Investment Opportunities in India

June 3, 2013

Growth of tourism in India

Tourism refers to the activity of visitors. A visitor is a traveler taking a trip to a main destination outside his/her usual environment for less than a year, for any main purpose (business, leisure or other personal purpose) other than to be employed by a resident entity in the country or place visited, according to UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Tourism is an important social and economic phenomenon in many countries. It is a key driver of socio-economic progress through the creation of jobs and enterprises, infrastructure development and the export revenues earned.

Indian tourism industry

Compared to many countries, Indian service industry has the advantages of possessing a rich and diverse range of unique tangible and intangible cultural, natural and man-made tourism resources, many of which are world class in quality. India’s great competitive strength from tourism point of view is its ancient and yet living civilization that gave rise to four of the world’s great religions and philosophies, and brought travelers and trade millennia ago. The rich natural and rural landscape of India is punctuated with the built heritage of its ancient past and modern structures. India’s contacts with other civilisations is reflected in the rich cultural diversity of its people through its languages, cuisine, traditions, customs, music, dance, religions practices and festivals, its holistic healing traditions, art and craft.

Overview of Indian tourism sector

Today, tourism is the most vibrant among the Indian service industry and has a strong hold on the economy. The sector contributes 6.23 per cent to the national gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.78 per cent of the total employment in India. Moreover, India stands 42nd in the world rankings in terms of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in the country, according to a report titled ‘Competitiveness of Tourism Sector in India with Selected Other Countries of the World’ by Ministry of Tourism. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) named India as one of the fastest growing tourism industries for the next 10 to 15 years.

FTAs have shown a growth of 2.8 per cent in March 2013 over March 2012 while the growth rate in Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism in India stood at 21 per cent over the same period.

The Visa on Arrival (VoA) Scheme of the Government of India has registered a growth of 63 per cent during March 2013. A total number of 2,107 VoAs were issued last month as compared to 1,287 VoAs issued in March 2012.

Investment options in Indian tourism industry

Strong growth in per capita income in the country is driving tourism in India. A shift in demographics with rising young population (coupled with changing lifestyles) is leading to greater expenditure on leisure services. The tourism policy of Government of India aims at speedy implementation of tourism projects, development of integrated tourism circuits, special capacity building in the hospitality sector and new marketing strategies.

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