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India, the land of heritage and cultural diversity, is home to a tapestry of scenic geographical locations encompassing exhilarating adventure, cruise, medical, and ecotourism. Thus, the nation garners prestige as an ideal haven for tourists and explorers from across the globe. From adventure tourism for thrill seekers to eco-tourism for nature lovers, there’s something for everyone in India. Over the past years, these influences have laid a firm foundation for the growth of India's tourism sector, contributing to accelerated employment and regional development with a multiplying effect on the activity of related sectors.  

In the fiscal year 2022, India recorded a remarkable surge in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA), reaching ~6 Mn, reflecting a growth of ~305% compared to FY 2021. This influx accounted for over ~$16.92 Bn in Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE), reflecting a robust growth of ~1076.77%. During January-September 2023, India recorded 6,432,269 FTAs as compared to 3,978,105 in the same period last year; signalling continued growth in tourist arrivals. India's tourism industry is indeed a beacon of boundless possibilities. Projections indicate that India's tourism sector will remain the prime driver of the nation's GDP. While the industry is anticipated to generate revenue exceeding ~$59 Bn, FTAs may also cross ~30 Mn by 2028. 

Strategic Government Initiatives to Propel Growth in India's Tourism Sector 

As stated by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a post-budget webinar in March 2023, the promotion and development of tourism is taken up on Mission Mode in the Union Budget sanctioned for FY 2023-24. Consequently, the Government of India allocated INR 2,400 Cr for the Ministry of Tourism to support various government initiatives. The Budget 2023-24 prioritises the development of tourist destinations holistically and aims to develop at least 50 destinations as a complete package of tourism, which can then be promoted globally. A mobile app is also proposed in the Budget 2023-24, which will host all the information about tourist destinations across India, such as connectivity, tourist guides, security, and others. Under the Vibrant Villages Programme, tourism infrastructure and amenities will be developed to promote tourism in border villages. Here is a brief outlook of the winning government initiatives that pave the way for global investments: 

  • Global Tourism Investors Summit (GTIS): As an initiative under India’s G20 Presidency, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India organised the country's first Global Tourism Investors’ Summit (GTIS) to showcase opportunities for investment and trade while fostering tourism and development nationwide. As stated by Shri G. K. Reddy, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism & Culture, and DoNER, India’s current investment landscape positions it as an ideal destination for investment in diverse sub-sectors of the tourism industry, including adventure tourism, eco-tourism, rural tourism, and others.
  • Swadesh Darshan & Swadesh Darshan 2.0: The Swadesh Darshan scheme by the Ministry of Tourism aims to develop a comprehensive framework for the holistic development of tourist destinations. With an outlay of INR 1,412 Cr for FY 2023-24 in the Union Budget 2023-24, the scheme is designed to promote responsible and sustainable tourism practices nationwide through collaborative efforts with the state governments, Union Territory authorities, and local governments. Swadesh Darshan 2.0 is the evolution of the existing flagship scheme, Swadesh Darshan, by the Ministry of Tourism to foster the spirit of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and promote the country as a prominent tourism destination. The scheme envisions developing sustainable and responsible tourism destinations with a focus on self-employment, youth skilling, private sector investments, and local culture.
  • PRASHAD Scheme: Launched in 2014-15 by the Government of India under the Ministry of Tourism, the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) seeks to enhance religious tourism in India by developing and identifying pilgrimage sites across the nation. Since the expansion of domestic tourism primarily depends on pilgrimage tourism in India, the PRASHAD Scheme, with an allocated outlay of INR 250 Cr under the Union Budget 2023-24, is crucial for developing such destinations in an urgent, well-planned, and sustainable fashion. 
  • National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism: Launched in 2022, the National Strategy for Tourism seeks to establish and promote India as an ideal global destination for responsible and sustainable tourism. Since tourism is a major contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the Ministry of Tourism strives to ensure low to zero pollution rates by enforcing effective strategies, including efficient utilisation and reduced dependency on fossil fuels, resourceful utilisation of land, and others. 

Navigating Tourism Growth, Leveraging Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) 

From unparalleled government initiatives for sustainable and inclusive tourism development and 100% FDI under the automatic route, India’s position on the global tourism map has strengthened by leaps and bounds. During 2014-2022, India received FDI inflows worth $9 Bn+ in the hotel and tourism sector compared to $7 Bn+ from 2000 to 2014. While tourism has become a vital economic and human development instrument in India, the industry has yet to realise its full potential. Global investments will help catalyse unprecedented growth in India’s tourism sector, unlocking its full potential. The government is majorly focusing on attracting  global investments into theme parks, adventure tourism, amusement parks, and skiing destination infrastructure as outlined during the GTIS 2023.

WAIPA 27TH World Investment Conference: India's Flourishing Tourism Sector in the Global Spotlight 

The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WIC), established in 1995 under the advocacy of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and 50 other Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), unites 134 IPAs from 110 countries. WAIPA serves as a global platform to facilitate engagement and exchange of expertise. WAIPA organises the World Investment Conference (WIC) to address the ongoing socio-economic agendas concerning global investment flows, emerging technologies, and strategic policy considerations. 

The WAIPA 27th World Investment Conference is an invaluable opportunity for India to showcase its rich heritage, cultural tapestry, and geographical diversity while highlighting government policies to attract FDI and engage stakeholders in the tourism sector. 

Register now for the presentation on “Investments in Tourism” to start your growth journey at the 27th World Investment Conference here: