The travel and tourism industry has supported over 25,400,000 jobs in 2016 i.e., 5.8 per cent of the total employment and has tremendous potential to rise by 2.5 per cent provided the budgetary allocation be enhanced from the current 0.9 per cent of the total allocation to at least 0.15 per cent in 2018-19.
"The formation of the National Tourism Authority (NTA) needs to be taken up on priority. The NTA could be the nodal agency for several activities like investment promotion, marketing, escalation resolutions, capturing and dissemination of more real-time tourism statistics, developmental planning and implementation coordination, extending support to State counterparts etc," said a spokesperson from the ASSOCHAM.
The total contribution of travel and tourism to the Indian GDP was USD 208.9 bn, which was 9.6 per cent of GDP in 2016, and is forecast to rise by 6.7 per cent in 2017 and 10.0 per cent of GDP in 2027.
Furthermore, the travel and tourism investment in 2016 accounted for 5.7 per cent of total investment (USD 34 Bn). It should rise by 4.5 per cent in 2017, and rise by 5.7 per cent p.a. over the next ten years to USD 61.8 bn in 2027, 5.7 per cent of the total.
India is fast developing into a medical and wellness tourism hub of Asia because of superior quality healthcare services at a low treatment cost. Treatment of major surgeries in India costs approximately 20 per cent of that in developed countries.
The creation of medical hubs through PPP will boost medical tourism. Wellness tourism should also be promoted by marketing indigenous methodologies such as yoga and Ayurveda.
India's tourism and foreign income earnings are also a direct function of its air service agreements. India has bilateral air service agreements and follows a liberal air transport policy relating to inbound international tourist charter operations.
Although the policy on inbound charters is hassle-free, operators face issues with airport infrastructure, slots and delays in obtaining permissions from the DGCA and other bodies, which have a detrimental impact on the tourism.
India witnessed 8 mn foreign tourist arrivals in CY2015, which has grown at a CAGR of 6.0 per cent during the period from CY2007 to CY2015.
As per the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) estimates, the number of foreign tourist arrivals is expected to rise up to 12 million by CY2019, growing at a CAGR of 9.2 per cent. (ANI)