Incredible India – Some Distance to Cover

Heritage Tourism

Tourism has proved to be a boon in the development of human resources, employment generation and alleviation of poverty. According to the Government of India, tourism contributes 6.8 percent to the national GDP and 8.78 percent of the total employment in India. Almost 20 million people are now working in India’s tourism industry. While the tourism sector in India has done well in the recent years, it’s still just the tip of an iceberg given the huge potential. A lot still needs to be done for the tourism sector to achieve its full potential as well as help the world discover and enjoy ‘Incredible India’.

India is the abode of enchanting landscapes, social, cultural and architectural lures. Navigating the swirling crowds, historical monuments of architectural prowess, modern sky-rise buildings, you will experience the colourful spectacle of India’s heritage. The prevailing cultures and traditions are testament to the rich legacy India has inherited, unfettered by political and religious conflicts.

India has emerged as one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. The Ministry of Tourism in India is making concerted efforts to promote various forms of tourism and drive the ‘Incredible India’ campaign aggressively. The various popular forms of tourism in India include Cultural, Heritage, Scenic Locales, Rural, Medical, Wellness, Cruise, Adventure, Golf, Education, Luxury, Wedding, Tea tasting, Sports, Spiritual and Eco-Tourism to name a few. The Ministry of Tourism also provides financial assistance to stakeholders and all States/Union Territory Tourism Departments for promotion of tourism in the international markets under the Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) Scheme.

Tourism has proved to be a boon in the development of human resources, employment generation and alleviation of poverty. According to the Government of India, tourism contributes 6.8 percent to the national GDP and 8.78 percent of the total employment in India. Almost 20 million people are now working in India’s tourism industry.

The rise in the number of tourists, both foreign and domestic, has also resulted in global companies investing in India. Hospitality and tourism sector has ranked among the top 15 sectors in India to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism and hospitality sector’s direct contribution to GDP totalled $44.2 billion in 2015. The direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP is expected to grow 7.2 percent per annum to $88.6 billion (2.5% of GDP) by 2025.

While the tourism sector in India has done well in the recent years, it’s still just the tip of an iceberg given the huge potential. A lot still needs to be done for the tourism sector to achieve its full potential as well as help the world discover and enjoy ‘Incredible India’. Some of the things that the stakeholders are working on are as below:

Preservation of National Heritage and Environment

India is a repository of archaeological reserves and incredible monuments. Measures are taken to preserve India’s rich heritage. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 is dated and should be revised in the wake of increased attention India is attracting in the recent years. Cohesive strategies must be implemented by state governments and private players to develop tourist destinations and make it congenial for visitors.

Safe Destination for Tourists

The government has launched several campaigns to sensitise the people about respecting tourists, especially women travellers. Efforts are being made continuously at the ground level to address health concerns and maintain hygienic conditions for the tourists. The police force is extra alert to address any issues faced by a tourist.

Encourage Participation of Private Players for Infrastructural Development

Public Private Partnerships (PPP) is being encouraged to give an impetus for infrastructural development. There are immense opportunities for investments in infrastructure for developing both, physical as well as the virtual domains. Civic amenities are being improved in the vicinities of tourist spots. Better roads/highways are being constructed to improve connectivity and make travel easier. Accessibility to tourist destinations is being made easier by removing tax hurdles while crossing state borders. An integrated mode of payment is in progress to replace multiple modes of public transport and toll taxes across the country. Measures are being taken to motivate private players to collaborate and contribute towards infrastructural development with the implementation of fiscal as well as non fiscal incentives.

Branding and Marketing

Aggressive branding and marketing exercises across all verticals is being implemented to generate awareness and attract visitors. Collaborative efforts are being explored with related sectors such as hospitality, transport and travel operators to enhance the travel experience.

Ease of Visa Related Processes

The implementation of the new visa policy by the government of India has given a fresh impetus to the tourism sector in India. As a result of this, 56,477 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa during the month of October, 2015, as compared to 2,705 during the month of October, 2014, marking a growth of 1987.9 percent. During January-October 2015, a total of 2,58,182 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 21,995 during January-October, 2014, registering a growth of 1073.8 percent. While some work has been done, a lot needs to be done to make it quicker and smoother.

Adequate Training Institutions

Training institutes are being established to offer courses to enhance skills required for this sector. Vocational training is also introduced to develop basic skill sets and also generate employment opportunities. However, there are many opportunities to further collaborate and work on training the unemployed.

Indian tourism has a lot to offer and a concerted effort by all stakeholders is required to achieve its full potential and make it one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world. There is some distance to cover before the tourists experience an ‘Incredible India’.

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Author

Kumar Nagmani

The writer is Director, Valueonshore Advisors, and can be reached at kumar.nagmani@valueonshore.com

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    Sources

    http://www.ibef.org/industry/tourism-hospitality-india.aspx#sthash.K53MHuSO.dpuf 

    pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=71607

    https://www.iata.org/policy/Documents/Benefits-of-Aviation-India-2011.pdf

    https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic%20impact%20research/countries%202015/india2015.pdf

    1988% growth registered in tourist visa-on-arrival in October, The Times of India, 18 November 2015

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