The Indian tourism sector has been experiencing a resilient phase of growth, driven by the flourishing middle class, increased spending by the foreign tourists, and synchronized administration and promotions by the Government of India to encourage ‘Incredible India’. The tourism industry in India is extensive and lively, and the nation is fast becoming a major international destination. India’s travel and tourism industry is one of them most lucrative businesses in the country, and also accredited with contributing a considerable volume of foreign exchange to the country reserves.
A number of reasons are cited as being the cause of the progress and success of India’s travel and tourism sector. Economic growth has added millions annually to the ranks of India’s middle class, a group that is driving domestic tourism growth. Thanks in part to its booming IT and outsourcing industry a growing number of business trips are made by foreigners to India, who will often add a weekend break or longer holiday to their trip. Foreign tourists spend more in India than almost any other country worldwide.
The tourism and hospitality industry
A growing recognition of tourism's contribution to employment and economic growth, the availability of better infrastructure, focused marketing and promotion efforts, liberalisation of air transport, the growth of online travel portals, growing intra-regional cooperation and more effective PPPs are seen as key drivers for tourism in the next decade.
More than half of the Ministry of Tourism's Plan budget is channelised for funding the development of destinations, circuits, mega projects as well as rural tourism infrastructure projects.
There is a renewed focus on skill development in the travel and tourism sector – 21 government-run hotel management and catering technology institutes and 10 food craft institutes have been established to impart specialised training in hoteliering and catering.
Commencing from 27 th November 2014 e-Tourist Visa facility is available for citizens 150 countries arriving at 16 airports in India as on date. During 2015, a total number of 4,45,300 Visas on Arrival were issued as compared to 39,046 Visas on Arrival during 2014, which amounts to a growth of 1040.4%.
The Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) was renamed as Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) on 15th April, 2015. Currently the ETA facility is available for 150 countries. This is expected to have a significant positive impact on foreign tourist arrivals in India.
Ministry of Tourism releases Athithi Devo Bhava Campaign on different media on the concepts of honesty and good behavior towards tourists to sensitize the public and stakeholders in the tourist industry.
Promotional campaigns under the tag line Incredible India were released in international markets in 2015-16.
Ministry of Tourism has initiated work on developing a new campaign focusing on promoting ‘Indian Heritage’. The campaign shall have diverse themes each showcasing different tourism destinations/circuits. The campaign shall be released both within India and international markets for promoting India as a tourism destination.
Ministry of Tourism also recently produced new creatives both for international and domestic markets. These creatives have been produced under the tagline ‘Unlock the Feeling’ for the international market while those for the Domestic Market carry the tagline ‘ Go Beyond’ to take forward the concept of promoting less known tourist spots.
Ministry of Tourism has initiated the work of formulating media plans for releasing the Centralised Global Media Campaigns during 2016-17 on TV, Digital and print platforms.
Recently, the Indian government has also released a fresh category of visa - the medical visa or M visa, to encourage medical tourism in India. Short term medical visa under existing E-Tourist scheme is included.
The Budget Estimate (2016-17) for the Ministry of Tourism is INR 1500.00 crore.