The Indian Tourism and Hospitality Industry has emerged as one of the key drivers of growth among the services sector in India. Tourism in India is a potential game changer. It is a sun rise industry, an employment generator, a significant source of foreign exchange for the country and an economic activity that helps local and host communities. India is a tourism product which is unparalleled in its beauty, uniqueness, rich culture and history has been aggressively pursuing the promotion of tourism both internationally as well as in the domestic market.
Indian tourism industry is thriving due to an increase in foreign tourist arrivals and greater number of Indians travelling to domestic destinations than before. In the past few years the real growth has come from within the domestic sector as around 30 million Indians travel within the country in a year. 68.48 Lakhs FTA in India 2013 .During 2012, the number of domestic tourist visits to the States/ UTs was 1036 million.
India’s demographic dividend of a younger population compared to developed countries is leading to greater expenditure on leisure services. Travel and tourism sector’s contribution to capital investment is projected to grow at 6.5 per cent per annum during 2013-2023, above the global average of five per cent.
The Ministry of Tourism promotes the country’s various tourism products through its tactile campaigns under the Incredible India brand- both for international as well as domestic markets. The budget allocated for the Domestic Promotion & Publicity and Overseas Promotion & Publicity including Marketing Development stood at INR 1.1 billion (USD 17.73 million) and INR 3.5 billion (USD 56.41 million) for the financial year 2013-14.
The ministry has set up a Hospitality Development and Promotion Board, which will monitor and facilitate hotel project approvals. The allocation for Ministry of Tourism in the Union Budget 2013-14 has been increased by INR 876.6 million (USD 14.13 million) to INR 12,976.6 million (USD 209.30 million).
There is a need to take steps to improve the present scenario of tourism that includes extending facility of visa-on-arrival to tourists from more countries, simple tax rules and ensuring safety of tourists. There is a need for better marketing and brand strategies to promote the sector. The cost of obtaining an Indian visa is prohibitive and we need to take a relook at it. Creation of an enabling environment for the sector’s growth would lead to rise in foreign tourists’ inflows and foreign exchange earnings, thus, contributing to economic growth. This would also lead to creation of additional jobs in the sector, which would create opportunities for all sections of the society and in turn lead to attaining an all-inclusive development.
The World Travel & Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated INR6.4 trillion or 6.6% of the nation's GDP in 2012. It supported 39.5 million jobs, 7.7% of its total employment. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.9% from 2013 to 2023. This gives India the third rank among countries with the fastest growing tourism industries over the next decade. India has a large medical tourism sector which is expected to grow at an estimated rate of 30% annually to reach about 95 billion by 2015.