India's tourism industry plays a vital role in its economic growth and job creation. The market size of the travel industry in India was projected to be $75 billion in FY20 and is expected to increase to $125 billion by FY27. The Indian film industry has experienced substantial growth in recent years, producing globally successful and recognized films. As a result, there has been an upsurge in demand for film-related tourism in India, with visitors wanting to explore locations and experiences featured in their favorite movies.

India's diverse geographical features, UNESCO world heritage sites, and unique tourism offerings such as cruises, adventures, and remote destinations make it an attractive location for international filmmakers for various types of productions. The PwC Report predicts that the media and entertainment industry in India will grow at a CAGR of 8.8% and reach INR 4,30,401Cr by 2026. The country's rich cultural heritage and innovative practices in the entertainment sector have contributed to the promotion of unexplored parts of the country, attracting both local and global tourists. As the world's largest film producer after Hollywood, India has become a paradise for art and entertainment enthusiasts. The films produced in India have significantly impacted the promotion of the locations where they were filmed, further increasing India's popularity as a prime destination for film tourism.

As per the case studies mentioned in the EY FICCI Report, the release of the film "3 Idiots" in Ladakh led to a significant increase in tourist arrivals, which reached 2.4 times the average number of tourists and have continued to grow in recent times. Similarly, the movie "Krrish" was a unique collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board, which resulted in an increase in the number of Indian tourists visiting Singapore from six million to seven million. Rajasthan, with its grand palaces and forts, has been a favorite location for several Bollywood movies, such as "Jodha Akbar" and "Bajirao Mastani." Besides Bollywood, India has also attracted international filmmakers due to its diverse locations and cost-effectiveness. Hollywood films such as "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," and "Life of Pi" were shot in India and received critical acclaim. Web series and streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have also started creating content in India, further boosting the demand for shooting locations in the country.

The government of India has taken various measures to promote film tourism, including providing incentives like tax rebates and subsidies to attract filmmakers to shoot in the country. To streamline the process of obtaining permits and permissions for shooting in India, the government has established a Film Facilitation Office (FFO), which acts as a one-stop-shop for filmmakers. This office is the primary platform for obtaining access and simplifies the process of shooting films in various exotic locations across India.

The state governments in India have also made significant efforts to promote film tourism in their respective states, contributing to the growth of the industry. Madhya Pradesh, for instance, has been recognized with the Most Film Friendly State award at the 68th National Film Awards. The state's tourism policy aims to create a sustainable and inclusive tourism ecosystem, which promotes and develops tourism in the state. Other states like Rajasthan, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand have also actively contributed to the development of film tourism. Rajasthan's strategy offers subsidies of up to Rs. 2 crore for filming within the state and waives all taxes and charges related to filming at any government-owned landmarks, locations, and assets. Uttar Pradesh, which has played a significant role in the history of the Indian Cine Industry, focuses on holistic growth through its latest film tourism policy. This policy emphasizes infrastructural development, subsidies and rebates on location fees, and access to government properties. Additionally, state tourism policies also promote film tourism through the organization of film festivals, road shows, cultural events, and other promotional activities.

The G20 presidency provides India with an opportunity to showcase its potential in the tourism industry, including film tourism, to a global audience. The Indian government can use this platform to attract more foreign investments and partnerships in the film tourism industry. The G20 forum can also serve as a platform for Indian policymakers to exchange ideas and best practices with their global counterparts to promote and develop the film tourism industry further. Additionally, the G20 presidency can lead to increased collaborations with other countries to create co-production opportunities, enabling India to showcase its diverse locations and culture to the world.

In conclusion, India has immense potential in the film tourism industry, and concerted efforts by the government and private sector can help the country achieve global recognition. The growth of film tourism can further boost the overall tourism industry, by providing jobs and boosting the local economy, particularly in rural areas. Moreover, promoting film tourism in India helps to preserve and promote the country's cultural heritage and historic landmarks, offering visitors a unique and authentic experience. Film tourism can also promote cultural exchange and understanding between different countries and communities. By showcasing Indian culture and heritage through film, investors can attract visitors from around the world who are interested in experiencing it firsthand. With its diverse locations, cost-effectiveness, and rich cultural heritage, India has all the ingredients to become a leading destination for film tourism, elevating the country to the top ranks of global tourism. According to the World Economic Forum Report, India has a promising rank in the world Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, and the growth of film tourism is expected to catalyze its tourism industry further.

The blog has been Co-authored by Ritam Dutta.

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