Travel and tourism sector in India has the potential to grow much faster and support 46 million jobs by 2025, provided the right investments and policies continue to be implemented, US Ambassador Richard Verma said today.According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel and tourism sector contributed USD 120 billion or 6.3 per cent to the country’s GDP, which supported approximately 37 million jobs in 2015.
“If the right investments are made, tourism has the potential to support 46 million jobs in India by 2025,” Verma said.
His remarks came while delivering the keynote address at a conference organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) on the theme ‘Travel and Tourism as a means to achieve USD 500 billion trade between India and USA’.
“… India’s tourism industry is growing, but it has the potential to grow even faster if the right investments and policies continue to be implemented,” Verma said.
One of the areas that will help increase this potential is “timely and efficient” air connectivity, which is vital to any strong tourism relationship, he added.
Highlighting the close ties between the two countries, Verma said, “In 2015, the US was India’s largest source of foreign tourists. Over 1.2 million American visitors came to India, accounting for 15 per cent of the total foreign travelers.”
On the other hand, the US last year welcomed more than one million Indian visitors, who contributed nearly USD 11 billion to the American economy, he added.
Verma also welcomed the recently announced National Civil Aviation Policy and the 100 per cent FDI in the civil aviation sector.
“We look forward to increasing passenger traffic between our countries as India takes steps to facilitate greater regional connectivity and implement growth enabling measures,” he said.
In 2015, for the first time in history, the US Mission in India processed more than 1 million non-immigrant visa applications in a single year, Verma noted.
Highlighting the role of tourism in economic development, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, “Tourism is very very critical for India because India needs to create more jobs and there is no other sector which has multiplier effect of creating jobs.”
The tourism and travel sector has huge potential to grow if the country further opens up the civil aviation sector, improves civic governance, enhances communication strategy and focusses on consistency of policies, capacity building and community participation, he added.