India tipped to be third largest tourism economy

World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2018 economic impact report expects India to emerge as the world’s third largest tourism economy by 2028, which will add 10 million jobs in the tourism industry – an increase from the 42.9 million employed now. China remains at the head of the field.

Gloria Guevara, president and chief executive of WTTC, said: “The biggest single area of improvement for travel for travel and tourism in India is infrastructure. Tourism is a competitive business in a global context and India’s near neighbours to the east and west have built world-class tourism infrastructure in the form of airports, sea ports, high-speed rail and roads. WTTC has long welcomed the opportunity of the Regional Connectivity Scheme to open 350 unserved and underserved airports and airstrips.”

India’s ambition to make the country a major cruise destination, with the new facility in Mumbai and more in the pipeline, was lauded by Guevara.

Guevara added: “We recognize the introduction of e-visas for 163 countries and the launch of the Incredible India 2.0 campaign with major improvements in marketing and PR strategy.”

However, serious reservation was expressed about the negative fallout of the three level GST in hospitality, which charges 28 per cent for hotel rooms priced over Rs. 7500 (US$115) and risks inhibiting the demand that e-visas have created for its international inbound market.

Spurred by an expected 7.1 per cent average annual travel and tourism GDP growth in India, south Asia is expected to be the fastest-growing region in the world with a forecast growth of 6.9 per cent.