Medical, adventure tourism to drive job creation, says report

Getty Images
Getty Images


While the report applauded schemes like Incredible India 2.0 to promote overseas tourism, many schemes have been offline and budgets for foreign travel promotion were shrinking

NEW DELHI : India’s tourism industry, which was severely hit by the covid-19 pandemic, is on the path to recovery, aided by increased travel and the country’s G20 presidency, according to a report by Visa and EY.

The report, titled Charting the Course for India: Tourism Megatrends Unpacked, said that tourism will create about 88 million jobs and contribute $140 billion to India’s gross domestic product in 2023. The sector currently accounts for nearly 13% of all jobs and contributes 5% to its GDP.

Over the next decade, India will likely grow in the medical and wellness, spiritual, business travel as well as adventure tourism segments, the report said, adding that medical and wellness tourism could create about 24 million jobs by 2032. Adventure tourism may also add six million jobs during the period.

While international tourists spend $2134 per trip to India, domestic tourists spend a paltry $56, said the report, which has collated secondary and publicly available information.

The numbers are yet to fully recover, though. In 2022, India received about 6.19 million foreign tourists, about 55% lower than 2019’s 10.93 million; however, only about 30% of these 6.19 million travellers were here for tourism. Similarly, foreign exchange earnings fell from 2,10,981 crore in 2019 to 1,34,543 crore in 2022.

Globally, though, travel is expected to fully recover in 2023, reaching 80-95% of pre-pandemic levels. India has contributed heavily to this. A significant amount of money was spent by Indians on foreign travel, with over $1 billion spent every month in 2022, the report said, citing Reserve Bank of India data. Cross-border expenditure from India has mainly risen for destinations like Europe, Bali, Vietnam, Dubai and Thailand.

While the report applauded schemes like Incredible India 2.0 to promote overseas tourism, many schemes have been offline and budgets for foreign travel promotion were shrinking. The government decided to cut the outlay for overseas promotional activities by over 50% in this year’s budget, a move which was criticized by industry executives.

Government spending on overseas tourism promotions has been declining over the years, from 524 crore in FY22 to 341 crore in FY23 and 167 crore for FY24. Instead, a large sum of money has been allocated for developing pilgrimage destinations, up 66% from 150 crore in FY23, to 250 crore in FY24.

This year, over 50% of the tourism budget has been allocated to the Swadesh Darshan scheme, which was launched in FY15 for integrated development of theme-based circuits, as sustainable and responsible tourism destinations within India. Overall, the tourism budget for the country remained unchanged this year at 2,400 crore. Despite that, it has a target to bring in 25 million tourists by 2030.

The tourism ministry has also shut down seven tourism offices around the world in big cities like London, Tokyo, Beijing, Dubai, Singapore and New York, and said it would be letting home ministry employees in embassies do the same job.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.



Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App