- Tourism is a major engine of economic growth in most parts of the world. Several countries have transformed their economies using the tourism potential the fullest.
- Tourism has great capacity to create large scale employment of diverse kind – from the most specialised to the unskilled and all of us know that generation of massive productive employment opportunities is what India needs the most.
- Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses a growing number of new destinations. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress.
- Today, the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, food products or automobiles. Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income sources for many developing countries. This growth goes hand in hand with an increasing diversification and competition among destinations.
- The growing influence of the tourism sector as an economic powerhouse and its potential as a tool for development are irrefutable. Not only does the tourism sector spearhead growth, it also improves the quality of people’s lives with its capacity to create large scale employment of diverse kind. It supports environmental protection, champions diverse cultural heritage and strengthens peace in the world.
- India as a nation offers diversity within its unity, not only in terms of its tribes, cultures, faiths, and ways of life but also in terms of its tourism potential.
- India has a lot to offer in terms of historical monuments, geographical diversity, climate variances, and the wonders of nature.
- The tourism sector contributes around 9% of the country’s GDP. It has its share in employment, revenue, and forex reserves.
- India’s third-largest source of foreign exchangeis the tourism and hotel industry.
- India’s tourism industry is a significant economic multiplier and is getting more crucial as the nation aims for rapid economic growth and the creation of employment opportunities.
Types of Tourismin India
- Leisure time can be defined as “free time”, not doing any work. It is that time to do things that you normally have no time for in your daily life.
- Leisure tourism includes a holiday with the following:
- Relaxation: Sleep, relax, reading, walk on the beach, taking a scenic drive
- Sport activities: hiking, swimming, surfing, running.
- Visit places of interest and local attractions.
- Visiting friends and relatives.
- Shopping for goods that will be used by the tourist.
- Businesstourism can be defined as “travel for the purpose of business”.
- Business Tourismcan be divided into three sections:-
- Trading for goods to be resold on a wholesale basis.
- Conduct businesstransactions eg. visiting a client, contract negotiations.
- Attending a conference, exhibition or event associated with their business.
- The rich diversity in the flora and fauna with a blessing of the beautiful natural attractions has encouraged Ecological Tourismin India.
- The forests cover on the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Orissa, Meghalaya and the Malabar Coast;the Kaziranga and Jim Corbette wildlife sanctuaries;the mountain ranges in North India and the hill stations, Kashmir, the beautiful beaches at Goa and the backwaters of Kerala and much more is nothing but a feast for all nature lovers.
- India being the most culturally developed country and the birthplace of many saints, poets and philosophers has marked growth in Pilgrimage Tourismsince ancient times itself.
- Kedarnath, Badrinath, Amarnath, the Golden Temple at Amritsar, Dwarka, Dargahs and Masjids at Delhi and Ajmer, churches and temples at Goa are some of the common tourists’ attractions pertaining to Pilgrimage tourism
- India is a land which gave birth to many legendary rulers and warriors creating a glorious historical background. Every city or place in India has a story to tell about its history.
- The common tourists’ attractions for the same include the Taj Mahal at Agra, the beautifully carved Ajanta Ellora and Khajuraho caves, the forts at Delhi, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
- Medical Tourismis an upcoming kind of tourism in India.
- Due to low cost and efficient medication facilities more number of people all over the world considers India to be a better option for medication purpose.
Ayurveda and YogaTourism
- Ayurveda may be regarded as the “Science of Life” which was developed long ago in 600 BC. The state of Kerala in South India is the popular destination of Ayurveda Tourism.
- The main focus of Indian Yogais nothing but simple ‘yogasanas’ and meditation which rejuvenates one’s mind, body and soul. There are many Ashrams in India encouraging Yoga
- Due to its geographical diversity India is one of the finest places for Adventure Tourism.
- Mountaineering, skiing, trekking in the ranges of Himalayas, Camel safaris in Rajasthan, River rafting in the Ganges near Rishikesh, Rock climbing, Wind rafting and much more of an adventure for every adventure lover is bestowed by India upon its Tourists.
- Sports tourismrefers to international travel either for viewing or participating in a sporting event. Examples include international sporting events such as the Olympics, world cup (soccer, rugby, and cricket), tennis, golf and Formula 1 Grand Prix.
- Wildlife tourismis the observation of wild (non-domestic) animals in their natural environment or in captivity.
- It includes activities such as photography, viewing and feeding of animals. This form of tourismoffer tourists customized tour packages and safaris and is closely associated with eco-tourism and sustainable-tourism.
Importance of the Tourism Sector
- It recognizes India’s historical and cultural sites, enabling greater protection and preservation.
- Tourism has the potential to be a vehicle for regional development due to the significant amount of money that traveling tourists bring in.
- It brings social equality as it moves areas with an absence of growth-promoting industries toward more inclusive, equitable
- It raises awareness of the region on a global scale and draws attention to its underlying socio-economic issues.
- It pushes the service industry. With the expansion of the tourism industry, there are an increasing number of companies that will be benefitted from the service sector.
- A growing tourism industry is a driving force behind development, necessitating adequate infrastructure. Example: The mobile tourism caravans in Uttarakhand.
- The railroad, aviation, and real estate sectors are also supported.
- Tourism also provides an opportunity for foreign hotel and tourism groups to establish themselves in India. The influx of tourists benefits small companies in tourist areas.
- It creates jobs for tour operators and the hospitality industry.
- It develops a connection with other nations regarding India’s attraction and contributes to India’s soft power.
- It aids in the search for funds on a global scale for the protection and repair of the monuments and the area.
- It enables India to promote its biodiversityand important animals, such as tigers, red pandas, and wild asses.
- It can also aid in drawing attention to Indian wildlife issues on a worldwide scale and aid in the effort to raise money.
- It helps in bringing India on global map of tourism, earning appreciation, recognition and initiates cultural exchange.
- Tourism as a form of soft power,helps in promoting cultural diplomacy, people to people connect and thereby promotes friendship and cooperation between India and other countries.
Impact of Tourism on the Economy
- Tourism can bring many economic and social benefits, particularly in rural areas and developing countries, but mass tourism is also associated with negative effects.
- Tourism can only be sustainable if it is carefully managed so that potential negative effects on the host community and the environment are not permitted to outweigh the financial benefits.
- Tourism industry in India has several positive and negative impacts on the economy and society. These impacts are highlighted below.
Positive Impacts of Tourism
- Generating Income and Employment:Tourism in India has emerged as an instrument of income and employment generation, poverty alleviation and sustainable human development. It contributes 6.23% to the national GDP and 9.3% of the total employment in India. More than 20 million people are now working in the India’s tourism industry.
- Source of Foreign Exchange Earnings:Tourism is an important source of foreign exchange earnings in India. This has favorable impact on the balance of payment of the country.
- Preservation of National Heritage and Environment:Tourism helps preserve several places which are of historical importance by declaring them as heritage sites. For instance, the Taj Mahal, the Qutab Minar, Ajanta and Ellora temples, etc. would have been decayed and destroyed, if the efforts had not been taken by Tourism Department to preserve them. Likewise, tourism also helps in conserving the natural habitats of many endangered species.
- Developing Infrastructure:Tourism tends to encourage the development of multiple-use infrastructure that benefits the host community, including various means of transports, health care facilities and sports centers, in addition to the hotels and high-end restaurants that cater to foreign visitors. The development of infrastructure has in turn induced the development of other directly productive activities.
- Promoting Peace and Stability:The tourism industry can also help promote peace and stability in developing country like India by providing jobs, generating income, diversifying the economy, protecting the environment and promoting cross-cultural awareness. However, key challenges like adoption of regulatory frameworks, mechanisms to reduce crime and corruption, etc, must be addressed if peace-enhancing benefits from this industry are to be realized.
Negative Impacts of Tourism
- Undesirable Social and Cultural Change:Tourism sometimes led to the destruction of the social fabric of a community. The more tourists coming into a place, the more the perceived risk of that place losing its identity. A good example is Goa. From the late 60’s to the early 80’s when the Hippy culture was at its height, Goa was a haven for such hippies. Here they came in thousands and changed the whole culture of the state leading to a rise in the use of drugs, prostitution and human trafficking. This had a ripple effect on the country.
- Increase Tension and Hostility:Tourism can increase tension, hostility, and suspicion between the tourists and the local communities when there is no respect and understanding for each other’s culture and way of life. This may further lead to violence and other crimes committed against the tourists. The recent crime committed against Russian tourist in Goa is a case in point.
- Creating a Sense of Antipathy:Tourism brought little benefit to the local community. In most all-inclusive package tours more than 80% of travelers’ fees go to the airlines, hotels and other international companies, not to local businessmen and workers. Moreover, large hotel chain restaurants often import food to satisfy foreign visitors and rarely employ local staff for senior management positions, preventing local farmers and workers from reaping the benefit of their presence. This has often created a sense of antipathy towards the tourists and the government.
- Adverse Effects on Environment and Ecology:One of the most important adverse effects of tourism on the environment is increased pressure on the carrying capacity of the ecosystem in each tourist locality. Increased transport and construction activities led to large scale deforestation and destabilization of natural landforms, while increased tourist flow led to increase in solid waste dumping as well as depletion of water and fuel resources. Flow of tourists to ecologically sensitive areas resulted in destruction of rare and endangered species due to trampling, killing, disturbance of breeding habitats. Noise pollution from vehicles and public address systems, water pollution, vehicular emissions, untreated sewage, etc. also have direct effects on biodiversity, ambient environment and general profile of tourist spots.
- Entry/exit: Despite the introduction of an e-visa facility, visitors find the process of applying for a visa still cumbersome. Further, awareness about the e-visa facility remains low. In addition, medical e-visa holders face difficulties because of the limited number of repeat visits allowed under the visa, the number of accompanying persons permitted and cumbersome registration processes.
- Infrastructure and Connectivity: Deficiencies in infrastructure and inadequate connectivity hamper tourist visits to some heritage sites
- Safety and Security Of Tourists: Especially of the foreign tourists, is a major hurdle to the tourism development. Attacks on foreign nationals raise questions about India’s ability to welcome tourists from far away countries.
- Communication: Many tourists face communication problem while in India. This makes them dependent on tourist guides or travel operators to curate their travel in India.
- Lack of Skilled Manpower: is another challenge to Tourism Industry in India.
- Absence of Basic Amenities: Like drinking water, well maintained toilets, first aid, cafeteria etc. at tourist places.
- Seasonality in Tourism: With the busy season being limited to six months from October to March and heavy rush in November and December.
- Tourism Segments or Circuits: India has various tourist destinations but few circuits or segments such as the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra- Jaipur), are well connected.
- Promotion and Marketing: Although it has been increasing, online marketing/branding remains limited and campaigns are not coordinated. Tourist information centres are poorly managed, making it difficult for domestic and foreign tourists to access information with ease.
- Skills: The number of adequately trained individuals for the tourism and hospitality sector is a key challenge to giving visitors a worldclass experience. A limited number of multi-lingual trained guides and the limited local awareness and understanding of the benefits and responsibilities associated with tourist growth act as constraints on the sector’s growth.
- The Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification (IITFC) Porta: It is an online programme where one can learn about tourism at their own time, space, path and pace. The successful completion of this programme would enable the learner to become a Certified Tourist Facilitator of Ministry of Tourism, government of India.
- Facilitative Visa Regime: is a prerequisite for increasing inbound tourism.
- Incredible India 2.0 Campaign: of the Ministry marks a shift from the generic promotions being undertaken across the world to market specific promotional plans and content creation.
- Incredible India Website: to promote to and engage with travelers.
- National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) Scheme: Integrated development of identified pilgrimage destinations (includes employment generation) has been undertaken under this scheme.
- Swadesh Darshan Scheme: The Ministry of Tourism assists State Governments in developing the infrastructure for 13 theme-based circuits that have been designated. The Swadesh Darshanand PRASHAD schemes are designed to promote expansion in specialized tourism markets such as wildlife, adventure, wellness, and religious travel.
- The Swachh Bharat Movement:has started a significant cleaning campaign to safeguard and maintain the sacredness of national historic monuments.
- All India Permit Rules 2021:Under the All India Permit Rules 2021, a tourist vehicle operator may apply online for an All India Tourist Authorization/Permit.
- Dekho Apna Desh:On November 28, 2020, a webinar series entitled “12 Months of Adventure Travel” is projected to market India as an adventure tourism destination.
- Adopt a Heritage Project: plans to entrust heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for the development of various tourist amenities.
- Online Learning Management System: for creating skilled manpower to work as tourist facilitators.
- A rapid and massive movement of tourists within a shorter span of tourist season puts a heavy pressure on tourist resources. The usage of tourist attractions is likely to be damaged beyond repair and their life span may even get shortened. Their popularity suffers a loss, the number of tourist arrivals gradually falls and generation of job comes to a halt.
- There is the degeneration of tourist spots because of the overuse or misuse of their resources. The growth of tourist culture demands to practice tourism on sustainable basis.
- A sustainable tourism allows exploiting tourist resources for a long time and never brings a full stop to the creation of job opportunities. Sight seers in summer tourist resorts keep people engaged in tourist occupations. In high altitude areas of the Himalaya, the induction of winter tourism and keeping people occupied in replenishing the stock of the cottage industry products for sale in the next peak season have offered them sustenance all the year round. To keep alive the tourist friendly activities in all tourist areas is the life and blood of sustainable tourism. Prolonging the conservation of environmental attraction by avoiding anything which is fatal to it encourages people to derive their living continuously from tourist occupations.
- Eco-tourism or environment friendly tourist activity forms a core segment of sustainable tourism. It requires preserving the ecology and local cultures of an area. A good quality of air and water, well maintained biodiversity and organised human efforts are the major components of eco-tourism.
- Faster development of all sort of infrastructure (physical, social and digital) is a need of hour.
- Safety of tourists is a priority. An official guide system can be launched for tourists.
- Encourage private sector involvement in the construction of tourist amenities in interior and less traveled locations.
- Indian Residents should be motivated to treat tourists well, so that tourists don’t face any type of fraud.
- It is important to strike a balance between promoting tourism and preserving the natural, social, and cultural environments in the destinations. To address concerns with the water crisis, pollution, waste management, and other related challenges, the government should also promote eco-friendly and sustainable tourism.
- Promotion of other forms of Tourism like Medical Tourism, Adventure Tourism, Organic Toursim etc. to solve the problem of seasonality. Off-season concession is another solution.
- India’s size and massive natural, geographic, cultural and artistic diversity offers enormous opportunities. Indian Tourism industry should play on that.
- Making use of social media to promote Indian tourist destinations online to both domestic and international visitors.
- Rationalizing inner line permits and extending visas on arrival and visa regulations to other countries to provide access for foreigners from other nations.
- Emphasize underserved areas to tap the vast potential of the region. For example, North Eastern region.
- Greater coordination at the state and local levels will help India’s rural tourism industry grow and generate more revenue for the area.
- To genuinely guarantee a seamless tourist transportation experience, all interstate road taxes must be standardized.
- As a travel destination, few other nations can offer the diversity of products and experiences found in India. The travel and tourism industry offers significant opportunity for fulfillment of key national growth imperatives including employment generation across all regions of the country, and growth in the sector can contribute to overall economic development in the country.
- However, tourism in India, though growing consistently, is yet to realize its full potential due to several challenges that plagued the sector. Alleviation of these challenges will be essential for the industry to realize its full potential.
The Tourism Sector has huge untapped potential in India. The multiplier effect associated with the tourism sector can help raise the income levels and ensure inclusive growth. A burgeoning tourism industry can prove to be vital in ensuring India’s transition to a high income economy.