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Tourism in India

What is the current scenario of the tourism sector?

1. There is a good increase in the inflow of tourists both domestic as well as foreign in the last one year.

2. There is a 5.2% increase in the number of foreign tourists from 2017 to 2018.

3. The government of India has designated a large number of places under Swadesh Darshan Scheme for tourism under various themes, which are unique and specific to the area such as beaches, culture, heritage, wildlife, etc.

Why is the tourism sector important for India?

1. Tourism has great potential in India.

2. It is one of the largest employment generators in the world.

3. It is the only industry, which is highly labor-intensive.

4. One out of nine jobs that are going to be created in the world would be in the tourism industry.

Where are the opportunities and challenges?

Opportunities

1. India has 74% of the snow-covered Himalayan Mountains.

2. There is 7500 kilometers of coastline with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

3. Only India has the living desert in the world (Rajasthan), as all the other deserts in the world are dead deserts.

4. There is life, culture and colour in each and every part of India.

5. India is also the birthplace of four great religions-Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

6. Although Islam originated in the Middle east, Sufism, the spiritual side of Islam, flourished in India.

7. India is a holy land for Jews, Zoroastrians and Christians as well, due to which there is a huge potential for religious tourism.

8. There is also scope for adventure tourism, spiritual tourism, wellness tourism, etc.

Challenges

1. India has only 1.2% of the world share in tourism.

2. Foreign exchange earnings for India is 2% from tourism, which is double the world average but still, the total number of tourists who come to India is only about 10 million.

3. Ministry of Tourism has the vision to increase this number from 10 million to 20 million.

4. Outbound tourism from India is about 25 million, which is more than inbound tourism.

5. According to a UN study, there are 106 countries where crimes against women are much more than India, but India’s tourism industry is more affected because of this.

Which are the steps taken to improve the sector?

World Tourism Day

1. World Tourism Day is observed globally on 27th September every year.

2. India has been selected as the host country for celebration of World Tourism Day 2019 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

India Tourism Mart

1. India Tourism Mart is a B2B event, which had 160 exhibitors from across the country.

2. It aims to highlight the potential of the Indian tourism industry around the world and increase the footfall of foreign tourists in the country.

3. It included various State governments, tour operators and tourism service providers, showcasing their services.

UDAN Scheme

1. UDAAN Scheme of Ministry of Civil Aviation is extended for other countries (Guwahati to Bangkok) and other smaller locations.

2. This will open up the potential for tourism in the remotest areas of the country and smaller states.

Tax/Fee Incentives

1. The GST on five-star hotels has been reduced to 18% from 28%.

2. Visa fee on e-visa has been reduced to $40 from $80.

3. Fee for 30 days tourist visa has been reduced to $25, which will be $10 in the offseason.

Other Incentives

1. Indian government is giving a lot of incentives such as tax benefits for infrastructure development.

2. A lot of conventional centres and financial help is being provided to boost tourism infrastructure.

3. Homestay programs have been encouraged.

4. There are tourism awards for the cleanest areas around tourist circuits.

5. Tented accommodations, green tourism (stopping use of plastic, not leaving the trash behind) in areas that are environmentally fragile (river valleys and forests) are being given importance on a greater level.

6. Social workers and NGOs are working for differently-abled people and special packages for the disabled people are made available.

7. India should also make the package a little cheaper similar to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore.

How can a rise in inbound tourism benefit?

1. It will bring more foreign exchange and more jobs.

2. It will also lead to the promotion of Indian cuisine, culture, handicrafts, etc.