‘Opportunity to make Indian tourism the mainstream engine of socio-economic growth’
FAITH Chairman Nakul Anand suggests strategic pillars including shared National Tourism vision
We have not been able to realise the true impact of tourism and convert our natural advantages into potential economic advantage. Despite its rich treasure trove and high rankings in natural and cultural resources coupled with price competitiveness, India, the fifth largest economy in the world, could only capture 1.24 per cent of the world’s International Tourist Arrivals in 2019, despite the fact that the country ranked eighth on Cultural Resources & Business Travel and 14th on Natural Resources on World Economic Forum Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2019 out of 140 countries. This observation was made by Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) chairman Nakul Anand at the National Conference of State Tourism Ministers being held at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh between September 18 and September 20. FAITH is the India tourism policy body and think-tank set up by all the 10 national associations – ADTOI, ATOAI, FHRAI, HAI, IATO, ICPB, IHHA, ITTA, TAAI & TAFI – representing the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India.
“We meet together for a common cause. A cause that has provided livelihood and life to so many. It is our global calling card that truly unites the diversity of our country. There are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen. The pandemic swept through the world and wreaked havoc like never before. It remains the worst crisis to hits the industry, ironically tourism relies on the same mobility that spreads the disease. Every storm, however, brings with itself seeds of opportunities.
Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them. Uncertain times are the catalysts for re-imagination and the opportunity also lies in seeing what everyone sees and imagining what no one has thought,” added Anand.
The FAITH chairman noted that the pandemic triggered consumers to make this the “Year of the Travel Reset”. He added the future is travelling slower and more mindfully by embracing regenerative travel, challenging over tourism and correcting under tourism, experience inclusive destinations rooted in meaningful connections with Nature, community development, conservation and sustainability while putting purpose first. “Travel will be less about where you go and when you go. More about who you are with and what you can do together from mass travel to meaningful travel. The year ahead will also see the rise of premium travel,” he shared.
“We, at FAITH, believe that we have a great opportunity to make Indian tourism the mainstream engine of socio-economic growth. In our journey to 100th anniversary of India’s Independence in 2047, it is more than possible to achieve 100 million inbound tourists and 10 billion domestic tourism visits with a potential employment of 150 million additional direct and indirect jobs Pan-India,” said Anand.
To achieve this vision, Anand suggested, are the strategic pillars at the core including shared National Tourism vision, value accretive regulation, investment drivers and market excellence. “These can best be summed up in what we term as keeping the ‘FAITH’ in our TEN to WIN ways: National Tourism Council – ‘One India - One Tourism’; GST amendments – ‘One Country - One Tax’; infrastructure sector and industry status – ‘Quality brings Quality’; export status ‘Globally Competitive’ - Value and Volume; classify tourism in the concurrent list; domestic travel tax credit – ‘Extend Benefits to Aas Paas Tourism’; create Tourism Centres of Excellence; sensitisation on importance of tourism across all states’ officers; seamless tourism transportation – ‘standardise all interstate road taxes’ and integrated Tourism Marketing Campaign between Centre and states,” he said.
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