India’s National Tourism Day is celebrated every year on January 25. This day was kicked off by the government of India to boost awareness and importance of the tourism sector in the country. The contribution of this sector is immense in the growth of Indian economy. The tourism sector in India has a respectable place among the service sectors in the country. India is known for its rich cultural and historical heritage, various kinds of ecology, places of natural beauty, heart touching ancient and medieval age monuments and much more are spread all across the country. There are enough attractive destinations for overseas tourists in India.
PM asks people to visit 15 locations
Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to visit 15 tourist destinations in India by 2022 to promote tourism in the country. India’s position was 34 in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019 published by the World Economic Forum while in 2013 it was 65. Despite leaps and bounds, progress in the tourism sector needs a big push, it needs better infrastructure and hospitality to attract tourists of all categories.
Massive employment opportunity
Tourism sector generates massive employment opportunity in the country. As per the 2017-18 report, 81.1 million people were employed in this sector which contributes 12.38 per cent of total employment in India. This sector has immense potential to generate job opportunities.
Increase in foreign tourists
The encouraging report is that India is getting more popularity among overseas travellers as the arrival of foreign tourists has increased by 3.23 per cent. Overall 96,69,633 foreigners landed in the country during January-November 2019 as against 93,66,478 foreign travellers had touched the Indian soil in January-November 2018. The Union Government has been targeting 20 million foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) by 2020.
Tourism boosts forex
The tourism sector has enormous prospects to boost foreign exchange (forex) earnings. Unfortunately, in recent times, India’s foreign exchange earnings have declined. During the period between January and July 2019, foreign exchange earnings from the tourism sector were $16.757 billion, while in 2018 forex earnings stood $17.059 billion. The overall sharp decline in the forex earnings from the tourism industry is an alarming sign seeing the importance of this sector. The quick remedy is essential for its revival.
Statue of Unity entice tourists
There are a lot of things to do to attract overseas tourists to India. Old monuments of ancient and medical age entice the tourists a lot. But the Statue of Unity in Gujarat, a 182-metre high statue, which was unveiled to the public on October 31, 2018, to mark the birth anniversary of the country’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel, attracts 8,500 tourists per day. But the numbers went up to 34,000 on the occasion of Janmashtami (August 24), 2019. On the other hand, the Statue of Liberty in New York (USA) attracts on average 10,000 tourists every day. One must remember the statue is 134-year old. This is historical that the visitors of the Statue of Unity are more than the Statue of Liberty.
Govt makes changes
The government has made some changes to provide better hospitality to tourists. Therefore, the Union government during 2018-19 sanctioned seven projects worth Rs 384.67 crore under Swadesh Darshan scheme. According to a 2018 report, 14 states had set up separate tourist police in the states. Therefore, the tourism industry is set to expand strongly.
Introduction of e-Tourist Visa
As a measure to boost tourism in the country, the government had introduced a new visa policy which is known as “e-Tourist Visa” in 2014 to provide comfort to tourists. This facility is expected to double the tourist inflow in the country and make a significant contribution in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) of India.
Lacking in several segments
There are two faces of a coin, so is the case with the tourism industry. It has been lacking in several areas such as poor infrastructure which includes non-availability of smooth and wide roads in all places, in short, transport connectivity is not up to the mark. The aggressive online system is to some extent needs to be strengthened apart from regulating those local goons and middlemen (dalaal) who tend to cheat tourists. They are hurdles to make India a must-visit destination for tourists.
In spite of some drawbacks, the government is trying its best for the growth of tourism in the country. India has taken a leaf out of tourism authority’s book of Singapore and introduced a Tax Refund for Tourists (TRT) scheme to attract tourists to spend more in India to boost the tourism industry in the country. India’s tourism sector is likely to increase at an annual average rate of 7.9 per cent till 2023 which would make India the third fastest-growing tourism destination in the coming future.