India’s Travel & Tourism Sector Shows Strong Recovery with Domestic Tourism Leading the Way

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR) highlights a robust recovery in India’s Travel & Tourism sector, driven primarily by domestic tourism.

Recent data indicates that domestic tourism has played a pivotal role in reviving the sector in India, although international travel spending has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

According to WTTC’s latest research, the sector’s contribution to India’s GDP exceeded INR 19.13 trillion in 2023, marking a nearly 10% increase from 2019 levels. Employment in Travel & Tourism also saw a significant rise, growing by 10% to nearly 43 million jobs, 8% higher than in 2019.

Domestic visitor spending surged by 15% compared to 2019, reaching INR 14.64 trillion. In contrast, international visitor spending remained more than 14% lower than 2019 levels, amounting to INR 0.4 trillion less spent by international visitors last year.

The substantial growth in domestic visitor spending underscores the resilience of local travellers in driving the sector’s recovery post-pandemic.

Ms. Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, commented, “India’s Travel & Tourism sector is experiencing a remarkable resurgence, fueled by a surge in domestic tourism. While international spending is still catching up, the steadfast support from domestic travellers demonstrates the resilience and potential of this dynamic sector. With continued strategic efforts, India is poised to emerge as a global tourism powerhouse.”

Looking Ahead to 2024:

WTTC projects that Travel & Tourism will contribute nearly INR 21.15 trillion to India’s economy in 2024, a 21% increase from 2019. Job creation is expected to rise by 2.45 million this year, accounting for one in eleven jobs in India.

International visitor spending is forecasted to grow by over 17%, reaching INR 2.85 trillion, while domestic visitor spending is anticipated to continue its upward trajectory with a 9.6% increase to exceed INR 16 trillion this year.

Future Outlook:

With adequate government support, WTTC predicts that by 2034, the sector could elevate its annual GDP contribution to INR 43.25 trillion, constituting 7.6% of India’s economy, and potentially employing nearly 63 million people nationwide.

The Indian Government’s aspiration to welcome 100 million inbound tourists by India’s centennial independence anniversary in 2047, under the @2047 initiative, is expected to further stimulate the Indian economy and position India as a premier global travel destination.

Regional Insights:

WTTC forecasts that across South Asia, Travel & Tourism will contribute INR 25.1 trillion in 2024, supporting 54.77 million jobs. Domestic visitor spending in the region is projected to reach INR 18.3 trillion this year, with international visitor spending expected to reach INR 3.8 trillion.

(Image courtesy: Let’s Go Camp)

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