New Delhi, April 7: India is one of the countries that is rich with culture and its natural resources. Foreigners from across the world are often wooed away with India’s abundance of flora and fauna. In fact, India stands unique as it continues to maintain the authenticity of the multi-cultural communities that range from Pahadis to Assamese to Marwaris to Goans, in short localites. India’s tourism has brought in huge economic benefits and job creation which has made it the 7th largest tourism economy in terms of GDP, as reported by WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council).
According to the new data, Travel & Tourism generated INR14.1 trillion (USD208.9 billion) in 2016, which is the world’s 7th largest in terms of absolute size, the sum is equivalent to 9.6% of India’s GDP.
In terms of foreign tourists arrivals, the non-natives from foreign land visit Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan the most, in the top-5 list.
India’s Travel & Tourism sector was also the fastest growing amongst the G20 countries, growing by 8.5% in 2016. A further 6.7% growth is forecast for 2017. India’s strong Travel & Tourism figures are predominantly generated by domestic travel, which accounts for 88% of the sector’s contribution to GDP in 2016.
Visitor exports, money spent by foreign travellers in India, only represents 12% of tourism revenues and in 2016 totalled INR1.5 trillion (USD22.8bn). This is 5.4% of the country’s total exports, compared to a global average of 6.6%.
Data from the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) shows that India received only 9 million international arrivals in 2016, placing it 40th in the world, and a tenth of those received by top-ranking France.
However, there is a lot of potential for India to grow their visitor exports. Over the past few months India has already starting to address this gap and made significant changes to visa facilitation, which will help to boost international arrivals.
States like Jammu and Kashmir received a strategic Jammu-Srinagar 30km national highway and Uttarakhand manoeuvred local festivals and melas to attact tourists and travelers. Elephanta caves in Maharashtra got 344cr for planning tourism development.
WTTC data suggests that visitor exports will grow by 5.4% in 2017. David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, said: “India is a tremendous Travel & Tourism economy and I am pleased to see the sector GDP is growing. However, we believe that these numbers could be even higher, and that the positive impact of our sector could be more wide-ranging. India has a huge potential to increase its international visitors and, in doing so, it can create more jobs and drive economic growth. We encourage the Indian government to continue to adopt policies that encourage travellers, such as the new visa regime, enable investment in vital infrastructure, and allow companies to do business. India is a beautiful and diverse tourism destination, with the right policies in place it will no doubt continue to grow towards ranking even higher in terms of its tourism economy.”