I would like to thank the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Secretary of Tourism and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the opportunity to participate in this forum and support the tourism development agenda in India.
Travel & tourism is a diverse and sophisticated sector and one of the world’s most economically significant. Globally, tourism represents 10% of global GDP, 5% of total investment and one out of every 11 jobs, about 50% of them held by women.
The importance of tourism in developing economies cannot be understated. Tourism accounts for 45% of exports in developing countries, and in 47 of the world’s 50 poorest countries, tourism activities are the main foreign exchange earner.
Last year for the first time, more people (an estimated 550 million) travelled to and within the developing world than the developed world.
Tourism is growing fastest in the developing world especially in Africa, the Middle East, East and South Asia where nature and culture are particularly strong drivers of demand and where growing economies spur business travel. But there is also major growth and opportunity in the new outbound markets of China and India as well as significant domestic travel growth.
The tourism sector in India, in particular, has a huge untapped inclusive development potential.
India possesses some of the greatest wealth in tangible and intangible assets in the world, including archaeological, historical, religious, natural and cultural resources.
But to tap India’s tourism potential there is need to take specific actions:
- Continue with the diagnostic process that leads to a Vision, Strategy and Action Plan at national and state levels;
- Foster public and private investments in virtual and physical infrastructure;
- Plan and manage destinations more effectively;
- Implement efficient investment policy and regulations that make it easier to provide tourism services;
- Develop skills;
- Invest in stakeholder dialogue – public, private and communities; central and state. Public Private Dialogue such as today’s event is key.
Prioritizing the ease of doing business will simplify, facilitate and improve private investments in tourism sector. The newly centrally funded Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD schemes promote suitable Public Private Partnership (PPP) options for tourism.
The World Bank Group team is keen to provide all possible support to foster market development and promote inclusive and sustainable tourism development in India.
We can assist in building a competitive, sustainable tourism sector to drive growth and strengthen linkages between the industry and communities. The objective of this work is to transform tourism assets into reliable sources of income, create sustainable jobs by unlocking investment opportunities, and address market failures that restrict tourism growth, inclusion, and investment.
We are working with state and central governments to transform the “Buddhist Circuit” from a series of disconnected sites to a holistic tourism experience that will increase revenue and jobs and improve living conditions of some of the host communities. This requires the public and private sector to come together in a much more functional way to define a shared long-term vision, properly plan, and jointly finance and manage destinations in an inclusive and sustainable manner.
In conclusion, let me reiterate the World Bank Group’s support for tourism in India. This support harnesses the many instruments at our disposal, ranging from analytical and advisory services to lending at the national and state level as well as investments in private firms.