Opportunities Today : December 2006 Issue

Tourism & Economic Benefits - By Gour Kanjilal




About the writer - Mr. Gour Kanjilal was Deputy Director General/Regional Director, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India & is presently working as Executive Director with Indian Association of Tour Operators, New Delhi

Tourism is a major social phenomenon of the modern society with enormous economic consequences. Its importance as an instrument for economic development and employment generation particularly in remote and backward areas and a positive step for poverty elimination has been accepted the world over. According to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) about 808 million tourists criss crossed globally in 2005 and spent about 682 billion. The tourism scene in India is also very positive with 3.92 tourists coming to India in 2005 (13.2% over 2004) and contributed Rs. 25172 cores in the foreign exchange earnings for the country (16.5% up over 2004)

India also derived benefits from tourism inspite of the fact that the level of tourist arrivals was not very high. For a country like India the arrival figures should have been more to get the real economic benefits of tourism.

But this growth in the tourism sector emerged as a very important contribution to the national economy and contributed quite a lot for employment generation in various tourism related activities. At a rough estimate, total direct/indirect employment in the tourism sector in India was about 41.8 %. During 2003-04. the indirect employment multiplier in the case of tourism is fairly high and is estimated as 2.36, which implies that direct employment of one person in the tourism sector creates employment to 1.36 persons in other sectors of the economy due to linkages with tourism. These linkages are in the sectors like agriculture horticulture, poultry, handicrafts, construction, sports etc. Further these directly/indirectly employed following the development of tourism may also need more goods & services as a result of such employment than what they would have demanded otherwise.

Additional demand will thus generate more employment and further multiplier effect will come into force through successive chain of transactions. In fact investment in tourism has the potential to create more jobs compared to many other sectors and all the more at a lower level of investment. The labour/capital ratio is very favourable in tourism sector compared to many other industries with 47.5 jobs for a million rupee investment as has been seen in the survey conducted by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India.

Tourism is now recognized for its contribution to create job for large number of women. This empowerment of women which is being focused by our successive governments are achieved through tourism projects more positively. Both educated & uneducated women are now involved in tourism related activities. Women are effective in tourism business with their mental attitude for service and care and upbringing since their childhood especially in hospitality industry. Now in India, more women are in hotel, travel, airlines services, handicrafts making, cultural & entertainment events, etc. and are now better integrated in the national developmental programme through tourism activities. With this double income in the family, the standard of living in the families have improved. Better education of children, improved health care, better exposure through interaction and thus a general improved scene in the women force which was earlier very restricted to move beyond their house limit.

Tourism has made a big contribution to create jobs in remote areas where industries are difficult to come and especially in rural areas places like Ladakh, interior parts of Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh or North East region tourism have created employment through the promotion of rural tourism in these areas. Now thousands of domestic tourists and also international tourists are visiting places which were never in their itinerary in these areas. This is just to experience the pristine beauty of these places & to enjoy the ethnic culture, cuisine, festivals etc. Government is giving special financial incentives to all the State Govts to promote rural tourism. This is being a bold step for poverty alleviation by involving local peoples and tourism benefits filtering down from developed areas to under developed areas.

As per estimates prepared by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), it is estimated that tourism accounts for about 13% of the total world exports. Further as per estimates, the Travel & Tourism economy employment which is estimated at 207 million jobs or 8.25% of global employment in 2001 is likely to grow to 260 million jobs or 9% of the global workforce by 2011.

For India also they have made very positive projections and have recognized tourism as an instrument for generating large scale employment opportunities. India offers enormous potential for economically utilizing the natural attractions like its beaches, mountains, rivers, wildlife, sanctuaries, waterfalls, landscapes which are available in plenty in the country. This is further supplemented by multitude of man made attraction like monuments, palaces, forts and such beautiful constructions built through centuries (Now many of them are standing as World Heritage monuments).

Thus Tourism contributes greatly to improving economy and employment opportunities in this age of globalization.
Days to remember around the World ! - ( During December 2006 )

5th December - Sinterklaas Day (New Zealand)
6th December - St.Nicholas Day (Italy)
8th December - Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Italy)
9th December - Independance Day (Tanzania)
12th December - Jamhuri Day (Kenya)
15th December - Kingdom Day (Netherlands)
16th December - Day of Reconciliation (South Africa)
23rd December - Emperor's Birthday (Japan)
25th December - Christmas Day
26th December - Boxing Day, St. Stephen's Day
31st December - New Year's Eve