Tourism: 50 travel destinations to boost revenue?
In a bid to bolster the tourism sector of India, the government is working on a holistic plan to identify 50 travel destinations that will appear on every tourist’s list.
To support the vision, the creation of an information-driven app for tourists, Vibrant Village Programme and setting up of “Unity Malls” in state capitals to promote local handicrafts and products are under process.
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The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi addressed a Post Budget Webinar on the subject of “Developing Tourism in Mission Mode” on 3rd March 2023. The PM emphasized the tourism industry stakeholders to think out of the box and identify 50 tourist destinations that will top the list of travelers around the globe.
Throwing light on the parameters before a tourist destination is developed, he also listed out the potential of the place, ease of travelling and new ways to promote the destination. The PM highlighted the huge scope of tourism in the country and listed out coastal tourism, beach tourism, mangrove tourism, Himalayan tourism, adventure tourism, wildlife tourism, eco-tourism, heritage tourism, spiritual tourism, wedding destinations, sports tourism and tourism via conferences. He also mentioned Ramayan Circuit, Buddha Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Northeast Circuit and pilgrimages of all saints, and stressed the need to work together collectively.
Highlighting some positive changes, the PM stated that the foreign tourist arrivals rose from 200,000 in January 2022 to 800,000 in January 2023. Over 1.5 million devotees have visited Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand as compared to only 400,000-500,000 before the completion of reconstruction work there.
India is ranked 54th in World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Development Index (2021). By 2030, India is expected to contribute US$ 250 billion GDP from Tourism, create 137 million jobs, generate US$56 billion Foreign Exchange Earnings and host 25 million foreign arrivals.
By 2028, Indian tourism and hospitality sector is expected to earn US$50.9 billion from visitor exports compared to US$ 28.9 billion in 2018. International tourist arrivals are expected to reach 30.5 million by 2028.
Over the last few years, India has successfully built extensive tourism infrastructure worth approximately US$ 1 billion (INR 7,000 crore) to improve tourist experience.
While foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) experienced a negative growth rate in 2021, Non-resident Indians (NRI) and International Tourist Arrivals (ITA) experienced positive growth. On a YoY basis, arrivals of NRIs have increased by 52.6% in 2021. In comparison to 2020, there was a 10.6% increase in yearly international tourist arrivals in India in 2021. The top nations that accounted for approximately 80.9% of total FTAs in India are:
Top source markets for FTAs in India, 2021
|South East Asia||2.52|
|Center and South America||0.45|
Source: Ministry of Tourism
The Union Budget 2023-24 highlighted Tourism as one of the major sectors contributing to the overall economy, since the country has immense attractions for both domestic and foreign tourists. The tourism sector has been allocated a whopping ₹ 2400 crores, out of which a major portion of the outlay amounting to ₹ 1,742 crore is allocated for the development of Tourism infrastructure and an amount of ₹ 242 crore for promotion and branding.
The Budget 2023 announced various schemes to indirectly aid the tourism sector, some of which are listed below:
- PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PMVIKAS): Under the PMVIKAS program, a package of assistance has been conceptualized for encouraging traditional arts and handicrafts. The components of the scheme will support access to advanced skill training, knowledge of modern digital techniques and efficient green technologies, brand promotion, linkage with local and global markets, digital payments and social security.
- Amrit Dharohar: Under this scheme, the government aims to promote their unique conservation values. The scheme will be implemented over the next three years to encourage optimal use of wetlands, and enhance bio-diversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism opportunities and income generation for local communities.
- Viability gap funding to promote coastal shipping: Under this program, coastal shipping will be promoted as the energy efficient and lower cost mode of transport, both for passengers and freight, through PPP mode with viability gap funding.
- Support to MSMEs – Since most of the tourists are keen to see the culture of India, the support given to MSMEs will indirectly benefit the tourism industry. The Budget has proposed revamping the credit guarantee scheme for the MSMEs. The revamped scheme will take effect from 1st April 2023 through infusion of ₹ 9,000 crores in the corpus. Micro enterprises with turnover up to ₹ 2 crore and professionals with turnover of up to ₹ 50 lakh can avail the benefit of presumptive taxation. The Budget has proposed to provide enhanced limits of ₹ 3 crore and ₹ 75 lakh respectively.
To kick-start the mission towards boosting the tourism sector, the government is organizing a series of post budget webinars on “Developing Tourism in Mission Mode” with an aim to brainstorm ideas for effective implementation of the initiatives announced in the Union Budget 2023.
Highlighting the main objective of these webinars, the PM stated, “the discussions will maximize the output of the budget as well as its timely implementation. These webinars work as a catalyst in achieving the goals set during the budget”. He further emphasized the stakeholders to align themselves with the strategic decisions taken by the government.