Tourism and hospitality industry
India is a large market for travel and tourism. It offers a diverse portfolio of niche tourism products - cruises, adventure, medical, wellness, sports, MICE, eco-tourism, film, rural and religious tourism. India has been recognised as a destination for spiritual tourism for domestic and international tourists.
The Indian tourism and hospitality industry has emerged as one of the key drivers of growth among the services sector in India. The third-largest sub-segment of the services sector comprising trade, repair services, hotels and restaurants contributed nearly US$ 187.9 billion or 12.5 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) The industry is expected to generate 13.45 million jobs! across sub-segments such as Restaurants (10.49 million jobs), Hotels (2.3 million jobs) and Travel Agents/Tour Operators (0.66 million). The Ministry of Tourism plans to help the industry meet the increasing demand of skilled and trained manpower by providing hospitality education to students as well as certifying and upgrading skills of existing service providers.
In November 2014, Government of India launched Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) which is enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), known as the e-Tourist Visa scheme for 43 countries. The facility is likely to enable 7.5 percent growth in the tourism sector in 2015.
The Government has also been making serious efforts to boost investments in tourism sector. In the hotel and tourism sector, 100 per cent FDI is allowed through the automatic route. A five-year tax holiday has been offered for 2, 3 and 4 star category hotels located around UNESCO World Heritage sites (except Delhi and Mumbai). The investment in tourism sector is expected to be US$ 12.4 billion in the 12th Five Year Plan; of these, private investments are likely to total US$ 9.2 billion.
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