The tourism industry is one of the fastest expanding economic sectors, with a considerable influence on employment and a multiplier effect on the activity of affiliated industries. Tourism promotes the development of multi-purpose infrastructure such as hotels, resorts, restaurants, transportation (airports, highways, ships, and trains), and medical facilities. The significance of the tourism sector is rising as an economic powerhouse and its potential as a development instrument is evident. The tourism industry not only drives growth but also enhances people's lives by producing a variety of high-quality jobs on a broad scale. It promotes environmental conservation, diversified cultural heritage, and international peace. The Indian tourism sector employed 39 million people in 2020, accounting for 8% of overall employment in the nation.
The Indian tourism industry is on course to exceed US$ 1 trillion by 2047, with data-driven tourism poised to be a significant driver of development. Foreign exchange profits increased at a CAGR of 7% between 2016 and 2019 but fell in 2020 because of the COVID-19 epidemic. With the waning of the COVID-19 epidemic, India's tourism sector is showing signs of resurrection, and it is placed 10th out of the top 64 nations in the world in the Medical Tourism Index FY21. International travellers in India spend 26 times more than domestic tourists, demonstrating the importance of attracting global visitors to the Indian tourism business. India has been recognised as a spiritual tourism destination for both local and foreign visitors. Digitalization is anticipated to generate US$ 305 billion in value for the travel, tourism, and aviation sectors and to shift US$ 100 billion away from established companies to new rivals internationally. Tourism will be undertaken in Mission Mode, with the active participation of all states, the convergence of Government Programmes, and Public-Private Partnerships. By 2030, the Indian government intends to generate US$ 56 billion in foreign exchange and 140 million new tourist-related employment through inclusive growth, with a special emphasis on cruise tourism, ecotourism, and adventure tourism. Various initiatives are being launched to deliver unique experiences to both domestic and international tourists.
Tourism industry in India
The notion of travel has evolved dramatically throughout time, from acting as a commerce and economic hub to becoming a tourist mecca due to its breathtaking scenery. India has a long history and an extensive number of attractions, making it one of the most rewarding and culturally varied travel destinations. The tourist industry's potential contribution to the country's GDP in 2022 is predicted to be more than US$ 15.9 trillion (about US$ 215 billion). The Coronavirus pandemic generated new traveller expectations for more sanitary, touchless, and digital experiences, as well as increased government regulations for evidence of a traveller’s COVID-19 status and greater attention on infrastructure related to health and safety. It provides a wide range of niche tourist goods, including cruises, adventure, medical, wellness, sports, MICE, eco-tourism, film, rural, and religious tourism. Tourism is a major source of foreign exchange in India, as it is in many other nations.
The Ministry of Tourism has established 30,000 Yuva Tourism Clubs. Yuva Tourism Club aims to foster and create young ambassadors of Indian tourism who are aware of tourist opportunities in India, honour our rich cultural history, and develop an interest and enthusiasm for tourism. The Ministry of Tourism also plans to boost the number of Yuva Tourism Clubs to 50,000 during the following 100 days, beginning on May 1, 2023.
In the bar chart below on the left, the total foreign exchange earnings (FEEs) from tourism in the country increased by 107% from US$ 7.86 billion (Rs. 65,070 crore) in 2021 to US$ 16.26 billion (Rs. 1,34,543 crore) in 2022.
In the bar chart below on the right, India received 6.19 million Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in 2022 as compared to 1.52 million during the same period in 2021.
Note: * - Provisional
Source: Ministry of Tourism
As illustrated in the below bar chart, India is also experiencing an increase in domestic tourism. The number of domestic tourist visits to India increased from 610.22 million in 2020 to 677.63 million in 2021.
Source: Ministry of Tourism
NEW TOURISM PRODUCTS (NICH TOURISM)
The Ministry's initiative is to identify, diversify, develop, and promote niche tourism products in the country in order to overcome the aspect of seasonality and promote India as a 365-day destination, to attract tourists with specific interests, and to ensure repeat visits for the unique products in which India has a comparative advantage. The Ministry of Tourism has recognised the following niche products for development and promotion:
India's coastline and internal waterways offer significant potential for developing both international and local cruise tourism. A Task Force has been formed, with the Secretary of Tourism as Chairman and the Secretary of Shipping as the co-chairman.
Exploration or travel to remote and exotic locations is part of adventure tourism. As tourists seek diverse types of vacations, adventure tourism is one of the fastest expanding in demand. The Ministry of Tourism has developed a National Strategy for Adventure Tourism in order to establish India as a preferred destination for adventure tourism worldwide. By 2032, adventure and sports tourism have the potential to generate 6 million jobs.
Medical tourism (also known as medical travel, health tourism, or global healthcare) refers to the rapidly rising practice of crossing international boundaries to acquire healthcare treatments. However, virtually every sort of healthcare is offered in India, including psychiatry, alternative therapies, and convalescent care. The Ministry of Tourism has developed a National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism. A 'Medical Visa' has been created, which can be granted to foreign visitors travelling to India for medical treatment for specific purposes. 'E-Medical Visa' and 'E-Medical Attendant Visa' have also been introduced. Medical and wellness tourism is anticipated to increase and it will produce employment for 24 million people by the year 2032. 21% of tourists from foreign nations visited India for medical care in 2021.
The Ministry of Tourism invites Expressions of Interest (EOI) from Golf Clubs, Golf Event Managers, State Governments/UT Administrations, Approved Tour Operators/ Approved Travel Agents, and Corporate Houses seeking financial support from the Ministry of Tourism for Golf Events, Golf Shows, Golf Promotional Workshops/ Events/ Annual Meetings/ Seminars eligible for financial support, with the goal of promoting Golf Tourism to and/or within India under the Incredible India brand.
In partnership with the Indian Polo Association, the Ministry of Tourism promotes Polo as a "Heritage Sport" of India and has developed guidelines specifying broad areas of assistance for the marketing of this game as a Niche Tourism Product.
The Ministry of Tourism developed a National Strategy and Roadmap for the MICE Industry. The strategy paper identifies the following strategic initiatives to boost the growth of the MICE business in the country and India as a MICE destination:
The Ministry of Tourism has developed a National Strategy for Eco-Tourism to establish India as a preferred destination for ecotourism worldwide.
The Ministry of Tourism is making every effort to promote Cinema of India as a sub-brand of "Incredible India" at various International Film Festivals such as IFFI Goa, European Film Market, Cannes Film Festival, and markets abroad, in order to develop synergy between Tourism and the film industry and to provide a platform for enabling partnerships between the Indian and global film industries. Financial support of up to US$ 2,417.93 (Rs. 2 lakh) for each film is offered for components such as space hiring/filming prices, facilitation fees, etc.
To showcase India as a preferred worldwide destination for sustainable and responsible tourism, The Ministry of Tourism developed a National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism. On World Tourism Day, the Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI) on September 27, 2021. The goal of the MoU is to take steps to swiftly promote and support each other’s sustainability efforts in the tourist industry and to work together wherever possible. The global market for sustainable tourism is estimated to be worth US$ 180 billion. In India, it is worth between US$ 26 million and US$ 2.5 billion and is predicted to increase at a 15% CAGR.
On April 29, 2022, the Ministry of Tourism published the National Strategy for Rural Tourism and Rural Homestays. A Task Force for the Development of Rural Tourism and Rural Homestays was established in June 2022, with the Secretary (Tourism) as Chairman, to serve as a forum for addressing issues related to the development and promotion of Rural Tourism and Rural Homestays in the country.
In 2014-15, the Ministry of Tourism introduced the Swadesh Darshan Scheme to encourage the integrated development of themed tourism circuits around the country. The scheme, Swadesh Darshan 2.0, has been redesigned with the motto "vocal for local." Since its start, the Ministry has sanctioned 76 projects under 13 themes with a total sanctioned cost of US$ 642.43 million (Rs. 5,315.59 crore) and has released US$ 572.33 million (Rs. 4,734.11 crore) (till December 31, 2022).
The objective of the initiative is to construct the infrastructure for spiritual and pilgrimage tourism at predetermined locations. 73 locations have been designated for development under this programme so far in 31 States/UTs. Since the scheme's start, an amount of US$ 191. 75 million (Rs. 1,586.10 crore) has been sanctioned for 45 projects in 25 States/UTs, with a total release of US$ 102.07 million (Rs. 844.34 crore) through December 31, 2022. Under Major category, 19 projects have been completed, and 34 locations in 10 states/UTs are identified for construction of Basic Amenities Category Projects. By 2028, India is anticipated to have 30.5 million visitors from abroad for spiritual purposes.
In February 2016, the toll-free number 1800111363/short code 1363 was launched in 12 languages, including Hindi and English, to facilitate and help domestic and foreign travellers with information about travel in India and to offer a sense of protection and security. Apart from English and Hindi, the Tourist Helpline handles 10 international languages: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
To aid travellers with better planning and faster inquiry replies, the Ministry of Tourism has implemented a 24/7 Live Chat Service interface on the Ministry's website (www.incredibleindia.org). Both foreign and domestic travellers may use the live chat service to get answers to their questions and plan their schedules.
the goal of offering online training and accreditation of Tourist Facilitators via a centralised PAN India e-learning programme. This will boost the Indian economy in general and Indian tourism in particular by allowing for the development of a pool of well-trained and competent Tourist Facilitators as well as the provision of extra job possibilities, even in rural places.
Unlocking India's enormous tourism potential necessitates a comprehensive approach that tackles the six major pillars of planning, place, people, policy, process, and promotion. The Budget 2023 addressed all six Ps effectively, including destination planning and management, infrastructure development, sustainability and safety, human capital development, policy, and process interventions to align the Centre and the states, and promotion of the Indian tourism narrative. A more robust and sustainable tourism ecosystem for India may be developed by collecting and using data from multiple stakeholders, including payment service providers and private tour operators. Sustainable tourism will become a crucial criterion for people, necessitating certification and quantifiable requirements based on data.