Tourism in India
Tourism in India is economically important and is growing rapidly. The World Travel & Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated 8.31 lakh crore (US$120 billion) or 6.3% of the nation’s GDP in 2015 and supported 37.315 million jobs, 8.7% of its total employment. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.5% to 18.36 lakh crore (US$270 billion) by 2025 (7.2% of GDP). In October 2015, India’s medical tourism sector was estimated to be worth US$3 billion. It is projected to grow to $7–8 billion by 2020. In 2014, 184,298 foreign patients traveled to India to seek medical treatment.
About 88.90 lakh (8.89 million) foreign tourists arrived in India in 2016 compared to 80.27 lakh (8.027 million) in 2015, recording a growth of 10.7%. Domestic tourist visits to all states and Union Territories numbered 1,036.35 million in 2012, an increase of 16.5% from 2011. In 2014, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh were the most popular states for tourists. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Agra and Jaipur have been the five most visited cities of India by foreign tourists during the year 2015. Worldwide, Delhi is ranked at 28 by the number of foreign tourist arrivals, while Mumbai is ranked at 30, Chennai at 43, Agra at 45, Jaipur at 52 and Kolkata at 90.
The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 ranks India 52nd out of 141 countries overall. The report ranks the price competitiveness of India’s tourism sector 8th out of 141 countries. It mentions that India has quite good air transport (ranked 35th), particularly given the country’s stage of development, and reasonable ground transport infrastructure (ranked 50th). The country also scores high on natural and cultural resources (ranked 12th). Some other aspects of its tourism infrastructure remain somewhat underdeveloped however. The nation has very few hotel rooms per capita by international comparison and low ATM penetration. The World Tourism Organization reported that India’s receipts from tourism during 2012 ranked 16th in the world, and 7th among Asian and Pacific countries.
The Ministry of Tourism designs national policies for the development and promotion of tourism. In the process, the Ministry consults and collaborates with other stakeholders in the sector including various Central Ministries/agencies, state governments, Union Territories and the representatives of the private sector. Concerted efforts are being made to promote new forms of tourism such as rural, cruise, medical and eco-tourism. The Ministry also maintains the Incredible India campaign.
International tourism refers to tourism that crosses national borders. Globalization has made tourism a popular global leisure activity. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 500,000 people are in flight at any one time.
Modern aviation has made it possible to travel long distances quickly.
As a result of the late-2000s recession, international travel demand suffered a strong slowdown from the second half of 2008 through the end of 2009. This negative trend intensified during 2009, exacerbated in some countries due to the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus, resulting in a worldwide decline of 4.2% in 2009 to 880 million international tourists arrivals, and a 5.7% decline in international tourism receipts. In 2010, international tourism reached US$919B, growing 6.5% over 2009, corresponding to an increase in real terms of 4.7%. In 2010, there were over 940 million international tourist arrivals worldwide.