India improved its ranking on the World Tourism Index from 65th in 2013 to 34th rank in 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged Indian startups to innovate for the tourism sector in the post-pandemic world even as “the tourism sector in India has been growing well in the last five years.” Addressing the inauguration of India’s first full-fledged international cruise terminal in Kerala, PM Modi said that “since the global pandemic has affected international travel, people are going to nearby places. This is a great opportunity for us. On one hand, this means added livelihood to those in the local tourism industry. On the other hand, it makes the connect between our youth and our culture stronger. There is so much to see, learn and discover. I urge our young start-up friends to think about innovative tourism-related products.” PM Modi also noted India’s jump in the World Tourism Index ranking from 65th in 2013 to 34th rank in 2019.
The government last month had extended the suspension of scheduled international passenger flights till February 28. Even as such flights have been suspended since March 23 post Covid induced lockdown, the government has been operating special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020. According to Statista, domestic tourist visits increased from 220 million in 2000 to around 2.3 billion in 2019 even as the sector is expected to grow at 6.7 per cent per annum to become Rs 35 trillion market with 9.6 per cent of GDP by 2029, according to FICCI-Yes Bank 2019 report.
In 2020, less than 3 million foreign tourists had visited India, down around 75 per cent vis-à-vis previous year amid travel restrictions due to the pandemic. The number of foreign tourist arrivals in India in 2019 stood at 10.93 million up from 10.56 million in 2018, according to the information provided by Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha earlier this month.