Tourism In India – Opportunities And Challenges (AIR)

deepak mehto
By deepak mehto October 8, 2019 15:05

Tourism In India – 27 September is commemorated each year as World Tourism Day.

  • India hosted the World Tourism Day, 2019, organized by the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
  • The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of WEF released at the start of September 2019, ranked India to the 34th position, 6 positions up compared to 2018.

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO):

    • It is a specialized agency of the United Nations, working towards the promotion of sustainable, responsible and universally accessible tourism.
    • The UNWTO is constituted as a restructured form of erstwhile International Union of Official Travel Organizations (IUOTO), a technical, non-governmental organization, which was rooted in 1925 at the first international congress of official tourist organizations, held at The Hague.
    • It is a 158 membered body with 6 Associate Members and over 500 Affiliate Members.
    • The Affiliate members include the private sector, tourism associations, educational institutions, and local tourism authorities.
    • Functions:
      • Sustainable Economic Development: UNWTO helps for economic growth, inclusive development, and environmental sustainability by promoting tourism as an economic activity and means for the development of tourist places in the world. 
      • Support Tourism Worldwide: It offers support to the ‘Tourism sector’ by advancing knowledge, leadership and developmental policies worldwide.
      • Global Code of Ethics for Tourism: It helps in implementing the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, to maximize the socio-economic contribution of tourism and minimizing its possible negative impacts. 
      • Means for Achieving SDGs: The UNWTO helps in promoting tourism as an instrument for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All the goals from no poverty, zero hunger to climate action, peace justice and strong institutions and partnerships for the goals can be effectively worked through the tourism sector. 
      • Reducing Poverty and Fostering Sustainable Development: The tourism sector is promoted as an instrument for reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development worldwide.
      • Developing the Poor Countries: The UNWTO has brought out a development plan in over 100 poor countries in the world. The plan aims for generating market knowledge by promoting competitive and sustainable policies through education and training.
  • World Committee on Tourism Ethics: 
    • It is established by the UNWTO, in 2004, for implementing the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. 
    • The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism:
      • The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism was adopted in 1999 as a comprehensive set of principles for guiding key-players in tourism development.
      • The Code was later acknowledged by the United Nations and encouraged the UNWTO for promoting the effective follow-up of its provisions.
      • The Code is not legally binding but features a voluntary implementation mechanism.
      • The code includes ten guiding principles for ‘Tourism’:
        1. Contributing to mutual understanding and respect between peoples and societies
        2. A vehicle for individual and collective fulfillment
        3. A factor of sustainable development
        4. An instrument of the cultural heritage of mankind and a contributor to its enhancement
        5. A beneficial activity for host countries and communities
        6. Obligations of stakeholders in tourism development
        7. Right to tourism
        8. Liberty of tourist movements
        9. Tourism Industry and the rights of the workers and entrepreneurs
        10. Implementing the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism
    • The WCTE is permanently located in Rome in 2008.
    • The members of the WCTE are elected under their professional capacities for promoting and disseminating the Code and evaluating and monitoring the implementation of its principles.

The tourism sector in India:

  • The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum (WEF) of 2019, ranked India to the 34th position from 40 in 2018 and 52 in 2017. 
  • India accounts for the majority of South Asia’s travel and tourism (T&T) GDP and thus, remains the sub-region’s most competitive T&T economy. 
  • It is the only lower-middle-income country in the top 35 of the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index, 2019 of the WEF.
  • Foreign tourists have increased to 8.8 million in 2016 from 5.5 million in 2009, yet they account for only  1 percent of global tourist arrivals.
  • The Ministry of Tourism, is the nodal agency in India, formulating the national policies and programs.
  • The Ministry coordinates the activities of various Central and State Government Agencies, Union Territories as well as the Private Sector for promoting the development of tourism in the country.
  • Prospects of Tourism Sector in India:
    • The tourism sector in India has a positive impact on the Balance of Payment of the Country as it plays an important role in the income of foreign exchange earnings in India.
    • The annual growth rate of the Tourism Industry in India is 9.4% and is expected to increase to Rs 32,05,000 crore (US$ 492.21 billion) by 2028.
    • Tourism Industry will support for about 46 million jobs by 2025 under the right developmental policies and investments made in this sector. 
    • International Tourist’s arrival in India is expected to reach 30.5 billion by 2028. 
    • Tourist arrivals through e-tourist visas in 2018 have increased to 39.60% year-on-year to 2.37 million. 
    • Tourists arrival through e-tourist visa in May 2019 has been increased by 21.70% year-on-year to 1.23 million.
    • Swadesh Darshan Scheme and Prasad Scheme: Various projects under the Swadesh Darshan and Prasad scheme has been sanctioned of worth Rs 550 crore (US$ 78.70 million).
      • Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
  • It is a centrally funded scheme, launched by the Ministry of Tourism, for integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits in India. 
  • This scheme is envisioned for positioning the tourism sector as a  driving force for economic growth, a major engine for job creation, building synergy with various sectors, etc. 
  • PRASAD Scheme:
  • The Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) is a scheme of the Ministry of Tourism for identifying and developing the pilgrim sites across the country and enrich the religious tourism experience.
  • It is a centrally funded scheme which also allows the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) model.
  • Twelve cities are announced to be developed under the PRASAD scheme by the Ministry of Tourism, namely, Ajmer(Rajasthan), Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Amritsar(Punjab), Dwaraka(Gujarat), Gaya(Bihar), Kamakhya (Assam), Kanchipuram(Tamil Nadu), Kedarnath (Uttarakhand), Mathura(Uttar Pradesh), Puri(Odisha), Varanasi(Uttar Pradesh) and Vellankani(Tamil Nadu).
      • The Government of India is working towards achieving a 1% share in the world’s international tourist arrivals by 2020 and a 2% share by 2025.
      • The tourism industry in India contributes to:
        • Increase in  national income, 
        • Generation of foreign exchange, 
        • Rising of tax revenue and 
        • Transformation of the regional economy.
      • Branding and Marketing Initiatives: Government of India’s branding and marketing initiatives like ‘Incredible India!’ and ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ aim for providing a focused impetus to growth. 
      • Medical Visa: A fresh category of medical visa or M visa has been released by the Indian Government for encouraging medical tourism in the country. 
      • 100% FDI: The Hotel and Tourism sector in India has been allowed for 100% FDI through the automatic route. 
      • Total FDI received by the Hotel and Tourism sector in India from April 2000 to March 2019 has been counted for US$ 12.35 billion.
      • Tax holiday for hotels around UNESCO World Heritage sites: A five-year tax holiday has also been offered for all the 2, 3 and 4 starred hotels located around UNESCO World Heritage sites in India (except Delhi and Mumbai). 
      • Incredible India 2.0 campaign: Launched in September 2017 the Incredible India 2.0 campaign aims for promoting various destinations and tourism products of India in important and potential source markets worldwide, such as spiritual, medical and wellness tourism. 
      • Incredible India Mobile App: Indian government has launched the ‘Incredible India Mobile App’ in September 2018, to assist the traveler and showcase major experiences for traveling in India. 
      • Tax Refund for Tourists (TRT) scheme: The Union Budget 2019-20 introduced a Tax Refund for Tourists (TRT) scheme in countries like Singapore to encourage tourists for spending more in India and boost tourism.
      • Public Service Delivery System (PSDS): It is a web-based portal launched by the Ministry of Tourism. It provides all the applicants a single-window clearance system for approval of hotel projects and tracking their applications online on a real-time basis
  • Potential Of tourism In India
      • It is the largest employment generation sector in the world.1 out of 9 jobs are generated in tourism
      • India has 74% Himalayan mountains, 7500km coastline, only living desert in the World.
      • India is the birthplace of 4 religions in the world.
      • India is the birthplace of 4 religions in the world.
      • Also, 38 World Heritage Sites located in India of which 30 cultural sites, 7 natural sites, and 1 mixed site. 10 bio-geographical zones and 26 biotic provinces are located in India.
      • India has the sixth-largest number of world heritage sites in the world.
  • National Tourism Policy 2002:
    • A National Policy on Tourism was drafted in 2002, highlighting the importance of the Tourism sector and the objectives of tourism development in the country.
    • Drafted by the Ministry of Tourism, with the objective of positioning tourism as a major engine of economic growth.
    • The policy aims for harnessing the direct and multiplier effects of the Tourism Sector for employment and poverty eradication in an environmentally sustainable manner. 
    • Objectives of the National Tourism Policy, 2002:
      • Positioning the tourism sector as a major engine of economic growth.
      • To harness the direct and multiplier effects of the Tourism Sector for employment generation, poverty eradication, economic development and providing impetus to rural tourism.
      • Focussing domestic tourism as a major driver of tourism growth.
      • To acknowledge the critical role of the private sector with government working as a pro-active facilitator and catalyst.
      • Creating and developing integrated tourism circuits on the basis of a unique civilization, heritage, and culture of India, in partnership with state governments, private sectors, and other agencies.

 Major Challenges in Tourism Sector in India:

  • A cumbersome process for Visa facility: Many visitors in India find the e-visa facility, the process of applying for a visa as a cumbersome one.  
  • Low awareness: Low awareness of the e-visa facility makes the entry process quite difficult for tourists.
  • Limited entry on e-Visa: Limited number of repeat visits allowed under medical e-visa and number of accompanying persons. All the three conditions given above, affects the entry process of tourists to the country, hampering the tourism sector in India. 
  • Infrastructure and connectivity: Deficiencies in infrastructure like sanitation, living facilities, hotels, etc., and inadequate connectivity hamper tourist visits to heritage sites.
  • Skills Upgradation: Low skilled individuals for the tourism and hospitality sector is a major challenge for providing visitors a world-class experience.
  • Tourist circuits: India has various tourist destinations but few circuits or segments such as the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur).
  • Advertisement and marketing: A low degree of marketing strategy is a major concern for tourist places. Also, the campaigns for the places are poorly managed. All these things affect the tourism industry of the region.
  • Safety- Tourists have frequently been mugged and robbed or cheated in India and also have returned without any justice.
  • Sanitation and health- Lack of sanitation in cities has caused a negative impact on Indian food and public health care.
  • Access- Certain areas of India still lack electricity, access, and proper rest houses. Even access to information to domestic and foreign tourists is not at ease.
  • Environmental damage – Tourism has also caused environmental concerns in the hills and the beaches.

Way forward:

  • Increasing Functioning and powers of ASI in order to Preserve Historical Monuments.
  • Increasing the ambit of ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ at tourist places in India.
  • A Printed Guide or Booklet to be issued, containing details of historical monuments along with details of accommodation, how to reach etc, to be issued free of cost to tourists arriving in India.
  • Helpline numbers should be made available to contact in case of Emergency.
  • Increasing budgetary allocation of municipalities to carry out cleanliness drives in respective Monument areas.
  • The concept of tourism cities should be adopted, like the Smart Cities Mission, to highlight the tourist places to attract tourists

NITI Aayog’s New India@75 document has referred the following points to develop the tourism sector in India:

    • Infrastructure and connectivity
      • Hotels, resorts equipment, parks having project costs more than 1 crore should be notified as infrastructure and loans should be provided on a priority basis.
      • The use of CSR activities in Conservation and development of all heritage sites with the help of government or NGO can be undertaken and completed. The Ministry of Tourism’s Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD schemes are already undertaking the development and maintenance of heritage sites.
      • Use of  PPP model in the development of new destinations and leasing out existing infrastructure to private players. It will increase domestic tourist traffic.
      • Improve flight connectivity to tourist destinations through the timely implementation of the UDAN scheme and efficient transit hubs should be developed in Larger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. 
  • Entry/exit for tourism
      • Through consulates, awareness should be brought about e-visa by information campaigns.
      • The validity period of e-visas may be increased to 10 years to attract repeat visitors.
      • Increase the number of annual visits allowed under an e-medical visa. Currently, only three repeat visits are allowed during their one-year visa period. 
  • Construction of  tourist circuits: 
      • Marine leisure industry should be developed to attract tourists and national boating guidelines should be issued to regulate the industry for safety.
      • Promote river cruise tourism by making the entire stretch of National Waterway No. 1, the River Ganga, from Allahabad to the Farakka Barrage, fully navigable. Promotion of river cruise on all National Waterway.Ex.Allahabad to the Farakka Barrage.
      • Development of deep-water marinas in coastal areas like the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Scuba diving activities should be promoted. 
      • Through promotion, constructing wayside amenities and connecting lesser-known sites to core circuits tourism to the Buddhist circuits can be increased We should also fully utilize the Swadesh Darshan and existing schemes to promote this circuit.use Swadesh Darshan like schemes.
      • Development of Smart Tourist Destination Sites showcasing theme-based museums and heritage sites.
      • Development of “Model Swachh Tourist Destinations” by implementing a special clean-up initiative focused on all iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places in the country.
      • Development of Beach Destination as exclusive tourism zones.
    • Skill development 
      • Local communities should be encouraged to set up small enterprises to supply the services to the Tourism industry (accommodation, food, and material). Employment opportunities can be generated by hiring staff locally. 
      • For heritage conservation and restoration activities to create jobs local crafts-persons, masons, carpenters, and laborers should be hired. • Create a database of artisans based on the different craft forms they are associated with and the areas where they live.
      • Upgradation of the skills of existing workers such as taxi drivers, boat operators, guides and Dhaba workers through requisite training in state tourism departments. 
  • Advertisement and marketing:
    • Establishment of cultural centers in foreign countries to spread Indian culture worldwide.
    • To increase awareness regarding these centers create an online portal for all heritage sites.
    • Ticketing and access to monuments and museums.

Also read: Survey Calls For Tax Cuts, Space For Hotels In Infra Boost To Tourism

Kailash Mansarovar yatra (Indian Culture)

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deepak mehto
By deepak mehto October 8, 2019 15:05