Indian Market & Trends

WTTC releases report on unleashing tourism potential


wttc-logo-thIn yet another sign of the Indian tourism sector putting high hopes on the new government, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has urged the it to focus on unleashing the tourism potential of the country.

The Report ‘Tourism Action Plan – Unleashing India’s Potential’ released by WTTC, India Initiative (WTTCII) highlights some of the challenges facing the industry, including lack of focus and poor safety standards. It also mentions a slew of measures the government could take to immediately give a fillip to the sector.

The report outlines the key initiatives the new government and Ministry of Tourism should implement for a better tourism environment in India. This includes e-visas, greater safety and security, connectivity – air, rail and roads, convergence – both at central and state levels, launch of Incredible India 2.0, skill development and domestic tourism. This report also summaries and timelines priority action plans for the above initiatives as short term (1- 6 months), medium term (6-12 months) and long term (12-24 months),” said Dipak Deva, Chairman, WTTCII.

Source: WTTC Travel and Tourism Economic Impact – India 2014

India needs prioritization of travel and tourism policy; approval of plans and projects and implementation at both, government of India and state level, is absolutely crucial to give this industry a fillip. Budgetary allocation to tourism in union budget must increase – especially for marketing and public relations. Developing market intelligence is key to retaining competitive advantage over other destinations.

Tourism data sources available from Bureau of Immigrations, Ministries of Finance, Home, External Affairs, RBI, and state tourism departments must be put together into meaningful analysis for future forecasting quickly and efficiently. Infrastructure development is key to make tourism successful. Make civil aviation, railways and road transport and highways central to the development of tourism plans by improving intra regional connectivity.

Adequate accommodation is the need of the hour. The WTTCII HVS Report on the Indian Hospitality sector points out that by 2020, the hospitality sector in India will need 180,000 additional rooms, $25.5 billion for constructing these rooms and about 211,000 people to operate them. Lack of trained and quality manpower is the next key challenge for the industry. While there is a huge scope of employment, necessary skilling of the workforce at all levels is lacking.

WTTCII has traced 8 cases of assault on Women Foreign Tourists between February 2013 and March 2014. A total of 24923 cases of rape and 45351 cases of assault on women were reported in India by NCRB for the year 2012. Repeated cases of rape & assaults against foreign tourists, especially women, has received adverse Media coverage worldwide and cumulatively tarnish the image of India, especially tourism, raising serious concerns amidst consumers from our prime source markets on the ground situation of safety and security. This needs immediate correction. An attitudinal shift is required – a re-sensitization and reiteration of “Atithi Devo Bhavo” is urgently needed.

Indian Tourism: Market segmentation

The crucial challenge for India’s Tourism is how to match the traveler’s experience & imagination with the “Incredible India’s” assurances.

In reality, policy and political indifference, sometimes inadequate and mostly lack of appropriately maintained infrastructure, squalid and badly preserved prime tourist spots and violent crimes perpetuated on tourists – especially women, riddle holes in the claims of ‘Incredible India’. And it is through these gaping holes the India’s prime source markets for tourism finds opportunity for a better holiday in a Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, Dubai or Australia. This results in depriving India the real sustainable benefits Tourism can provide – to the economy, to social progress, to job creation, to poverty alleviation and to environmental preservation.

Dipak Deva, Chairman, WTTCII says, “as India seeks to stimulate sustainable economic growth based on employment generation, the opportunities offered by Travel & Tourism are clear and prominent. What is needed is a clear, focused plan to get the basics right and a sustained effort in delivering the “Incredible India” promises to both the Domestic & International Tourist.” Capitalizing on the
opportunities for this Travel & Tourism growth will, of course, require an action plan with immediate, mid term and long term measures in place to facilitate a successful and sustainable tourism sector. “This Report provides unique information and seeks to better equip both public and private bodies with informed evidence in policy making and decisions,“ said Dipak Deva.

Musafirnamah Bureau


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