According to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), travel and tourism accounted for 9.3% of the country’s total jobs last year. The sector also generated INR14.1 trillion (US$208.9 billion) in 2016, which is equivalent to 9.6% of India’s GDP and gives India the world’s seventh largest tourism economy.
And the country’s tourism industry is set to continue expanding in future; India’s was found to have the fastest growing travel and tourism sector of any G20 country, increasing by 8.5% in 2016. A further 6.7% growth is forecast for 2017.
Domestic travel accounted for 88% of the sector’s contribution to Indian GDP in 2016. In terms of international arrivals however, India’s full-year total of nine million visitors in 2016 ranks the country only 40th in the world, and international tourism revenues of INR1.5trn represent just 5.4% of the country’s total exports, compared to a global average of 6.6%.
“India is a tremendous travel and tourism economy and I am pleased to see the sector GDP is growing. However, we believe that these numbers could be even higher, and that the positive impact of our sector could be more wide-ranging. India has a huge potential to increase its international visitors and, in doing so, it can create more jobs and drive economic growth,” said David Scowsill, WTTC president & CEO.
“We encourage the Indian government to continue to adopt policies that encourage travellers, such as the new visa regime, enable investment in vital infrastructure, and allow companies to do business.
“India is a beautiful and diverse tourism destination, with the right policies in place it will no doubt continue to grow towards ranking even higher in terms of its tourism economy,” he added.
India’s international tourism sector has already started the year strongly, with the country welcoming 1.94m overseas visitors in January and February 2017, up 15% increase compared to the same period last year.