The service sector deals with the production of services instead of end products. A service is something that you have paid for but cannot pick up and bring home. Tourism as a part of the services sector is increasingly becoming prominent with the growing information input. As a result, tourists’ expectations are changing very fast and creating challenges for the sector. The tourism sector is a rapidly growing industry generating good revenue for the economy both at the local and the national levels. The sector is reportedly predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.9% from 2013 to 2023. According to the World
Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) data of
2017, the travel and tourism sector generated `14.1 trillion ($208.9 billion) in 2016, which is the world’s 7th largest revenue generation in terms of absolute size; the sum is equivalent to 9.6% of India’s GDP.
Initiatives by the government for tourism promotion
‘Hunar se Rozgar’ programme
A special initiative was launched by the government in 2009-10 to create employable skills among economically marginalised youth. The objective of the programme is to reduce the skill gap affecting the hospitality and tourism sector and to ensure the spread of economic benefits of the tourism sector among the economically marginalised. The programme offers short duration courses of six to eight weeks which are fully funded by the tourism ministry.
Visa on arrival
The facility of “Long Term Tourist Visas” of five years duration with multiple entries, has been introduced on a pilot basis for nationals of many foreign countries. Efforts are on to extend this facility to nationals of more countries.
Creation of world class tourism related infrastructure
The Swadesh Darshan scheme was launched by the
Union Ministry of Tourism in January 2015 for the develop-ment of theme-based tourist circuits to cater to both mass and niche tourism.
The National Mission for Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme was also launched by the tourism department for the development and beautification of pilgrimage sites. It is aimed to tap the growth of domestic tourists driven by spiritual and religious sentiments.
Ease of doing business
The Ministry of Tourism has set up a web-based public delivery system for recognition of travel trade service providers and for classification of hotels in order to ease the process of filing applications by the travel trade service providers seeking recognition from the ministry. This is also aimed to bring in transparency in granting approvals. This online process has also been integrated with a payment gateway.
Introduction of a mobile app ‘Swachh Paryatan’
The Ministry of Tourism launched a mobile application called Swachh Paryatan on February 22, 2016, which allows citizens to report any hygiene-related issues at various tourist destinations across the country.
Entrepreneurial involvement in tourism
The tourism sector requires high entrepreneurial involvement. For the sector in India to be globally competitive, entrepreneurship and networking are very important.
In recent times, rural tourism has been playing an important role due to its capacity in uplifting the economic condition of the local communities.
Innovation in tourism
Services in general and for the tourism in particular are often seen as non-innovative economic activities. Considering tourism development as a process, the focus should be on how tourism develops or evolves. Tourism is inextricably linked to regional innovation. 21st century tourists are tech savvy and have unlimited access to information. Not only do they expect service quality, they want an experience to go with it. In tourism, regional innovation and service development are the key words.
Though 'Atithi Devo Bhava' is the foreword of Indian culture meaning a guest is equivalent to God, our statistics do not point to that. One of the most popular tourist destinations of India - Goa, reportedly registered hundreds of cases of foreigner tourists’ deaths in the last couple of years. Other parts of India also reportedly have recorded a spike in the number of cases of tourist harassment. To promote tourism, safety and tourist-friendliness should be the foremost priorities. The Indian government needs to be more proactive in this regard.