$20 bil­lion rev­enue from global tourists: WEF

Financial Chronicle - - MISCELLANY - SANGEETHA G Chennai

In­dia’s travel and tourism in­dus­try has a po­ten­tial op­por­tu­nity of re­ceiv­ing $20 bil­lion ad­di­tional rev­enue from in­ter­na­tional tourists and cre­ation of one mil­lion ad­di­tional jobs if it grows in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals to 20 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum (WEF).

A white pa­per re­leased by WEF, found that In­dia has to fo­cus on its op­por­tu­ni­ties and un­der­stand its cur­rent lim­i­ta­tions to re­alise its ob­jec­tive of wel­com­ing over 15 mil­lion for­eign tourists by 2025 and be­com­ing the largest avi­a­tion mar­ket by 2030.

The coun­try cur­rently re­ceives 9 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional tourists a year.

As In­dia pre­pares to launch the In­cred­i­ble In­dia 2.0 with a bud­get of over $46 mil­lion, WEF rec­om­mends public-pri­vate co­op­er­a­tion in its ex­e­cu­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the WEF, the coun­try has to take ad­van­tage of the un­ex­plored 600,000 vil­lages with their own cul­tures and her­itage, eco tourism and cruise tourism to cre­ate unique ex­pe­ri­ences for trav­el­ers and en­hance the per­cep­tion and re­al­ity of In­dia as a safe des­ti­na­tion by de­sign­ing and im­ple­ment­ing en­hanced se­cu­rity pro­to­cols.

It should in­te­grate the In­cred­i­ble In­dia cam­paign into a holis­tic cam­paign that in­cludes not only print, but also other chan­nels, such as dig­i­tal, so­cial, place­ment, review sites and global me­dia – and that fo­cuses on the pos­i­tives of vis­i­tor-cre­ated con­tent while ad­dress­ing the chal­lenges these vis­i­tors re­port

The tourism sec­tor should in­vest in both phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment to con­front the is­sue of last mile con­nec­tiv­ity, hazardous road travel and the lack of af­ford­able ho­tels ham­per­ing in­ter­na­tional trav­ellers’ ex­pe­ri­ences, while el­e­vated taxes hin­der the in­dus­try’s prof­itabil­ity. The WEF rec­om­mended that the labour force avail­able in In­dia pro­vide a qual­ity prod­uct to tourists by train­ing skilled and un­skilled work­ers in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try through both public and pri­vate pro­grammes. The in­dus­try sup­ported 40.3 mil­lion jobs in 2016 and ac­counted for 9.3 per cent of the coun­try’s to­tal jobs.

“The in­dus­try is peo­ple fo­cused and the qual­ity of its peo­ple de­fines the value of the prod­uct. Hence the need to train and ed­u­cate staff is acute here. The in­dus­try has the power to cre­ate jobs across the econ­omy – at var­i­ous skill lev­els- and for the marginalised sec­tors of the so­ci­ety such a young peo­ple and women and in ar­eas where other op­por­tu­ni­ties are scarce,” Aditi Bal­bir, founder and CEO of V Re­sorts and one of the key con­trib­u­tors to the WEF re­port said. The WEF white pa­per also rec­om­mends a pro­posal to cre­ate a Tourism Board.

Cur­rently, In­dia’s travel and tourism in­dus­try is frag­mented and lacks a uni­fied public-pri­vate body to rep­re­sent the in­dus­try.

This board could sup­port en­hanc­ing in­dus­try co­or­di­na­tion, public-pri­vate sec­tor ini­tia­tives and en­act­ing change through pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Travel and Tourism Com­pet­i­tive­ness Re­port 2017, In­dia reached 40th po­si­tion com­pared to 65th in 2013.

Ac­cord­ing to the WEF, the coun­try has to take ad­van­tage of the un­ex­plored 600,000 vil­lages with their own cul­tures and her­itage, eco tourism and cruise tourism

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