Rajya Sabha TV programs like ‘The Big Picture’, ‘In Depth’ and ‘India’s World’ are informative programs that are important for UPSC preparation. In this article, you can read about the discussions held in the ‘Big Picture’ episode on “Incredible India“ for the IAS exam.
Anchor: Aditi Girotra
- India has moved up six places to rank 34th on the latest World Tourism and Travel Competitiveness Index (TTCI) published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The Methodology Used in the Index:
The World Economic Forum started publishing the index biennially in 2007.
- The 140 countries considered for the 2019 index accounts for almost 98% of global travel and tourism GDP.
- The Tourism and Travel Competitiveness Index (TTCI) measures different factors and policies that make a country a viable investment location for travel and tourism.
- The 4 sub-indices of TTCI are:
- Enabling environment.
- Travel and tourism policy and enabling conditions.
- Natural and cultural resources
- The sub-indices represent the overall quality, future potential and the long term sustainability of the sector in each country.
- Within the sub-indices, there are 14 dimensions including business environment, safety & security, health & hygiene, human resources & labour market, prioritization of travel and tourism sector, international openness, price comparativeness and air transport infrastructure.
- There are 90 indicators under the 14 dimensions.
- The indicators are calculated based on data taken from WEF’s Annual Executive Opinion Survey and non-survey data (hard data) taken from other international organizations.
- The hard data is based on the proportion of direct employment in the tourism industry to the total labour force in each region.
- The resultant figure is then multiplied by the TTCI score of the region. The TTCI score ranges from 1 to 6 with 1 and 6 being the minimum and maximum scores respectively.
- A year-long review process by the WEF maintains the data up to date. Members of the WEF Global Agenda Councils, policymakers, and other users of the data are consulted during the review process.
- Spain was ranked 1st in the 2019 index.
- In the 2nd to 5th positions are France, Germany, Japan and the USA. The UK dropped one position to reach 6th
- Australia, Italy, Canada and Switzerland were ranked 7th to 10th. China was ranked 13th.
- Among the top 35 countries in the list, India, China, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, and Brazil are the only countries which are not high income ones.
- The index identified Asia Pacific as one of the fastest growing regions in the world in terms of travel and tourism sector. Japan and China are the most competitive and largest countries in the region in terms of travel and tourism.
- Pakistan fared the worst among South Asian countries with a rank of 121. Its rank in the safety and security aspect is 134.
- The study has shown a resilient growth in the travel and tourism sector worldwide.
What are the Findings of the Index with respect to India?
- India had improved the rank from 65th (in 2013) to 40th (in 2017).
- In the latest index, the biggest improvement among the countries in the top 25% was made by India.
- India’s achievement is attributed to the presence of natural and cultural resources, good price competitiveness and a strong ecosystem for business travel.
- The only lower middle income country in the top 35 is India.
- Majority of South Asia’s travel and tourism GDP is contributed by India.
- India’s performance fared well in the following dimensions:
- Cultural resources: 8th
- Price competitiveness: 13th
- Natural resources: 14th
- Ground and port infrastructure: 28th
- Air infrastructure: 33rd
- India made huge progress in the dimension of ‘Business environment’ (from 89th to 39th rank).
- However, India is still lagging behind in some other sectors:
- Environment sustainability: 128th
- Tourist service infrastructure: 109th
- Information and Communication Technology (ICT) readiness: 105th
- Enabling environment: 98th
- Overall travel and tourism policy and enabling conditions: 69th
- Infrastructure: 55th
What are the Major Insights Gained from the Index?
- A higher position in the index indicates that the country has the required infrastructure, stability, resources and other amenities to attract tourists.
- Travel and tourism sector of a highly ranked country can make a huge contribution to the local and national economies.
- The rank also indicates the sustainability aspect of travel and tourism sector in a country.
- It can be used to calculate the progress in UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- 3 out of the 17 SDGs have interconnection with the travel and tourism sector.
- They are: Sustainable economic growth and employment (Goal-8), Responsible consumption and production (Goal-12) and Conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and marine resources (Goal-14).
- The study has shown a resilient growth in the travel and tourism sector worldwide.
- However, it warns that the reduction in travel expense and barriers to tourism may increase the demand in the sector to unsustainable levels.
Timeline of Government Initiatives in the Tourism Sector of India:
- 1967: Ministry of Tourism was formed to promote the industry.
- 1987: ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ campaign to convey the message that India treats the guests as equivalent to the Gods.
- 2002: ‘Incredible India’ campaign that changed the global image of India as a tourist destination.
- 2014: Visa reforms were introduced to allow online application of tourist visas by citizens of 40 countries. At present, the service is extended to 163 countries.
Status of Tourism Sector in India:
- At present, the tourism sector accounts for 9-10% of India’s GDP.
- According to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council, India is the 7th largest tourism economy in the world. India has the potential to become the 3rd largest tourism economy in the next ten years.
- According to Brand Finance’s ‘Nation Brands 2018’ report, India ranked 9th in the list of the 100 most valuable national brands.
- In 2017, the value of the industry was 15 lakh Cr. It is expected to increase to Rs. 32 lakh Cr. by 2028.
- The number of tourists visiting India has grown from just 4 million (in 1999) to 10 million (in 2017). It is estimated to become 3 million by 2025.
- The number of jobs offered by the industry is expected to grow from 29 Cr. in 2018 to 5.23 Cr. in 2028.
Reasons behind India’s growing Tourism Industry:
- The main reasons behind the growth in the sector are:
- The growth in the image and credibility of India around the world.
- The reference to Indian tourism sector in the speeches of Indian Prime Minister in other countries.
- The increase in the awareness of tourism sector among Indians. Indians alone comprise almost 90% of tourists in India.
What are the Unique Selling Points (USPs) of India in the Tourism Sector?
- India has made tremendous progress in the tourism sector in recent years.
- From heritage to nature and from cuisine to culture, India offers a huge variety of tourism products when compared to any other country.
- Monuments and temples in India are archaeological marvels.
- India’s natural assets include the scenic coasts, network of rivers and majestic mountains.
- India is a country of huge diversity between different states and cultures.
- Other USPs include spirituality, wellness, Ayurveda, Yoga, etc.
- India is doing well in the sectors of medical tourism, business tourism, ecological tourism, pilgrimage tourism, historical tourism, and adventure tourism as well.
What is the Importance of the Tourism Sector for the Growth of India?
- India’s tourism sector has the potential to serve as an engine for economic growth and job creation in the country.
- Tourism has a multiplier effect on the creation of job opportunities from the investment
- 1 Cr. investment in any other sector leads to the creation of around 55 jobs.
- But, the same investment can create around 79 jobs in the tourism industry.
- The jobs include both direct and indirect ones. The main job providing sectors are hotels, transportation, restaurants, small business units, artisan units, etc.
- India also has a huge number of tourist destinations with a potential to develop further.
Status of Tourism Sector across the World:
- The travel and tourism industry is an important part of the global economy.
- It is particularly important to some developing nations as a tool for reducing poverty.
- Travel and tourism sector contributes to 4% of global GDP.
- The sector provided 319 million jobs in 2018.
- One out of every five jobs across the world was created by the sector and it is estimated to contribute 10 Cr. jobs in the next ten years.
- The sector has grown at a rate of 9% in 2018 to become an $8.8 trillion economy.
- The growth rate in the sector continued to be higher than the global GDP growth rate for an 8th consecutive year.
Status of Medical Tourism in India:
- India has become a hub for medical tourism because of the world class and cost effective treatment options available here.
- India is the fastest growing medical tourism destination in Asia.
- The number of medical tourists to India has increased to 72 lakh (in 2017) from 4.95 lakh (in 2012). Most of them are coming from the Middle East, Africa and India’s neighbouring countries.
- Even though India was a late entrant to the field of medical tourism, it has grown significantly.
- Medical tourism in India is growing steadily and it is expected to become a $9 billion industry by 2020.
- The global medical tourism market is estimated to be around $40-60 billion.
- India is the largest provider of generic drugs and more than 50% of the vaccines in the world.
Reasons behind the Growth of Medical Tourism in India:
- India has a huge number of world class hospitals and qualified doctors.
- In India, the expenditure for treatment is around one-third when compared to other countries.
- Apart from medical visa, India has also allowed the use of tourist visa for seeking medical treatment in India.
- Visa on arrival is also available for patients from some countries.
- India has a number of specialist doctors for organ transplantation surgery.
- There are plenty of state of the art diagnosis and treatment facilities.
- Trained and compatible staff for international patient care are available in plenty.
- Remote follow up and assistance is also provided for patients.
- India has the capacity to couple medical treatment with alternative forms of treatment such as Ayurveda, Yoga and Homoeopathy.
At present, India has nearly 18% of the global medical tourism market and it is anticipated to increase by 2020 and it will grow from its current size of 3 billion US dollars to about 7-8 Billion US dollars.
Read previous RSTV articles here.