The dictionary meaning of tourism states that it is travel for leisure, recreational or business purposes in which profits are earned by providing services for the people or tourists who are travelling. Tourism has become the fourth largest industry that contributes to the global economy.
This thriving economic sector has and will continue to contribute a large proportion to the National Income and generate huge employment opportunities. With further expansion, improvement and adequate diversification, it will become a valuable asset for economic growth in a developing country like India.
During the pre-independence era of India, first organised works for the development of tourism in the country was initiated by a committee headed by the chairmanship of Sir John Sargent. He was the Educational Advisor to the Government of India, and it was the year 1945. Then the development was again fired up as a part of the Second Five Year Plan in the country in the year 1956.But it was not until the sixth plan, that tourism was considered as a device to gain social integration and economic development. A National Policy on tourism was announced that gained momentum for the development of this sector in 1982. A comprehensive plan was formulated by the National Committee in 1988, to achieve sustainable growth in this industry.
A National Action Plan was prepared in 1992, and the National Strategy for Promotion of Tourism was drafted in 1996. The roles of Central and State governments, private and public sector undertakings in the development of tourism was recognised under the New Tourism Policy in 1997. There were also plans made to incorporate the help of Panchayat Raj Institutions, non- government organisations, local bodies and the local youth to make better facilities for tourism.
It was calculated by the World Travel and Tourism Council that tourism in India profited ₹14.02 lakh crore or (US$ 220 billion) or 9.6% of Nation's GDP in 2016. It supported 9.3% of its total employment or 40.343 million jobs. The annual growth rate of this sector is predicted to be ₹28.49 lakh crore(US$ 440 billion) by 2024 or about 10% of GDP. The medical tourism sector of India was estimated to be worth US$ 3 billion in 2015 and expected to grow up to $7.8 billion by 2020.
The arrival of foreign tourists in India has grown up to 10% from 2015 to 2016. Domestic tourism to all the states and Union territories has increased to 16.5% since 2011. The most visited Indian cities are Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Agra, Jaipur and Kolkata. According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report 2017, out of 136 countries, India's tourism sector ranks 10th.
It mentions India's forthcoming regarding its good air transport, flexible infrastructure for ground transport, vast natural and cultural resources. However, it also mentioned India's shortcomings regarding hotel rooms per capita by international standards, comparatively low ATM penetration, sanitation etc. India's receipts from tourism during 2012 as per The World Tourism Organisation ranked 7th in Asia Pacific and 16th in the World.
For The World Economic Forum ranked India as the 14th best tourist destination in the world for its natural resources, a cultural legacy with many World Heritage Sites and creative industries. A leading brand consultancy, the Country Brand Index (CBI) survey conducted by Future Brand ranks India among the top five, for the best country brand for value-for-money due to its authenticity, art and culture. It also made it to the "rising stars" list or the countries that would become major tourist destinations in next five years.
Several National policies for the promotion and development of tourism are designed by The Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry collaborates and consults with other stakeholders in the sector bloke various Central ministries/ agencies, Union Territories, state governments and the representatives of the private sector.
It makes continuous efforts for the promotion of new forms of tourism such as cruise, rural, eco-tourism and medical. It also has formed the " Incredible India" campaign, "Hunar se rozgar" program and VISA on arrival to promote the tourism in India.
Some of the major drawbacks in the development of tourism in the country are- lack of accommodation and trained human resources in sufficient numbers, accessibility to tourist destinations, non- availability of adequate air seat capacity and infrastructure.
Poor visitor experience is also another shameful reason that is regarding the growth of this sector. Poor hygiene conditions regular reports of harassment, touting and eve- teasing are some of the many factors that dissuade visitors from visiting again.
Tourism has become an instrument for employment generation, income, sustainable human development and poverty alleviation. It is an important source of foreign exchange earning in India and has a profitable impact on the payment balance of the country.
India offers lots of diversity that pertain to its mythology, ecology, geography and history. And the kind of Tourism in India can be classified as:-
Tourism is a rapidly evolving industry that Chas huge potential to enhance the country's social vans economic development. With proper planning and involvement of judiciary system to decrease crime against visitors, the development of tourist attractions in India will boost its economy.