Making India more Incredible is a reality waiting to happen; the Opportunity to make Indian tourism the mainstream engine of socioeconomic growth. Despite its rich treasure trove and high rankings in Natural & Cultural resources coupled with price competitiveness, India -the 5th largest economy in the world could only capture 1.24% of the World’s International Tourist Arrivals in 2019, despite the fact that India ranked 8th on Cultural Resources & Business Travel and 14th on Natural Resources on World Economic Forum Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2019 out of 140 countries. We, obviously have not been able to realise the true impact of Tourism and convert our natural advantages into potential economic advantages, said Mr. Nakul Anand, Chairman of the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) while addressing the National Conference of State Tourism Ministers at Dharmshala in Himachal Pradesh organized by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
As usual, he started his address with several interesting quotes from Puranas, Upanishads, and world history. “We meet together for a common cause. A cause that has provided livelihood and life to so many. It is our global calling card that truly unites the diversity of our country. There are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen. The Covid pandemic swept through the world and wreaked havoc like never before. It remains the worst crisis to hits the industry, ironically tourism relies on the same mobility that spreads the disease”.
Every storm, however, brings with itself seeds of opportunities. Opportunities are like Sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them. Uncertain times are the catalysts for reimagination and the opportunity also lies in seeing what everyone sees and imagining what no one has thought.
Archimedes saw the water level in his bathtub rise as he immersed himself. Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why. Gandhi questioned violence Buddha questioned desire Christ questioned revenge And the Wright Brothers questioned gravity.
He also reiterated the great opportunity to make Indian Tourism the mainstream engine of Socio-Economic growth through collective efforts. In our journey to the 100th anniversary of India’s Independence in 2047, it is more than possible to achieve 100 million Inbound Tourists and 10 billion Domestic Tourism Visits, with the potential employment of 150 million additional direct and indirect jobs pan India.
The FAITH chairman noted that the pandemic triggered consumers to make this the “Year of the Travel Reset”. He added the future is travelling slower and more mindfully by embracing regenerative travel, challenging over-tourism and correcting under-tourism, and experiencing inclusive destinations rooted in meaningful connections with Nature, community development, conservation, and sustainability while putting purpose first. “Travel will be less about where you go and when you go. More about who you are with and what you can do together from mass travel to meaningful travel. The year ahead will also see the rise of premium travel,” he shared.
Mr. Nakul Anand suggests various strong measures to achieve this futuristic vision and the strategic pillars and plans including the Shared National Tourism Vision, Value Accretive Regulation, Investment Drivers, and Market Excellence.
These can best be summed up in what we term as Keeping the “FAITH” in Our TEN to WIN. The top TEN ways to WIN are NATIONAL TOURISM COUNCIL- “One India – One Tourism”, GST amendments- “One Country – One Tax”, Infrastructure Sector and Industry Status- “Quality brings Quality”, Export Status “Globally Competitive”- Value & Volume, Classify Tourism in the Concurrent List, Domestic Travel Tax Credit- “Extend Benefits to ‘Aas Paas’Tourism”, Create Tourism Centres of Excellence, Sensitisation on importance of Tourism across all states’ officers, Seamless Tourism Transportation- “Standardise all inter-State road Taxes”, and Integrated Tourism Marketing Campaign between Centre and States.
He concluded his speech with Mark Twain’s famous quote, “India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”
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