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Business News/ News / Call for showcasing five key states as tourism hubs
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Call for showcasing five key states as tourism hubs

'Incredible India' campaign needs reboot; focus on foreign tourists and leverage private sector expertise, urges Amitabh Kant

The travel market in India is projected to reach $125 billion by FY27 from an estimated $75 billion in FY20. (FILE PHOTO) (HT_PRINT)Premium
The travel market in India is projected to reach $125 billion by FY27 from an estimated $75 billion in FY20. (FILE PHOTO) (HT_PRINT)

India's impressive economic growth hasn't translated into booming tourism, with calls for a ‘dynamic and digital’ revamp of the ‘Incredible India’ campaign to attract foreign visitors. While the domestic travel market has revived itself during the pandemic years, foreign tourists need to grow in large numbers as they bring in value, India's G20 Sherpa and former CEO of Niti Aayog Amitabh Kant said at an annual event organized by the Hotel Association of India (HAI) in the capital.
Kant suggested focusing on developing five key states as tourism hubs and leveraging private sector expertise to unlock the country's potential in this multi-billion dollar market, particularly in the MICE (meeting, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) segment where India currently has a minimal share.
"There is a need for a dynamic and digital version of the 'Incredible India' campaign which should penetrate every single market. This is critical because foreign tourists are critical for India. About eleven states have given tourism an industry status, but many have not extended the benefits. We need to really work hard and really push state governments to do this. The Centre also needs to make it an industry as it is a job creator industry. Somewhere the industry has failed to tell this story. Thailand has created close to 20 million tourism related jobs, while Malaysia has created 15 million. India too has created seven million jobs," he added.

Kant said that overall economic growth will naturally boost tourism and that infrastructure development like new airports will further contribute to the sector's success. However, he added that the sector “should not worry too much about the outlay which has been provided to the ministry of tourism". Kant said this was because tourism is a multi-dimensional sector and with airports coming up around the country, tourism will automatically grow.
Kant emphasizes the urgency of boosting foreign tourism, citing its value contribution and job creation potential. Despite India's economic climb and infrastructure development, the government's recent decrease in overseas tourism promotion budget raises concerns. In this year's interim budget, the government earmarked a mere 3 crore for its overseas tourism promotion budget, a decrease of 97% from last year. 

“India has been through a transformation in the last eight or nine years. We are now the fifth largest economy in the world and will reach the third position by 2027. We are heading to be a $10 trillion economy by 2030. And by 2047, by the time we become a hundred, we'll be a $35 trillion economy. If we look at India as a whole, when it comes to tourism, we will never be able to make an impact. But the hospitality industry should really challenge all the states and Union territories of India and really pick five key or model states and make an example out of them," he said. 
Kant added that there is huge tourism potential in the country. "I'm a believer that tourism is essentially a private sector activity from the point of arrival to the point of departure," he added.
Another focus area of the tourism sector could now be on improving its MICE market, which is as big as $500 billion. India never had these kinds of infrastructure facilities as it does now and this could be a good opportunity for growth.

The travel market in India is projected to reach $125 billion by FY27 from an estimated $75 billion in FY20. India's tourism industry in 2020 accounted for 31.8 million jobs, which is likely to grow to 53 million jobs by 2029 and international tourist arrivals are expected to touch 30.5 billion by 2028.

According to the official ministry of tourism statistics for the year 2022, the number of domestic tourist visits to all states and Union territories in the country were 1.73 billion, up 155% over 2021, but still lower than 2019 when Indians did around 2.4 billion visits.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Varuni Khosla
Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Check all the latest action on Budget 2024 here. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
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Published: 12 Feb 2024, 05:53 PM IST
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