India’s tourism industry is experiencing a strong period of growth, driven by the burgeoning Indian middle class, growth in high spending foreign tourists, and coordinated government campaigns to promote ‘Incredible India’.
The tourism industry in India is substantial and vibrant, and the country is fast becoming a major global destination. India’s travel and tourism industry is one of them most profitable industries in the country, and also credited with contributing a substantial amount of foreign exchange. This is illustrated by the fact that during 2006, four million tourists visited India and spent US $8.9 billion.
Several reasons are cited for the growth and prosperity of India’s travel and tourism industry. Economic growth has added millions annually to the ranks of India’s middle class, a group that is driving domestic tourism growth. Disposable income in India has grown by 10.11% annually from 2001-2006, and much of that is being spent on travel.
Thanks in part to its booming IT and outsourcing industry a growing number of business trips are made by foreigners to India, who will often add a weekend break or longer holiday to their trip. Foreign tourists spend more in India than almost any other country worldwide. Tourist arrivals are projected to increase by over 22% per year through till 2010, with a 33% increase in foreign exchange earnings recorded in 2004.
The Tourism Ministry has also played an important role in the development of the industry, initiating advertising campaigns such as the 'Incredible India' campaign, which promoted India’s culture and tourist attractions in a fresh and memorable way. The campaign helped create a colorful image of India in the minds of consumers all over the world, and has directly led to an increase in the interest among tourists.
The tourism industry has helped growth in other sectors as diverse as horticulture, handicrafts, agriculture, construction and even poultry.
Both directly and indirectly, increased tourism in India has created jobs in a variety of related sectors. The numbers tell the story: almost 20 million people are now working in the India’s tourism industry.
India’s governmental bodies have also made a significant impact in tourism by requiring that each and every state of India have a corporation to administer support issues related to tourism.
A new growth sector is medical tourism. It is currently growing at around 30% per annum. Medical tourist arrivals are expected to reach one million soon.
Medical tourism in Asia has grown rapidly. Medical tourism is approaching fever pitch at the tune of $4 Billion US, fueled largely by the cosmetic surgery market. One of the problems India has, despite having some world-class hospitals, is sanitation.
The tourism industry of India is based on certain core nationalistic ideals and standards which are: Swaagat or welcome, Sahyog or cooperation, Soochanaa or information, Sanrachanaa or infrastructure, Suvidha or facilitation, Safaai or cleanliness and Surakshaa or security.