According to a new report published by the World Economic Forum, Incredible India 2.0 – India’s $20 Billion Tourism Opportunity, estimates that, with a growth in international arrivals to 20 million a year in India, the country’s tourism sector could incrementally grow by more than $19 billion and lead to the creation of up to 1 million additional jobs, which was launched at the just concluded India Economic Summit at New Delhi from October 4-6, 2018. .
Report described that, India is now one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world, with domestic demand reaching nearly 100 million passengers. Yet, annual international arrivals have remained relatively low, at 9 million. Against these findings, Indian policy-makers and industry experts have joined forces to achieve the objective of welcoming over 15 million foreign tourists annually by 2025 and becoming the world’s largest aviation market by 2030.
“The travel and tourism industry has the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives by driving growth, creating jobs, and fostering development and tolerance,” said Tiffany Misrahi, Community Lead of the Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries at the World Economic Forum. “India has tremendous untapped potential, and has the opportunity to reach its goals should it prioritize the industry and focus on implementing policies and solutions that build demand and create adequate supply.”
To realize its potential in the sector, according to the report, India needs to:
· Enhance reality and perception of India as a safe destination by improving security protocols
· Invest in both physical and digital infrastructure to confront the issue of last-mile connectivity
· Invest in its labour force to provide a quality product to tourists by training skilled and unskilled workers in the hospitality industry through both public and private programmes
· Address hazardous road travel and lack of affordable hotels, which hamper international travellers’ experience
Highlight unique travel opportunities for cruise tourism and eco-tourism to 600,000 villages, which have their own cultures and heritage
Integrate the “Incredible India” concept into a holistic campaign that includes not only print, but also other channels such as digital, social, placement, review sites and global media, and focuses on the positives of visitor-created content while addressing the challenges these visitors report
The report proposes the creation of a tourism board and development of a public-private pilot in one Indian state to develop its value proposition and destinations.
A tourism board could support India’s travel and tourism industry by enhancing industry coordination, providing joint messaging, building talent, driving forward industry-wide policy recommendations, and enacting change through policies as well as public-private policy initiatives and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises.
A state-level approach to create demand and build adequate supply in states that have traditionally welcomed fewer tourists could complement a more holistic nation-wide approach.
The India Economic Summit is hosted by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) – partners for more than three decades – under the theme Creating Indian Narratives on Global Challenges. The summit, taking place in New Delhi on 4-6 October, will welcome more than 650 participants from over 35 countries. The Co-Chairs of the summit are: Ajay S. Banga, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mastercard, USA; Dipali Goenka, Chief Executive Officer and Joint Managing Director, Welspun India, India; Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Coal of India; Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Textiles, Information and Broadcasting of India; Malvika Iyer, Member, Working Group on Youth and Gender Equality, United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, New York; Karan Johar, Head, Dharma Productions, India; and Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, India.