Tourism in India to flourish in leaps and bounds

Rumi said, “As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” Well, during the last couple of years, the roads were partially blocked on account of the pandemic. And the tourism industry bore the biggest brunt in India. Thankfully, tourists have begun to come out of their shell as the effect of the pandemic reduced drastically in the last couple of months.

Although many tourist destinations flourished in the last decade, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have reaped handsome benefits of tourism policies drafted by the centre.

With latest tourist spots like Seema Darshan at Nadabet, National Salt Satyagraha Memorial (NSSM), Shivrajpur beach at Devbhoomi Dwarka, and Statue of Unity at Narmada, the state witnessed phenomenal growth in number of tourists. According to a union government official (requesting anonymity), “During pre-Covid period, maximum footfalls of 34,136 and 34,674 were recorded on August 20, 2019 and December 29, 2019, respectively. In recent times, the maximum footfalls were recorded at 50,108 on November 6, 2021 and 51,871 the following day.”

Similarly, Varanasi, the oldest living city of the world, has witnessed remarkable growth in the tourists’ influx, especially after the construction of Kashi Vishwanath corridor and beautification of Ganga ghats. Following this, Varanasi Development Authority invited hospitality players to develop tourism infrastructure in the city.

As per the statistical data released by the UP government, Varanasi has seen a 10 times rise in tourists coming to the city over the last five years. Preety Srivastava, Deputy Director, Tourism, UP Government, the number of international tourists has increased by 174 times in 2022 compared to previous year. Srivastava also added that 40.03 lakh domestic tourists arrived in the city in July 2022 compared to the same period last year i.e. 2021. Foreign tourists have surprised the locals with their massive presence in the spiritual capital of India. In July 2022, the number of foreign tourists was 12578, which is 174 times higher than July 2021.

Greater Rann of Kutch does not lag behind in this race of getting tourists. Managing Director of Gujarat Tourism, Alok Pandey said, “Post-Covid, Kutch Rann Utsav is getting a record number of tourists. We have got tourist inquiries for Ranotsav from across the country and a huge tourist inflow is expected in the coming days”.

Gupta further added that Rann Utsav has only begun and they have already got over 8000 bookings for the resorts. Tourists are coming in droves to celebrate Poonam (full moon) as well as for December 31.

To maintain this upbeat mood, union finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman announced a few budgetary allocations to boost tourism, especially after a long slack period of the pandemic. Tourism sector gets INR 2400 crore in budget 2023-24; major portion allocated to its infrastructural development.

Out of the total INR 2400 crores allocated to the Ministry of Tourism, a major portion of the outlay amounting to INR 1742 crore is allocated for development of tourism infrastructure and an amount of INR 242 crore for promotion and branding. An outlay of INR 1412 crore has been allocated for the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.

Moreover, in her budget speech, FinMin announced that 50 tourist destinations will be selected through challenge mode to be developed as a whole package for domestic and international tourism.

All in all, the tourism industry will flourish in the years to come as both public and private partnership has now been strengthened with noticeable efforts from central and state governments.