The tourism and hospitality sector in India is highly optimistic which is among the top 10 sectors in India to attract the highest foreign direct investment (FDI). Tourism in India accounts for 6.8% of the GDP. India ranks 42nd in United Nations - World Tourism Organization ranking’s for foreign tourist arrivals.

The foreign exchange earnings from tourism during 2013 were USD 18.13 Billion, registering an annual growth of 2.2% over the previous year. India is 16th most visited country in the world, with a share of 1.56% in the world’s tourism receipts. India offers variety of geographical diversity such as attractive beaches, 30 World Heritage Sites and 25 bio-geographic zones. India also has a diverse portfolio of niche tourism products – cruises, adventure, medical, wellness, sports, MICE, eco-tourism, film, rural and religious tourism.

The travel and tourism industry in India has grown by 8% per annum between 2008 and 2015.

Recently, the Indian government has also released a fresh category of visa – the medical visa or M visa, to encourage medical tourism in India.

Current foreign Investments

With the rise in the number of global tourists and realizing India’s potential, many companies have invested in the tourism and hospitality sector. Some of the recent investments in this sector are as follows:

  • Global hospitality major Carlson Residue Hotel Group announced that it would have over 50 operational Park Inn by Radisson properties in India by 2024.
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts has announced plans to have up to 65 operational properties by end of 2015 in India. It currently operates 39 hotels in India under six brands, including Luxury Collection, Westin, Sheraton, Le Meridian, and Four Points by Sheraton and aloft. It is looking to have a total of 100 hotels in its Indian portfolio by 2015.
  • Luxury hotels chain Kaminski has also announced plans to operate three new hotels in India by 2020 in Kolkata, Mumbai and Kerala if the ongoing negotiations were successful.
  • Interlope Hotels has announced the opening of ibis brand hotel in Delhi with plans to have 19 ibis hotels operational in India by 2016.

Government Initiatives and Future Plans

The focus of the Government is on improving the cleanliness, hospitality and safety aspects of Tourism.

The Tovar enabled with ETA Scheme will facilitate nationals of 43 countries including Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kingdom of Tango, Laos, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Papua & New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of Korea (i.e. South Korea), Republic of Marshall Islands, Republic of Nauru, Republic of Palau, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam and Vanuatu.

India’s travel and tourism industry has huge growth potential.

The medical tourism market in India is projected to hit US$ 3.9 billion mark in the year 2015 having grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 per cent over the last three years.

Inflow of medical tourists is expected to cross 320 million by 2015 compared with 85 million in 2012.

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