India offers a diverse portfolio of niche tourism products – cruises, adventure, trek, film, rural and religious tourism. India has been recognized as a destination for spiritual tourism for domestic and international tourists. The tourism sector has a major contribution to the National GDP. Total contribution by travel and tourism sector to India’s GDP is expected to increase from Rs. 15.24 trillion in 2017 to Rs. 32.05 trillion in 2028. India was ranked 7th among 184 countries in terms of travel and tourism’s total contribution to GDP in 2017. Travel and Tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner for India. Several marketing initiatives by the Government of India, such as ‘Incredible India!’ and ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ has provided a focused impetus to growth. In October 2018, Statue Of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also known as ‘Statue Of Unity’, was inaugurated as a tourist attraction. It is the tallest statue in the world standing at a height of 182 metre. It is expected to boost the tourism sector in the country and put India on the world tourism map. The visiting hours to the statue have been increased by two more hours and has been equipped with e-bike tours. Travel and Tourism generated millions of jobs directly in 2018 and this is to grow by 2.2% in 2019. It also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.
How is the tourism sector affected by the pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on tourism industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as slump in demand among travelers. The tourism industry has been massively affected by the spread of coronavirus, as many countries have introduced travel restrictions in an attempt to contain its spread. The coronavirus epidemic is putting up to 50 million jobs in the global travel and tourism sector at risk, with travel likely to slump by a quarter this year, Asia being the most affected continent, the World Travel and Tourism Council has said Once the outbreak is over, it could take up to 10 months for the industry to recover. The tourism industry currently accounts for 10% of global GDP. The impact would depend on how long the epidemic lasts and what are its repercussions.