The Indian tourism and hospitality industry has emerged as one of the key drivers of growth among the services sector in India. Tourism in India has significant potential considering the rich cultural and historical heritage, variety in ecology, terrains and places of natural beauty spread across the country. Tourism is also a potentially large employment generator besides being a significant source of foreign exchange for the country.
The industry is expected to generate 13.45 million jobs across sub-segments such as Restaurants (10.49 million jobs), Hotels (2.3 million jobs) and Travel Agents/Tour Operators (0.66 million). The Ministry of Tourism plans to help the industry meet the increasing demand of skilled and trained manpower by providing hospitality education to students as well as certifying and upgrading skills of existing service providers.
India has moved up 13 positions to 52nd rank from 65th in Tourism & Travel competitive index.
India’s rising middle class and increasing disposable incomes has continued to support the growth of domestic and outbound tourism. Total outbound trips increased by 8.7 per cent to 19.9 million in 2015. Inbound tourist volume grew at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.8 per cent during 2010-15.
Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India increased 11.8 per cent year-on-year to 670,000 tourists in August 2016, while Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism increased 13.1 per cent year-on-year to Rs 12,903 crore (US$ 1.92 billion), according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.
Tourist arrivals in India on e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) grew by 196.6 per cent year-on-year to 66,097 tourists in August 2016, attributable to the introduction of e-TV for 150 countries as against the earlier coverage of 113 countries, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.
Online hotel bookings in India are expected to double by 2017 due to the increasing penetration of the internet and smart phones.
The tourism and hospitality sector is among the top 10 sectors in India to attract the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). During the period April 2000-March 2016, the hotel and tourism sector attracted around US$ 9.23 billion of FDI, according to the data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
With the rise in the number of global tourists and realizing India’s potential, many companies have invested in the tourism and hospitality sector. Some of the recent investments in this sector are as follows:
- AccorHotels, Australia's largest hotel operator has entered into an agreement with the Australia India Travel & Tourism Council (AITTC) with a view to strengthen and promote tourism between Australia and India.
- Global hospitality major Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which is also the largest foreign hotel brand in India by number of hotels, plans to increase its total count to 120 hotels in India by 2020.
- Marriott International Inc, the US-based hotel chain, is now looking for expanding its operations in North India, including prominent cities in Uttar Pradesh like Kanpur, Varanasi and Agra.
- Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has partnered with OYO Rooms, India's largest branded network of hotels, to provide standardised accommodation options to train travellers through its convenient booking platform.
- Ctrip.com, China's largest travel portal, has bought a stake in India's largest travel portal MakeMyTrip for US$ 180 million via convertible bonds, which allows Ctrip to increase its share in MakeMyTrip up to 26.6 per cent.
- Goldman Sachs, New-York based multinational investment banking fund, has invested Rs 255 crore (US$ 38.02 million) in Vatika Hotels.
India’s travel and tourism industry has huge growth potential. The tourism industry is also looking forward to the expansion of E-visa scheme which is expected to double the tourist inflow to India. Rating agency ICRA ltd estimates the revenue growth of Indian hotel industry strengthening to 9-11 per cent in 2015-16. India is projected to be the fastest growing nation in the wellness tourism sector in the next five years, clocking over 20 per cent gains annually through 2017, according to a study conducted by SRI International.