased to train more persons. Focus should be on training hospitality and humbleness. Proper language training is also needed.
  3. Promoting niche tourism- Niche tourism refers to a type of speciality tourism that focuses on a specific concept or topic. This can be food, sports, wildlife tourism. Each of these tours will focus on their individual concepts. The Ministry of Tourism designs national policies for the development and promotion of tourism. Concerted efforts are needed to promote niche tourism products such as rural, cruise, medical and eco-tourism. The Ministry of Tourism’s Incredible India campaign focus on promoting the tourism in India.
  4. Rural development- The secret to enabling tourism growth is hidden in India’s 600,000 villages, which together represent an ocean of heritage, culture and experiences waiting to be explored. Yet to unlock the hidden potential of India’s villages, we need to approach the issue through the lens of impact tourism.
  5. Focus on Impact tourism- It is a community and tourist-centred approach in which tourism is leveraged to help deliver sustainable community infrastructure. It gives tourists an authentic experience of local culture and traditions while helping the community. The village-based impact tourism model can boost tourism.
  6. Public private partnerships– What is needed now is an effective partnership between the government and the private sector. A National tourism board should be created to provide the tourism sectors with a voice at government level. Currently the Indian tourism industry is self-governed by multiple agencies with no common goals. A tourism board, however, could clearly define the roles and responsibilities of both the government and private sector.
  7. Coordination at various levels- There is a need to strengthen the coordination mechanism of various Ministries and stakeholders to resolve issues in promotion of tourism in the country. Also there is need for centre-state cooperation, and state-state cooperation.
  8. According to Economic Survey 2018-19increased budgetary allocation for development of infrastructure, making land available for hotels, and reduction in taxes is needed to boost tourism. Additionally, the State governments need to be sensitised about tourism being a major driver of employment and poverty alleviation.

India has immense tourism potential which is yet to be explored. Government policies should focus on infrastructure and grass root development. It will not only lead to generation of employment, but will also enhance India’s soft power.

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