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India Tourism: Country needs new tourist destinations

image courtesy of Harikrishnan Mangayil from Pixabay

The Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, emphasized the need to develop and showcase newer India tourist destinations.

The Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Mr. G. Kamala Vardhan Rao, today emphasized the need to develop and showcase newer tourist destinations to attract more travelers from both domestic and international countries. “We should collectively work to ensure that new destinations come up with basic infrastructure,” he added.

Addressing the 7th National Tourism Investors Meet 2022, organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Mr. Rao invited the investors to invest in the tourism sector. “India is going to host the G-20 meetings next year and it will be organized across various states and cities. The states are also investing heavily to build infrastructure. I urge investors to come forward and invest in the hospitality sector,” he stated.

Speaking on the investment potential in tourism sector, Mr. Rao stated that tourism is the beneficiary of all the investments of various ministries and departments including national highways, rural development ministry, civil aviation, railways, etc. “Whichever department is investing in the infrastructure and services sector, it is tourism which is the beneficiary,” he stated.

Highlighting on enhancing the connectivity in various tourist destinations, Mr. Rao said:

Each year the government is taking various steps to improve the rail and air connectivity but air connectivity in the northeastern sector still needs to be enhanced.

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Speaking on the importance of souvenir industry, depicting India’s art, culture and other aspects, Mr. Rao stated that the industry should also focus on developing a niche in this sector which has a lot of potential. “The government can only facilitate the souvenir industry, but it is the private sector which has to take this up in a big way. It can become a major investment area as well,” he added.

Mr. Rao also stated that post pandemic, MICE tourism is growing at a much faster pace and with the increase in number of convention centers opening in India, investors should seize the opportunity in MICE tourism.

Ms. Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, stated that the government is working to increase the number of airports in the country to 200 by 2024 from current 140 airports. She further stated that aviation and tourism are complimenting sectors. “Air connectivity needs to be in tandem with what the tourism sector is doing,” she added.

Ms. Padhee said that the government is working to connect the north-eastern states with more international flights under the UDAN scheme. “Coordination between the stakeholders is critical to improve the connectivity,” she emphasized.

Ms. Rajni Hasija, Chairperson & MD, IRCTC, said that IRCTC has the plan to expand its hospitality business and developing various properties under PPP model. “This is the opportunity for the industry to join our hands in developing various destinations and promoting the domestic tourism. Everyone has to work together to promote the industry and IRCTC is also working to promote film tourism in a big way,” she added.

Dr. Jyotsna Suri, Past President, FICCI; Chairperson, FICCI Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Committee, and CMD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, said that India needs to have a very robust domestic tourism and we can’t entirely rely on international tourism. “We need to go beyond the areas that are unexplored. Connectivity is one of the biggest shortcomings that we have to improve,” she added.

Mr. Ankush Nijhawan, Chairman, FICCI Outbound Tourism Committee; Co-Founder, TBO Group & MD, Nijhawan Group; Mr. Ravi Gosain, Vice President, IATO, and Mr. Rajan Sehgal, Co-Founder-PASSIONALS, President- Indian Golf Tourism Association & Member-MANAS under the aegis of Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India also shared their perspective on the investment opportunities in the tourism sector.

FICCI-Nangia Andersen LLP Knowledge paper “Rebuilding Tourism for the Future 2022,” was released during the event.

Key highlights of the report:

The travel market in India is projected to reach US$ 125 billion by FY27 from an estimated US$ 75 billion in FY20.

In 2020, the Indian tourism sector accounted for 31.8 million jobs, which was 7.3% of the total employment in the country.

By 2029, it is expected to account for about 53 million jobs. International Tourist arrival is expected to reach 30.5 billion by 2028.

This represents a significant opportunity for the development of this industry to cater to the steeply rising demand in various segments of tourism as well as potential avenues for investment to increase the carrying capacity of this industry.

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Anil Mathur - eTN India

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