Tourism in India is important for the country’s economy and is growing rapidly. The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated ₹15.24 lakh crore (US$210 billion) or 9.4% of India‘s GDP in 2017 and supported 41.622 million jobs, 8% of its total employment. The sector is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 6.9% to ₹32.05 lakh crore (US$450 billion) by 2028 (9.9% of GDP). In October 2015, India’s medical tourism sector was estimated to be worth US$3 billion, and it is projected to grow to US$7–8 billion by 2020. In 2014, 184,298 foreign patients traveled to India to seek medical treatment.
Over 10 million foreign tourists arrived in India in 2017 compared to 8.89 million in 2016, representing a growth of 15.6%. Domestic tourist visits to all states and union territories numbered 1,036.35 million in 2012, an increase of 16.5% from 2011. In 2014, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh were the most popular states for tourists. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Agra and Jaipur were the five most visited cities of India by foreign tourists during the year 2015. Worldwide, Delhi is ranked 28th by the number of foreign tourist arrivals, while Mumbai is ranked 30th, Chennai 43rd, Agra 45th, Jaipur 52nd and Kolkata 90th.
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report for the year 2017, ranked India 40th out of 136 countries overall. The report ranks the price competitiveness of India’s tourism sector 10th out of 136 countries. It mentions that India has quite good air transport (ranked 32nd), particularly given the country’s stage of development, and reasonable ground transport infrastructure (ranked 29th). The country also scores high on natural and cultural resources (ranked 9th). However, some other aspects of its tourism infrastructure remain somewhat underdeveloped. The nation has very few hotel rooms per capita by international comparison and low ATM penetration. The World Tourism Organization reported that India’s receipts from tourism during 2012 ranked 16th in the world, and 7th among Asian and Pacific countries.
The Ministry of Tourism designs national policies for the development and promotion of tourism. In the process, the Ministry consults and collaborates with other stakeholders in the sector including various central ministries/agencies, state governments, union territories and private sector representatives. Concerted efforts are being made to promote niche tourism products such as rural, cruise, medical and eco-tourism. The Ministry of Tourism maintains the Incredible India campaign focused on promoting the tourism in India.
Medical Tourism in India
Medical tourism is a growing sector in India. In October 2015, India’s medical tourism sector was estimated to be worth US$3 billion. It is projected to grow to $7–8 billion by 2020. According to the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the primary reason that attracts medical value travel to India is cost-effectiveness, and treatment from accredited facilities at par with developed countries at much lower cost. The Medical Tourism Market Report: 2015 found that India was “one of the lowest cost and highest quality of all medical tourism destinations, it offers wide variety of procedures at about one-tenth the cost of similar procedures in the United States.”
Foreign patients travelling to India to seek medical treatment in 2012, 2013 and 2014 numbered 171,021, 236,898, and 184,298 respectively. Traditionally, the United States and the United Kingdom have been the largest source countries for medical tourism to India. However, according to a CII-Grant Thornton report released in October 2015, Bangladeshis and Afghans accounted for 34% of foreign patients, the maximum share, primarily due to their close proximity with India and poor healthcare infrastructure. Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) accounted for 30% share of foreign medical tourist arrivals. Other major sources of patients include Africa and the Middle East, particularly the Persian Gulf countries. In 2015, India became the top destination for Russians seeking medical treatment. Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and the National Capital Region received the highest number of foreign patients primarily from South Eastern countries.
Ministry of Tourism (India)
The Ministry of Tourism, a branch of the Government of India, is the apex body for formulation and administration of the rules, regulations and laws relating to the development and promotion of tourism in India. The head of the ministry is Minister of Tourism, a Minister of State (Independent Charge), held by Alphons Kannanthanam Since September 2017.To promote the GDP of the country indirectly and to have friendly relations with them, The Government of India announced officially a Visa on Arrival status/facility for International Visitors to enter/visit India from 43 countries including United States, Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Vanuatu, Singapore, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Russian Federation, Brazil, Finland, Germany, Japan, Myanmar on 27 November 2014 and some more countries to follow soon.
The Ministry of Tourism’s joint secretary Amitabh Kant collaborated with Ogilvy & Mather to create the Incredible India marketing initiative, aiming to promote India’s image as a high-end tourist destination.
Union Tourism Ministry is planning to introduce “Cleanliness Index” for all cities in India. This index will declare the best performers which will motivate other cities to work on this aspect of their appeal. The methodology has been already formulated and will be implemented in 6 cities on a pilot basis.
A number of educational institutions related to hospitality are governed by Ministry of Tourism. This include the Institutes of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition (IHMCTAN). In 2016, a few of the IHMCTANs (Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Jaipur) driven by inputs from Ministry of Tourism, started giving a hotel management student the option to choose only vegetarian cooking. Earlier, it was compulsory for all IHMCTAN students to learn non-vegetarian cooking. This decision to offer a vegetarian option by IHMCTANs could possibly be the first amongst any of the hospitality training institutes of the world.
Reference Link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_India
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