October, 2019

‘Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all’.

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Credits : Prateek Hira

Tourism’s capability to turn around the economy is immense and many countries have duly recognised these. Dignified job creation comes packaged with all the economic benefits from tourism. Tourism in India contributes 9.2% to GDP and 8.1% to total employment. Not only that tourism is a labour intensive sector, but also provides direct and indirect employment for skilled, semi skilled and unskilled workforce.

We are grappling with slow economy and in such a situation, the worst happens in employment arena. It’s high time we realise the gravity of this and put our acts together to counter this slowdown through tourism.

Unfortunately India only gets 1.2% share of the world tourism, it is ranked 26th in terms of foreign tourist arrivals and it gets only 2.1% of all tourism receipts. Considering its size and product diversity India’s share is too low. With increased number of foreign tourists and movement of domestic tourists, India can create a cushion for its economy and generate dignified jobs both in rural and urban areas and for all skill-sets.

World over, one out of each ten jobs belong to tourism and similarly when one tourist moves, he creates ten employment opportunities. India’s unemployment rate is about 6.1%, which can be addressed by increasing tourist inflow and bettering domestic travel within India. Tourism is one sector that can easily be amplified to counter such economic crisis and set things right. Since the economic crisis In European Union there was a fall in employment, but then not for employment in tourism, as tourism still grew annually at the rate of 0.9%. Tourism also happens to be the second fastest growing sector in the world ahead of healthcare, information technology and financial services.

We in India lack in making tourism do what it can for us. There are many reasons for India lagging behind, but major ones that have plagued tourism are, inconsistent strategies and absence of targeted planning. We ought to have defined objectives with specific targets. Willingness of the government is of prime importance and it needs to prioritise this sector, considering it an economic driver of growth. Only with a few efforts in the tourism sector, India can generate new employment opportunities and dignify existing jobs.

Optimism is in the air and all around. NITI Aayog intends to grow inflow of foreign tourists to twelve million and double domestic tourist movement by 2023. For the very first time any Prime Minister of India, spoke at length on tourism and this was Narendra Modi recently in his speech on Independence Day. This signifies the attention of our government on tourism and its willingness. To achieve success in increasing tourism, India has to work full throttle with well thought strategic road map and all stake holders need to come together with the government and walk a defined path that would finally lead to economic revival of India through tourism.

 

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United Nations World Tourism Organisation picks up a topic each year on the World Tourism Day, 27th September, in relevance to the global situations and issues. This year India is the host country for UNWTO’s World Tourism Day celebrations with the theme being, Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all’.