Tourism in India was seen as a service sector for a long time. It has now been recognized as an export industry due to its multiple advantages. Though Tourism has grown at a rapid pace gained importance slowly, it has enhanced its share in international tourist arrivals as well as in foreign exchange earnings. Now, it is the largest service industry in India, with a contribution of 6.23 per cent to the national GDP and 8.78 per cent of the total employment in India. According to WTTC, India will be a tourism hot spot from 2009 to 2018 having the highest ten year growth potential. The Travel and Tourism competitiveness Report 2007 ranked tourism in India sixth, in terms of price competitiveness.
During 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012) Ministry of Tourism propose to continue supporting creation of world class infrastructure in the country so that existing tourism products can be further improved and expanded to meet new market requirements and enhance the competitiveness of India as a tourist destination. The Government is investing heavily for integrated development of the Infrastructure Sector. In consultation with the State Governments and UTs, the Ministry of Tourism has identified several tourist circuits and destinations for integrated development. During the current financial year the Ministry has sanctioned so far Rs.323.00 crore for various projects throughout the country. Tourism Sector, with 9.24% share of employment, accords a perfect opportunity to translate our vision of inclusive growth to reality. All possible steps are being taken by the government to promote tourism related infrastructure such as the Hotel and Travel Industry, developing tourism circuits, working towards preservation of monuments, human resources development, and, up gradation of information technology.
Tourism – Definition
Tourism is travel for recreational or leisure purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people who "travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited". Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity.
Tourism is vital for many countries and many island nations due to the large intake of money for businesses with their goods and services and the opportunity for employment in the service industries associated with tourism. These service industries include transportation services such as cruise ships and taxis, accommodation such as hotels and entertainment venues, and other hospitality industry services such as resorts.
Development of Tourism in India
□ Early Development
The first conscious and organized efforts to promote tourism in India were made in 1945 when a committee was set up by the Government under the Chairmanship of Sir John Sargent, the then Educational Adviser to the Government of India (Krishna, A.G., 1993). Thereafter, the development of tourism was taken up in a planned manner in 1956 coinciding with the Second Five Year Plan. The approach has evolved from isolated planning of single unit facilities in the Second and Third Five Year Plans. The Sixth Plan marked the beginning of a new era when tourism began to be considered a major instrument for social integration and economic development.
But it was only after the 80’s that tourism activity gained momentum. The Government took several significant steps. A National Policy on tourism was announced in 1982. Later in 1988, the National Committee on Tourism formulated a comprehensive plan for achieving a sustainable growth in tourism. In 1992, a National Action Plan was prepared and in 1996 the National Strategy for Promotion of Tourism was drafted. In 1997, the New Tourism Policy recognizes the roles of Central and State governments, public sector undertakings and the private sector in...