New Delhi : From the snow-capped mountains to the majestic oceans, India has lots to offer to the wanderlusts. Looking at that potential the Indian government has allocated a whopping Rs 2,400 crore for the tourism sector in its latest budget.
With a total area of 3,287,263 sq km extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south, India has a rich cultural and historical heritage, variety in ecology, terrains and places of natural beauty spread across the country. This provides a significant opportunity to fully exploit the potential of the tourism sector.
It is widely acknowledged that the tourist and hospitality sector, which encompasses travel and hospitality services like hotels and restaurants, is a development agent, a catalyst for socioeconomic growth, and a significant source of foreign exchange gains in many countries.
India's rich and exquisite history, culture, and diversity are showcased through tourism while also providing significant economic benefits.
The consistent efforts of the central and the state governments have helped the tourism industry to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic shock and operate at the pre-pandemic level, wrote India Brand Equity Foundation.
Out of the total Rs 2,400 crore allocated to the Ministry of Tourism, a major portion of the outlay amounting to Rs 1,742 crore is allocated for the development of Tourism infrastructure and an amount of Rs 242 crore for promotion and branding.
An outlay of Rs 1,412 crore has been allocated for the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. Swadesh Darshan is a flagship scheme of the Ministry of Tourism.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that with an integrated and innovative approach, 50 tourist destinations would be developed for providing a wholesome tourism experience providing physical, digital and virtual connectivity, availability of tourist guides and tourist security.
Such destinations would be developed as a complete package under the 'Swadesh Darshan Scheme'. An integrated and innovative 'Vibrant Village Programme' for developing tourism infrastructure and facilities in border villages has been proposed.
An amount of Rs 250 crores has been allocated for the PRASHAD Scheme. The PRASHAD Scheme aims for the holistic development of selected pilgrimage destinations in the country.
The Champion Service Sector Scheme has been provided with an allocation of Rs 196.22 crore.
Allocation of Rs 105 crore has been made for Human Resource Development and capacity building to meet the requirement of trained manpower in the tourism and hospitality sector.
The Ministry has earmarked an allocation of Rs 229 crore for tourism infrastructure, and promotion of North-Eastern States under this year's Budget allocation.
The Finance Minister announced that an App will be developed covering all relevant aspects of tourism. States will be encouraged to set up Unity Malls in State Capital as the most prominent tourism centres to promote One District One Product, GI products, handicrafts and products of other states.
According to WTTC, India is ranked 10th among 185 countries in terms of travel & tourism's total contribution to GDP in 2019. During 2019, the contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was 6.8 per cent of the total economy, Rs 1,368,100 crore (USD 194.30 billion).
In 2020, the Indian tourism sector accounted for 39 million jobs, which was 8 per cent of the total employment in the country.
The travel market in India is projected to reach USD 125 billion by FY27 from an estimated USD 75 billion in FY20.
The Indian airline travel market was estimated at approximately USD 20 billion and is projected to double in size by FY27 due to improving airport infrastructure and growing access to passports.
The Indian hotel market including domestic, inbound and outbound was estimated at approximately USD32 billion in FY20 and is expected to reach approximately USD52 billion by FY27, driven by the surging demand from travellers and sustained efforts of travel agents to boost the market.