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● Tourism in India accounts for 6.8% of the GDP and is the third largest foreign exchange earner for the country.
● India ranks 42nd in the United Nations World Tourism Organization rankings for foreign tourist arrivals.
● India registered 6.97 Million foreign tourist arrivals in 2013, registering an annual growth of 5.9% over the previous year.
● The foreign exchange earnings from tourism during 2013 was USD 18.13 Billion, registering an annual growth of 2.2% over the previous year.
● India is the 16th most visited country in the world, with a share of 1.56% in the world’s tourism receipts.
● India offers geographical diversity, attractive beaches, 30 World Heritage Sites and 25 bio-geographic zones.
● India has a diverse portfolio of niche tourism products – cruises, adventure, medical, wellness, sports, MICE, eco-tourism, film, rural and religious tourism.
● Domestic tourism contributes to three-fourths of the tourism economy.
● The UNWTO has forecast that the travel and tourism industry in India will grow by 8% per annum between 2008 and 2016. Foreign exchange earnings from tourism are likely to show annualized growth of 14% during the same period.
● Travel and tourism contributed INR 2,178.1 Billion to the country’s GDP in 2013. This is expected to rise by 7.5% to INR 2,341.45 Billion in 2014.
● The number of domestic tourist visits in India during 2012 was 1,036.3 Million as compared to 864.53 Million in 2011, recording a growth rate of 19.9%.
● In 2013, foreign exchange earnings from tourism were USD 18.13 Billion as compared to USD 17.74 Billion in 2012, registering a growth of 2.2%.
● Tourism is a big employment generator – every USD 1 Million invested in tourism creates 78 jobs.
● Tourism is the third-largest foreign exchange earner after gems, jewellery and readymade garments.
● During 2013, foreign exchange earnings from tourism registered a growth of 12% rising from INR 944.87 Billion to INR 1058.36 Billion.
● A growing recognition of tourism’s contribution to employment and economic growth, the availability of better infrastructure, focused marketing and promotion efforts, liberalization of air transport, the growth of online travel portals, growing intra- regional cooperation and more effective public private partnerships are seen as key drivers for tourism in the next decade.
● More than half of the Ministry of Tourism’s Plan budget is channelized for funding the development of destinations, circuits, mega projects as well as rural tourism infrastructure projects.
● The ministry also ensured that 10% and 2.5% of its total annual plan outlay for 2013–14 went to tourism projects in the Northeastern region and tribal areas, respectively.
● There is a renewed focus on skill development in the travel and tourism sector – 21 government-run hotel management and catering technology institutes and 14 food craft institutes have been established to impart specialized training in hoteliering and catering.
● The availability of the Visa On Arrival facility significantly influences tourists’ travel plans to any country. During 2013, a total number of 20,294 Visas on Arrival were issued as compared to 16,084 Visas on Arrival during the corresponding period in 2012 , which amounts to a growth of 26%.
● The launch of several branding and marketing initiatives by the Government of India such as Incredible India! and Athiti Devo Bhava provides a focused impetus to growth.
● Recently, the Indian government has also released a fresh category of visa – the medical visa or M visa, to encourage medical tourism in India.
● 100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route in tourism and hospitality, subject to applicable regulations and laws.
● 100% FDI allowed in tourism construction projects, including the development of hotels, resorts and recreational facilities.
NATIONAL TOURISM POLICY, 2OO2 :
● Its vision is to enhance employment potential within the tourism sector as well as to foster economic integration through developing linkages with other sectors; policy objectives include positioning the tourism sector as a major engine of economic growth, positioning India as a global brand, acknowledging the critical role of private sector and creating integrated tourism circuits.
OTHER IMPORTANT POLICIES :
● Guidelines for assistance to central agencies in tourism infrastructure development, scheme for assistance for large revenue generating projects, scheme for public-private partnership in infrastructure development, guidelines for approval of convention centres, motel projects, timeshare resorts, guesthouses, etc.
KEY PROVISIONS OF BUDGET 2O14-15:
● INR 5 Billion has been allocated towards the proposed creation of 5 tourist circuits around specific themes.
● INR 1 Billion has been allocated towards a National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation (PRASAD), a drive that is to be launched in this financial year.
● INR 2 Billion has been allocated towards National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) to be launched for conserving and preserving the heritage character of certain cities.
● INR 1 Billion has been allocated for the preservation of archaeological sites.
● Services provided by Indian tour operators to foreign tourists in relation to tours wholly conducted outside India are being exempted from levy of service tax.
● World-class tourist facilities are being developed to promote Sarnath-Gaya-Varanasi Buddhist circuit.
● INR 2 Billion has been set aside to support the Gujarat Government in its initiative to erect and build the largest ever statue of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.
● An investment-linked deduction under Section 35 AD of the Income Tax Act is in place for establishing new hotels in the 2-star category and above across India, thus permitting a 100% deduction in respect of the whole or any expenditure of a capital nature excluding land, goodwill and financial instruments incurred during the year.
● Incentives offered by state governments include subsidised land cost, relaxation in stamp duty, exemption on sale/lease of land, power tariff incentives, concessional rate of interest on loans, investment subsidies/tax incentives, backward areas subsidies and special incentive packages for mega projects.
● Incentives are provided for setting up projects in special areas – the North-east, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
INCENTIVES FROM THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM:
● Assistance in large revenue-generating projects.
● Support to Public Private Partnerships in infrastructure development such as viability gap funding.
● Schemes for capacity-building of service providers.
● The presence of world-class hospitals and skilled medical professionals make India a preferred destination for medical tourism.
● A vast, beautiful coastline, virgin forests, and undisturbed idyllic islands make this a choice destination for cruise tourists.
● Rural tourism schemes have been implemented by the Ministry of Tourism in 2002-03 with the objective of highlighting rural life, art, culture and heritage in villages that have a core competence in art, craft, handloom, textiles and the natural environment.
● Eco-tourism is at a nascent stage, but there are conscious efforts to save the fragile Himalayan eco-system and the culture and heritage of indigenous people.
● The segment offers opportunities across various sub-segments such as timeshare resorts, convention centres, motels, heritage hotels and the like.
● Investment opportunities in the setting up of tour operations and travel agencies cater to burgeoning tourist inflow.
● Accor (France)
● The Four Seasons Group (Canada)
● Starwood Hotels (USA)
● Thomas Cook (UK)
● Marriott Hotels (USA)
● Expedia (USA)
● Premier Travel Inn (UK)
● Cox & Kings (UK)
● Mandarin Oriental (Hong Kong)
● Jumeirah (UAE)