Tourism has been a major social phenomenon of societies all over the world. It is driven by the natural urge of every human being for new experiences, and the desire to be both educated and entertained. The motivations of tourism also include religious and business interests; the spread of education has fostered a desire to know more about different parts of the world. The basic human thirst for new experience and knowledge has become stronger, as communication barriers are getting overcome by technological advancement. The consumption demands emanating from tourist expenditure also induces more employment and generates a multiplier effect on the economy.
Today tourism is the largest service industry in India, with a contribution of 6.23 per cent to the national gross domestic product (GDP) and providing 8.78 per cent of the total employment. India witnesses’ more than 5 million annual foreign tourist arrivals and 562 million domestic tourism visits. The tourism industry in India generated about US$100 billion in 2008 and that is expected to increase to US$275.5 billion by 2018 at a 9.4 per cent annual growth rate. The Ministry of Tourism is the nodal agency for the development and promotion of tourism in India and maintains the Incredible India campaign.
According to World Travel and Tourism Council, India will be a tourism hotspot from 2009-2018, having the highest 10-year growth potential. As per the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2009 by the World Economic Forum, India was ranked 11th in the Asia Pacific region and 62nd overall, moving up three places on the list of the world’s attractive destinations. It is ranked the 14th best tourist destination for its natural resources and 24th for its cultural resources, with many World Heritage Sites, both natural and cultural, rich fauna, and strong creative industries in the country. India also bagged 37th rank for its air transport network. The India travel and tourism industry ranked 5th in the long-term (10-year) growth and is expected to be the second largest employer in the world by 2019.
Tourism Industry provides heritage, cultural, medical, business and sports tourism. It is expected that the tourism sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP will grow at the rate of 7.8 per cent yearly in the period 2013-2023. The Indian tourism sector has been flourishing in recent years due to the improved connectivity to and from the country. Also, a better lodging facility at the tourist destination has been a factor which has contributed to increase in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA). The policies and changes implemented by the government of India has also been instrumental in providing the necessary boost to the Indian tourism and hospitality industry and attracting more and more foreign tourists every year.
It is in this context the book Tourism in India: Challenges and Opportunities is worth a read. The book is replete with case studies of different regions of India where tourism has been growing. The book also encapsulates the various aspects in improving the tourism sector viz. strategic use of Information Technology, Parliamentary provisions and role of women in tourism. How the tourism sector will be helpful in the regional cooperation among the South Asian nations is also vividly discussed in the book. In a nutshell, this book is very helpful in understanding the concept of sustainable development of the torism sector in the country.
By Nilabh Krishna