New Delhi, 10 October 2017
The World Economic Forum (WEF) released its white
paper on India’s $20 billion tourism opportunity at their annual India Economic
Summit. The report estimated that with a growth in international arrivals to 20
million in India. The upside opportunity would be $19.9 billion in incremental
tourism receipts from international travellers and the creation of
approximately 1 million additional jobs.
As India prepares to launch the Incredible India 2.0 with a budget of
over $46 million the WEF report puts forward few recommendations highlighting
the importance of public-private cooperation in its execution.
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. Enhance the perception and reality of India as a safe
destination by designing and implementing enhanced security protocols. 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. Take advantage of the labor force
available in India to provide a quality product to tourists, by training
skilled and unskilled workers in the hospitality industry through both public
and private programmes.
Aditi Balbir, Founder and CEO of V Resorts and one of
the key contributors to the WEF report said, “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 marginalized sectors
of the society such a young people and women and in areas where other
opportunities are scarce.” With 80+ resorts across 15 Indian states, V Resorts
follows the policy of integrating the local community in their operations and
already has close to 1000 locals on their payroll staff.
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, in turn hindering its ability to achieve its potential. This board
could support enhancing industry coordination, public -private sector
initiatives and enacting change through policy recommendations.
India’s travel and tourism industry is a key
employment creator that supported 40.3 million jobs in 2016 and accounted for
9.3% of the country’s total jobs. Incidentally, India welcomed 9 million
international travelers in 2016 and its domestic demand nearly touched the 100
million mark. According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017,
India is effectively one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world.