The writer is the former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The views expressed are his own.
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Tourism sector continues to put up our impressive performance. There is domestic tourism growth at the rate of 20% year on year and international tourist arrivals also reached double digit figure.
Airlines are showing tremendous growth. Budget carriers have made a big difference in the way of travels for Indians. Infrastructure development is getting due priority. There is a tremendous potential for the tourism industry in India to grow. India is still grossly under roomed and the new hotels which are now coming up which are at various stages of completion especially in Delhi and NCR will fill that void. We need such capacities across the country and that too in more budget segment, say in one to three star category. ITC, Taj, ITDC, Sarovar have hotels which span from luxury to mid market segments and thus cater to the emerging need of travelers in different parts of the country. It offers presently incredible opportunities specially jobs across the board over the next few decades and in millions. Infact we do not have supporting trained manpower to meet the challenges of the shortage of service industry. It is not only in accommodation sector, it is in the Airlines, Medical Tourism, Spa & Wellness Tourism, Sports Tourism, MICE Tourism - take any segment, jobs galore. Now central government and State Government are putting money for Mega Tourism centers with public private partnerships. This is going to give the country is going to have India with longer stay of tourists who will need mix of services. All these segments success depend how the service providers interact with tourists. Such interactions should leave the others inspired and desired to see more. The need is for innovations and importance of thinking out of box so that one can fight any negative situation. Learning through discussions as a practice to be followed. All these development show good sign for job opportunities and prosperity. The new supply of Hotels Rooms, Restaurants, Airlines, Airports, Medical & Wellness Tourism Establishments Cruise Tourism possibilities, Convention Centers, Sports Stadiums, Entertainments Centre Tourism Institutes, Wildlife Resorts, Financial Services Tourism advisory services etc will help stabilize the jobs shortage and provide real fillip to tourism. Tourism sector has played a very important part in India's growth story not only in employment, from 6% contribution to GDP now, it can move to 10% if more investments are made in tourism sector. This sector needs pumping in more money to achieve this goal. There is need for technological up gradation and skill development to attract visitors from overseas. India is doing well every where as there are conscious attempts by the trained man power to improve customers service and quality expectations of customers. With cash starved corporate houses freezing incentives to the staff and business association, tourism provided a relief as tourists continued to flow in India even at the time of global economic crisis, Thanks to booming domestic tourism which crossed 650 million figure Tourism sector continued with jobs vacancies which were filled up as eventually tourism will rebounce due its resilience power. Infact during such crises only tourism trade stake holders closely monitored the activities across various dimensions including charter movements, consumer confidence updating and looking into new products conducting educational tours for their overseas contacts and signing contracts. They did not adopt policy of retrenchment. They believed in the old adage when the going gets tan the tough gets going and in every respect that proved right. They always look for an opportunity and do not like to fritter away the opportunity as in all adversity there is a new opportunity even Ministry of Tourism, Government of India did an excellent job by organizing capacity building programmes for all levels of service providers and they proved very useful during commonwealth Games and the conference will be useful at and conventions that to follow since November, 2010. It is hoped early next year would see improvement in hotel occupancy with increased travel opportunity. The industry will be able to sustain the growth through the year. Niche Tourism will shape in new trend in providing wider spectrum of dynamic tourism opportunities where huge number of trained personnel have to play serious role and provide service to aspiring tourism players in India and its counterparts around the world. Tourism will provide the real empowerment to Indian man power and empowerment to women also provide job's at all the segments mentioned. More tourists will create more jobs and more happy tourists means they return on a repeat visit about 10% of total employment in India is from tourism sector and at a right estimate over 50 million jobs one available through tourism sector and is progressing Many other sectors which are related to tourism but not directly like Railways, Airports, Hospitals, real estate if it is also included nearly 20 to 30% jobs are available through tourism and allied services. Have a smile in your face -and salute tourism for this bo . Let us keep tourism in our mind, welcome tourists and send them back as friend.