Despite India’s significant potential to be a major global tourist centre, the country has only seen 17.9 million tourists arrive in 2022, a mite less than tiny Vietnam.
India is home to some of the best tourist spots in the world. Monuments like Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Golden Temple, Hawa Mahal, Ajanta Caves, the Hampi temple complex and Charminar, among many other stunning architectural beauties, have captivated tourists across the world for decades.
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Apart from monuments, the natural beauty of places like Meghalaya, Kashmir, Ladakh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Kerala and more draws travellers every year. However, despite India’s significant potential to be a major global tourist centre, the country has only seen 17.9 million tourists arrivals in 2022.
Countries like France (89.4 million), Spain (83.7 million), the United States (79.3 million), China (65.7 million) and Italy (64.5 million) have seen far more tourists at the same time. Even regional neighbours like Vietnam (18 million) and Indonesia (15.5 million) have seen a numbers like India despite being much smaller in size.
The tourism sector in India contributed $210 billion, or 9.2 percent of India's GDP, in 2018. The sector employs 42.673 million individuals or 8.1 percent of the total employment in 2018.
While the COVID-19 pandemic hit the tourism industry extremely hard, the pent-up demand for travel has played a role in bringing the sector back to pre-pandemic levels. Most of the recovery has been spurred by growing disposable incomes of the emerging middle class in India, who engage in domestic tourism. International tourism is still muted compared to pre-pandemic levels.
A report from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) earlier in the year estimated that the tourism market will grow to $125 billion by FY27 and employ 53 million jobs by 2029.In order to do so, India will need to take important steps to establish itself as a global tourist centre.
What India needs to do to draw more foreign tourists