Theme:

  • World Tourism Day is celebrated on the 27th of September every year across the globe and this year the official celebration of the 42nd edition of World Tourism Day will be held in Bali, Indonesia, with the theme of ‘Rethinking Tourism’.
  • Due to worries about safety and sanitation following the Covid-19 outbreak, the Indian tourism sector is finding it difficult to attract tourists.

Current Status of the Indian tourism sector:

  • India was ranked 10th in terms of contribution to World GDP by the World Travel and Tourism council’s 2019 report.
  • As of 2022, India has 40 World Heritage Sites, which is the sixth largest number of World Heritage Sites in the World.
  • The foreign exchange earnings from 2016 to 2019 grew at a CAGR of 7% but dipped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The tourism industry added 39 million jobs in total in FY20, accounting for 8% of all occupations in the nation. It is estimated to generate 53 million employment by 2029.

Challenges:

  • The Indian tourism industry is not able to recover as fast as Europe and the Middle East.
  • The bad economic condition of the world due Russia-Ukraine war represents a major risk for the tourism industry. The combination of increasing interest rates in all major economies, rising energy and food prices, and the growth prospects of global recession as indicated by the World Bank, are major threats to the recovery of International tourism.
  • India’s potential for tourism has not been fully realized. There are numerous travel destinations in India that are unexplored or difficult to attract tourists due to the lack of infrastructure, connectivity and necessary facilities like public toilets.
  • Over the years, India has gained the tag of a country that is unsafe for female tourists, even if it is not the case for many different parts of the country.
  • Given that the tourism industry is a labour-intensive sector, Practical training unquestionably plays a significant role. The availability of skilled labour has not changed throughout time, keeping up with the expansion of India’s tourism industry.
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Government Initiatives:

  • Swadesh Darshan Scheme, which aims to promote, develop and harness the potential of tourism in India.
  • Draft National Tourism Policy 2022, to encourage the citizens to travel widely within the country thus enabling the development of domestic tourism business.
  • Dekho Apna Desh’s to promote tourism to 15 destinations in the country, listed in the incredible India list.
  • National Green Tourism Mission, to provide insight and concern with the environment, and increase greater appreciation for nature.

Conclusion:

India has a lot of potential to attract tourists from all over the world considering India’s rich heritage and culture, unmatched variety of cuisine and breathtaking natural beauty. The recent challenges that India’s tourism sector is facing also provide us with an opportunity to rethink tourism in this modern day and invent new ways to enhance the tourism experience for the people. With the help of new technology advancements like 5G, AI and drone tech, India can think of new solutions to boost tourism and new ways to promote Indian tourism around the world. Tourism can be a vehicle for enhancing India’s soft power and attracting foreign revenue.

Photo by Chee Huey Wong

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