Leveraging India’s tourism sector
- As the government gets into the act of robust post covid recovery in the economy, grabbing the opportunity and promoting the travel and tourism sector for further economic growth and employment is needed.
Impact of COVID-19 on tourism sector
- Pandemic had snatched the livelihood of 62 millions of people in direct and indirect employment.
- The share of the travel and tourism industry in the Indian GDP went down to just 5.3 per cent in 2020 from as much as 10.3 per cent in 2019.
Signs of recovery
- The share of the tourism industry in the overall GDP had risen to 6.1 per cent in 2021.
- There is an addition of 18 million jobs in 2021 as compared to the previous year.
Significance of developing the tourism sector
- Multiplier effect on other industries: A booming travel and tourism industry can have a spiralling effect on various other sectors like food, restaurant, catering and hospitality. For instance,
- Organizing food festivals and establishing food hubs at places close to major tourist destinations will result in further growth in the restaurant sector.
- Livelihood opportunities: The tourism industry is a significant driver of employment creation for women, migrant workers and young people (particularly to the rural youth).
- Developmental objectives: Social development and poverty alleviation can be achieved through social inclusion and regional integration through the development of this important sector.
- Forex earnings: Higher forex reserves because of foreign tourists’ arrival in India is of great significance, especially when the global energy and food prices are northward bound.
- Foreign tourist arrivals account for the country’s third largest share of foreign exchange (forex) earnings.
- Forex earnings from the tourism sector saw around 9.4 per cent annual growth in the 2011 to 2019 period.
Opportunity within the G20 group
- G20 member nations account for the highest foreign tourist arrival numbers in India.
- In 2021, Bangladesh, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany took the top five places for foreign tourist arrivals in India. Except for Bangladesh, all the others are G20 members.
- To clinch the rightful place of India’s tourism industry in the global arena ahead of other G20 countries, the government of India can work with the tourism ministers of member nations to further ease the norms and do away with redundancies in granting E-tourist and E-medical visas to visitors of these countries.
- To support a fast-growing travel and tourism industry, the government will have to have a multi-pronged approach which includes
- Ensuring ample skilled labour is available.
- Providing vocational education and training the youth.
- Improving the sector’s working conditions to improve the industry’s service quality.
- Need for institutes and colleges that can impart professionalism and soft skills to the youth to support the industry’s growth.
- Intertwining the development of the travel and tourism industry with the prospects and growth of other related sectors like handicrafts, transport, infrastructure development etc.
- Making improvements in road and water connectivity in some prime tourist destinations, apart from security arrangements.
As India marches ahead in its dream of having a $5 trillion economy, the emphasis on developing the tourism industry will be a step in the right direction.
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