Tourism in India has been on a steady rise for the past few decades. The homeland of Hinduism, the birthplace of Buddhism, the Taj Mahal, the music and poetry, art and literature, colors and culture are few of the million things that make India one of the most popular destinations in the world. Many that have visited the place will refer to India as a “one stop shop” for natural beauty, the Mountains (Himalayan Range), the Desert (Rajasthan and Gujarat), the Jungles of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, the Beaches of Goa, the Backwaters of Kerala, the Mangroves of Sunderbans and the Coral Reef of Lakshadweep.
Inbound tourism in India has shown substantial growth during the past decade due to economic development. Service industry and corporate travel are making tourism a lucrative business and this trend is expected to continue.
- Foreign tourist arrivals in India stood at 5.6 million in 2010 as compared to 5.2 million in 2009, posting a 8.1% Y-o-Y growth
- Foreign Exchange collections from international tourists stood at USD 14.1 billion in 2010 as compared to USD 11.9 billion in 2009, recording 18.1% growth in trend.
- India ranks #14 in the ‘Best Tourist Destinations in the world for Human, Cultural and Natural Resources’ list.
- Renowned Hotels in India such as The Oberoi and The Taj Hotels contribute to the growth of tourism.
- The industry is expected to grow continually at the rate of 8.2% for the next 10 years. It will also become the fifth fastest-growing tourist destination in the world by 2019 (The Financial Express, 2010).
The Government of India has undertaken various campaigns and activities for its development of tourism. Being one of the biggest employers and fastest-growing industries in India, the government of India is ensuring a healthy and sustainable growth in the demand. Some of the recent initiatives include:
- Incredible India Campaign: One of the most popular advertising campaigns in the country, Incredible India! has been in the running for the past 10 years. The campaign takes the viewer to various locations across India while educating him about the MUST-VISIT places, challenges he will face as a traveler and about the Indian culture. It has been airing in various countries and has garnered a lot of critical and public acclaim.
- International Games: India has now been hosting a lot of international games and events, such as the Common Wealth Games (2010), Asian Games (2011), Formula One Race (2011), etc. Developing the venue and accommodation complex for such games require substantial investments, sometimes to the tune of billions of Dollars.
- ITAO initiatives: the Indian Travel Agents’ Association offers attractive discounts and freebies such as free air tickets on purchase of 1, free city sight-seeing tour and easy air travel facility. International travelers are not only looking for price competitiveness, but also convenience in travelling.
Apart from these initiatives, operators in the country have also joined hands for promotion of various categories of tourism like Medical tourism, Eco tourism and Education Tourism. Medical tourism is emerging as one of the most popular type of tourism in the country. Lower costs, reliable medical facility and credible doctors continue to make India the best destination for medical tourism in the world.
The road ahead
The Indian tourism industry will become the second largest employer in the world, employing over 40 million people by 2019. It will continue to be a significant contributor to India’s revenues and foreign exchange reserves. Furthermore, economic development will trigger more demand for travel for local people.
- The Financial Express (2010). Demand for travel, tourism to grow by 8.2pc in current decade. [online]. Available at http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=90540&date=2010-01-26 Last accessed on 3rd March 2012.