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Tourism Sector in India

  • Context (PIB): The Ministry of Tourism conducts training programme to strengthen nature tourism.

Significance of the Tourism Sector

Economic Development

  • Contribution to GDP: Contributes 7% to India’s GDP, making India 8th largest country in terms of contribution to travel & tourism GDP.
  • Domestic travel market accounts for >85% of the sector’s contribution to GDP.
  • Employment generation: It accounts for about 15% of the total employment in the country.
  • Multiplier effect: It has ‘positive spillover effects’ in other sectors such as food & catering, Hotels & restaurants, real estate, transportation, etc.
  • Foreign exchange: It has a positive impact on the Balance of Payment as Tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner for India.

Social Development

  • Inclusive growth: The industry creates economic activity in fragile and remote rural, tribal & hill areas with relatively poor infrastructure.
  • Unlocking the value of cultural heritage and ecological sites.
  • National unity: Inter-cultural exchanges help in spreading new ideas, and facilitate building tolerance and acceptance for diversity which has helped build social capital in India.
  • Strategic Diplomacy tool: Act as an enabler of better bilateral relations, people-to-people connect, creating sustainable “dependency bonds” to ensure peace.

Challenges Faced by the Sector

  • Lack of proper infrastructure such as air, rail, road, internet, hospitality, health/sanitation facilities at various tourist destinations.
  • Governance Challenges: Lack of guidelines for tourists, poorly regulated health & hygiene, ill- managed Tourist information centers, cumbersome visa regulations, etc.
  • Multiplicity of taxes across the entire industry value chain, from tour operators, transporters, airline industry to hotels, making tourism an expensive adventure in India.
  • Unskilled human resources: Lack of manpower, lack of relevant skills, for eg. limited number of multi-lingual trained guides.
  • Safety of tourists: Instances of crimes against tourists (especially Women) such as theft, duping, etc.
  • Low international tourist footfall: Only 1.2% share in the world’s International Tourist Arrivals (ITA).

Way Forward

  • Improve connectivity to remote tourist destinations to encourage exploration of lesser-known places.
  • Provide training programs for those involved in the tourism industry to enhance service quality.
  • Streamline regulatory processes to make it easier for businesses to operate in the tourism industry.
  • Enhance online presence through social media, travel websites, and virtual tours.

GoI Initiatives for Tourism Sector

  • Digital Initiatives: e–Visa facility, Web-based E-Ticketing, National Integrated Database of Hospitality Industry (NIDHI), Swachh Paryatan Mobile App.
  • Draft National Strategy for 4 sub sectors: Rural, Sustainable, Health & Wellness, and MICE Tourism.
  • Boosting Tourist Place Attractiveness: Swadesh Darshan, PRASAD scheme, HRIDAY, Paryatan Parv etc.
  • Branding & marketing initiatives such as India Tourism Mart, Incredible India! & Athiti Devo Bhava.
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