The Indian tourism and hospitality industry has emerged as one of the key drivers of growth among the services sector in India. Tourism in India has significant potential considering the rich cultural and historical heritage, variety in ecology, terrains and places of natural beauty spread across the country. Tourism is also a potentially large employment generator besides being a significant source of foreign exchange for the country.
The industry is expected to generate 13.45 million jobs! across sub-segments such as Restaurants (10.49 million jobs), Hotels (2.3 million jobs) and Travel Agents/Tour Operators (0.66 million). The Ministry of Tourism plans to help the industry meet the increasing demand of skilled and trained manpower by providing hospitality education to students as well as certifying and upgrading skills of existing service providers.
India has moved up 13 positions to 52nd rank from 65th in Tourism & Travel competitive index.
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India’s rising middle class and increasing disposable incomes has continued to support the growth of domestic and outbound tourism.
Domestic Tourist Visits (DTVs) to the States/Union Territories (UTs) grew by 15.5 per cent y-o-y to 1.65 billion (provisional) during 2016 with the top 10 States/UTs contributing about 84.2 per cent to the total number of DTVs, as per Ministry of Tourism.
As per Ministry of Tourism, foreign tourists’ arrival (FTAs) on e-tourist visa increased 56.6 per cent year-on-year in December 2016. In 2016, foreign tourist arrivals on e-visas more than doubled to 10,79,696 from 4,45,300 in 2015, partly because the e-visa facility was extended to 161 countries from 113 previously.
India is expected to move up five spots to be ranked among the top five business travel market globally by 2030, as business travel spending in the country is expected to treble until 2030 from US$ 30 billion in 2015.
International hotel chains will likely increase their expansion and investment plans in India, and are expected to account for 50 per cent share in the Indian hospitality industry by 2022, from the current 44 per cent.
The tourism and hospitality sector is among the top 10 sectors in India to attract the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). During the period April 2000-December 2016, the hotel and tourism sector attracted around US$ 9.93 billion of FDI, according to the data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
With the rise in the number of global tourists and realising India’s potential, many companies have invested in the tourism and hospitality sector. Some of the recent investments in this sector are as follows:
MakeMyTrip has agreed to buy Ibibo Group’s India travel business at a deal value of US$ 720 million, thus creating India’s largest online travel firm with a value of US$ 1.8 billion, as estimated by Morgan Stanley.Yellow Tie Hospitality Management Llp, specialising in franchise management of food and beverages firms, plans to invest up to US$ 15-20 million in five restaurant ventures of celebrity chef Mr Harpal Singh Sokhi, with the aim to have 250 outlets under these brands by 2020.Chaudhary Group (CG) Hotels & Resorts aims to have 200 hotels operational by 2020.Dine Equity Incorporation has signed a franchisee partnership deal with food services firm Kwal’s Group, in order to enter the Indian markets with their breakfast chain IHOP.As per industry experts, mid-hotel segment in India is expected to receive investments of Rs 6,600 crore (US$ 990 million) excluding land over next five years, with major hotel chains like Mariott, Carlson Rezidor and ITC planning to set up upscale, budget hotels in state capitals and tier-II cities.Hyatt Hotels Corporation has outlined plans of bringing its Hyatt Centric brand to India soon along with three new hotels in Kochi, Rameswaram and Hyderabad by 2017.Vatika Hotels Pvt Ltd has raised Rs 495 crore (US$ 74.25 million) in debt from Axis Bank Ltd to expand its hotels and quick-service restaurant chain besides its business centres.AccorHotels, a French multinational hotel group, plans to expand its footprint in Guwahati and Kolkata by adding more 550 rooms to its portfolio of hotels in the next three years. The first Incredible India Tourism Investment Summit 2016, which was organised from September 21-23, 2016, witnessed signing of 86 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) worth around Rs 15,000 crore (US$ 2.24 billion), for the development of tourism and hospitality projects.Steigenberger Hotels, a German luxury hotel company, and MBD Group, a Delhi-based firm which runs 5-star Radisson Hotels in Noida and Ludhiana, have formed a joint venture to build five luxury hotels and manage another 15 luxury hotels in India by 2030.Keys Hotels, a premium brand of Berggruen Hotels, plans to launch three new hotels in India at Vishakhapatnam, Calicut and Jaipur, and further add up to 10 Keys Hotels in the country by the end of FY 2017.Stayzilla, a budget hotels and homestays aggregator, has raised over US$ 13 million in Series C round of funding from Matrix Partners and Nexus Ventures, which will be used to improve product, technology and marketing initiatives for its alternate stay business.Ctrip.com, China's largest travel portal, has bought a stake in India's largest travel portal MakeMyTrip for US$ 180 million via convertible bonds, which allows Ctrip to increase its share in MakeMyTrip up to 26.6 per cent.Global investment banking major Goldman Sachs has invested Rs 441 crore (US$ 65.76 million) to acquire an equity stake in Gurgaon-based hotel development and investment start-up SAMHI Hotels which will help fund SAMHI's expansion plans.Thai firm Onyx Hospitality and Kingsbridge India hotel asset management firm have set up a joint venture (JV) to open seven hotels in the country by 2018 for which the JV will raise US$ 100 million.Goldman Sachs, New-York based multinational investment banking fund, has invested Rs 255 crore (US$ 38.02 million) in Vatika Hotels.
The Indian government has realised the country’s potential in the tourism industry and has taken several steps to make India a global tourism hub.
In the Union Budget 2017-18, the Government of India announced some initiatives to give a boost to the tourism and hospitality sector such as setting up of five special tourism zones, special pilgrimage or tourism trains and worldwide launch of Incredible India campaign among others.
Some of the major initiatives taken by the Government of India to give a boost to the tourism and hospitality sector of India are as follows:
The Central Government has taken a number of steps for smooth transitioning to cashless mode of payment to ensure that no hardship is faced by the tourists and the tourism industry remains unaffected from government's demonetisation move.Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has come up with a unique tourism experience of visiting the open cast coal mine of Gondegaon and underground coal mine of Saoner, which are near Nagpur and part of Western Coalfields Limited.A Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed among the Indian Ministry of Tourism, National Projects Construction Corporation (NPCC), National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) and Government of Jammu and Kashmir for the implementation of tourism projects in Jammu and Kashmir.The Ministry of Tourism has approved projects worth Rs 450 crore (US$ 67.10 million) under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, for the improvement and creation of tourism infrastructure in Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim.The Union Cabinet has approved a MoU between India and South Africa, aimed at expanding bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector through exchange of information and data, establishing exchange programmes and increasing investments in the tourism and hospitality sector.The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Tourism of India and the Ministry of Trade Industry and Tourism of Colombia in order to boost cooperation in the field of tourism between the two countries.The Central Government has given its approval for signing of a MoU between India and Cambodia for cooperation in the field of tourism with a view to promote bilateral tourism between the two countries.The Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) action plans for eight missions cities including Varanasi, Mathura, Ajmer, Dwaraka, Badami, Vellankini, Warangal and Amaravati have been approved by HRIDAY National Empowered Committee for a total cost of Rs 431 crore (US$ 64.27 million).
India’s travel and tourism industry has huge growth potential. The tourism industry is also looking forward to the expansion of E-visa scheme which is expected to double the tourist inflow to India. India is projected to be the fastest growing nation in the wellness tourism sector in the next five years, clocking over 20 per cent gains annually through 2017, according to a study conducted by SRI International.
JW Marriott plans to have 175-200 hotels in India over the next four years.
Accor Hotels India has adopted a ‘born in France, made in India’ approach to increase its properties in India, which has reached a total of 45 hotels and is expected to increase to 55 hotels by 2017.
Global hospitality major Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which is also the largest foreign hotel brand in India by number of hotels, plans to increase its total count to 120 hotels in India by 2020.
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