In the year 2019, Indian received 11million inbound tourists. It also includes people visiting friends and families here. India has 1 per cent share in international tourist market in pre-Covid period.
Regular International flights have already started. The industry has to ensure that the whole industry is fully vaccinated on priority basis. That sends a sound message that whoever is attending a tourist at airport or elsewhere is fully vaccinated.
India’s achievement in improving connectivity in recent years would come very handy now when the world is bouncing back, and tourism is reopening. India has 140 airports, 20 of them have capacity for international take-off and landing. The country has second largest network of roads after the US as about 36 km roads are constructed every single day.
As far as inbound tourism is concerned, October onwards 30 to 40 per cent business of what we had in the pre-Covid times would come to India, say industry experts. However, cost of tour packages for India post Covid-19 has grown up by 25 to 30 per cent because of increase in fuel prices, transport cost and hotel rates have gone up. Domestic flights in India are costly. India should bring Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) under GST so that cost of ATF comes down.
Pre-Covid the number of domestic tourist visits in Indian is around 2.3 billion which is almost one-and-half visits per person making India the second highest market for domestic visits. But when compared with the US and China, the number of visits per person was almost six for US citizens and almost four for the Chinese domestic visits. While number of domestic tourists in India is high, the value and average expenditure by tourist is low.
To seize the day, the government as well as the industry will need to rise to the challenge of transforming top-20 Indian destinations as world-class tourist attractions. This requires an integrated, inter-sectoral approach and investment from the government to…