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Tourism as Lifeline of economy

Government is providing free loans to MSMEs to help them deal with the crisis and revive the economy, including the tourism sector. — Vinod Johri



Robust demand: By 2029, Bharat's tourism sector is expected to grow 6.7% to reach Rs. 35 trillion (US$ 488 billion), and accounting for 9.2% of the total economy. International tourist arrival in Bharat is expected to touch 30.5 million by 2028. However, domestic tourism is expected to drive growth, post pandemic.

Diverse Attractions: Bharat offers geographical diversity, attractive beaches, 37 World Heritage sites and 10 bio-geographic zones and 441 sanctuaries. Bharat's 7500 km coastline is dotted with attractive beaches. 

Policy support: Campaigns such as Swadesh Darshan, a theme-based tourist circuit was launched to harness the tourism industry's potential. The government introduced a scheme to boost the tourism sector by providing one-month free tourist visa to 5 lakh tourists until March 31, 2022. 

Attractive opportunities: Government is providing free loans to MSMEs to help them deal with the crisis and revive the economy, including the tourism sector. Post the pandemic crisis, the Government plans to tap into regional tourism by opening doors for South Asian country tourists. 

Soul of tourism

Bharat is a kaleidoscope of unity in diversity. The multi-hued tapestry is its strength & beauty. Its uniqueness comes from this pluralism. Celebrations of beliefs and faiths woven around them have spawneda range of delightful, religious, spiritual and cultural practices and events. These have evolved as festivals, that are not just integral to our culture, but form the very basis of it.

Tourism in Bharat has significant potential considering the rich cultural and historical heritage, variety in ecology, terrains and places of natural beauty spread across the country. Tourism is also a potentially large employment generator besides being a significant source of foreign exchange for the country.

In FY20, tourism sector in Bharat accounted for 39 million jobs, which was 8.0% of the total employment in the country. By 2029, it is expected to account for about 53 million jobs.

According to World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Bharat ranked 10th among 185 countries in terms of travel & tourism's total contribution to GDP in 2019. During 2019, contribution of travel & tourism to GDP was 6.8% of the total economy, Rs. 13,68,100 crore (US$ 194.30 billion).

Spread across Space

Bharat is the most digitally advanced traveller nation in terms of digital tools being used for planning, booking, and experiencing a journey. Bharat's rising middle class and increasing disposable income has supported the growth of domestic and outbound tourism.

During 2019, foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in Bharat stood at 10.93 million, achieving a growth rate of 3.5% year over year(y-o-y). During 2019, revenues from tourism increased 4.8% year over yearto Rs. 1,94,881 crore (US$ 29.96 billion). In 2019, arrivals through e-Tourist Visa increased by 23.6% year over yearto 2.9 million. In 2020, FTAs decreased by 75.5% YoY to 2.68 million and arrivals through e-Tourist Visa (Jan-Nov) decreased by 67.2% YoY to 0.84 million due to corona pandemic. As of March 2021, the e-Tourist Visa facility was extended to citizens of 171 countries.In April 2021, the percentage share of FTAs was highest from USA (26.85%).  

In April 2021, the percentage share of FTAs in Bharat was highest at Bengaluru Airport (29.96%), followed by Mumbai Airport (17.48%), Ahmedabad Airport (15.72%), Delhi Airport (9.21%).  

By 2028, international tourist arrivals are expected to reach 30.5 billion and generate revenue over US$ 59 billion. However, domestic tourists are expected to drive the growth, post pandemic.

International hotel chains are increasing their presence in the country, and it will account for around 47% share in the tourism and hospitality sector of Bharat by 2020 and 50% by 2022.

Emerging Investment flow

Bharat was globally the third largest in terms of investment in travel and tourism with an inflow of US$ 45.7 billion in 2018, accounting for 5.9% of the total investment in the country.Hotel and Tourism sector received cumulative FDI inflow of US$ 15.61 billion between April 2000 and December 2020.

Our government has estimated that we would emerge with a market size of 1.2 million cruise visitors by 2030-31. 

How Government catalyses & synergizes tourism 

Some of the major initiatives planned by the Government to boost the tourism and hospitality sector are as follows:

  • In May 2021, the Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture Mr. Prahlad Singh Patel participated in the G20 tourism ministers' meeting to collaborate with member countries in protecting tourism businesses, jobs and taking initiatives to frame policy guidelines to support the sustainable and resilient recovery of travel and tourism.
  • Government is planning to boost the tourism by leveraging on the lighthouses in the country. 71 lighthouses have been identified for development as tourist spots.
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has introduced a new scheme called 'All Bharat Tourist Vehicles Authorisation and Permit Rules, 2021', in which a tourist vehicle operator can register online for All Bharat Tourist Authorisation/Permit. This permit will be issued within 30 days of submitting the application.
  • In February 2021, the Ministry of Tourism under the Government of Bharat's Regional Office (East) in Kolkata collaborated with Eastern Himalayas Travel & Tour Operator Association (resource partner) and the IIAS School of Management as (knowledge partner) to organise an 'Incredible Bharat Mega Homestay Development & Training' workshop. 725 homestay owners from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and the foothills of Dooars were trained in marketing, sales and behavioural skills
  • On January 25, 2021, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mr. Prahlad Singh Patel announced plan to develop an international-level infrastructure in Kargil (Ladakh) to promote adventure tourism and winter sports.
  • The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) runs a series of Bharat Darshan tourist trains aimed at taking people to various pilgrimages across the country.
  • On November 4, 2020, the Union Minister of State for Tourism & Cultureinaugurated the "Tourist Facilitation Centre" facility constructed under the project "Development of Guruvayur, Kerala" (under the PRASHAD Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism).
  • On January 26, 2021, Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr. Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada International Zoological Park in Nagpur. It is Bharat's largest zoological park spread over 564 hectares and expected to attract 2.5 million tourists a year.
  • Ministry of Tourism launched Dekho Apna Desh webinar series to provide information on many destinations and sheer depth and expanse on the culture and heritage of Bharat. 
  • Statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also known as 'Statue of Unity', was inaugurated in October 2018. It is the highest standing statue in the world at a height of 182 metre. It is expected to boost the tourism sector in the country and put it on the world tourism map.
  • Under Budget 2020-21, the Government has allotted Rs. 1,200 crore (US$ 171.70 million) for development of tourist circuits under Swadesh Darshan for eight Northeast states.
  • Under Budget 2020-21, the Government has allotted Rs. 207.55 crore (US$ 29.70 million) for development of tourist circuits under PRASHAD scheme.

State Governmentspromote tourism

  • In July 2021, the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) invited applications to operate shacks in six major beaches of the state.
  • In July 2021, the Tamil Nadu state government decided to implement an integrated mega tourism plan, which included new lighting arrangements for the Thiruvalluvar statue at Kanyakumari, starting renovations at Poompuhar tourist spot and improving roads leading to tourist spots, spiritual places and adventure tourism spots. 
  • In July 2021, Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority urged stakeholders in the tourism sector in the state to register with the Andhra Pradesh Tourism under the Tourism Trade Registration and Facilitation Guidelines 2020.
  • In June 2021, the Odisha state government announced to provide a financial package for the COVID-hit tourism sector of the state.

Accomplishments & Successes 

Following are the achievements of the Government during 2019-20:

  • During 2019-20, an additional fund Rs. 1,854.67 crore (US$ 269.22 million) was sanctioned for new projects under the Swadesh Darshan scheme.
  • Ministry of Tourism sanctioned 18 projects covering all the North Eastern States for Rs. 1,456 crore (US$ 211.35 million) to develop and promote of tourism in the region under Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD schemes.
  • Statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also known as 'State of Unity', was inaugurated in October 2018 and the total revenue generated till November 2019 stood at Rs. 82.51 crore (US$ 11.81 million).

Road Ahead

Staycation is seen as an emerging trend were people stay at luxurious hotels to revive themselves of stress in a peaceful getaway. To cater to such needs, major hotel chains such as Marriott International, IHG Hotels & Resorts and Oberoi hotels are introducing staycation offers. 

Reasonable reduction in GST rates in Hospitality industry and opening new airways to our cultural heritage sites will hugely promote tourism and will have multiplier effect.            


Vinod Johri: Sah VicharVibhagPramukh, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Delhi Prant.

Courtesy & Source - Bharat Brand Equity Foundation (www.ibef.org), Media Reports, Ministry of Tourism, Press Releases, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Press Information Bureau (PIB), Union Budget 2020-21.

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