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Draft National Tourism Policy

Draft National Tourism

The Government has come up with a new draft National Tourism Policy that puts a strong emphasis on eco-friendly and digital tourism. This draft has been shared with industry partners, state governments, and other related government departments to gather their input and suggestions before it can be approved.

Before this, the Ministry of Tourism had put together three draft plans with clear roadmaps. One is aimed at boosting Medical and Wellness Tourism, another at developing Rural Tourism, and the third focuses on promoting the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) industry in India.

What are the Key Points of the Draft Policy?

Industry Status to Sector: To promote investment in the tourism sector, the document mentions granting of industry status to the sector, along with formally granting infrastructure status to hotels.

Five Key Areas: Five key areas would be given significant focus in the next 10 years:

  • Green tourism
  • Digital tourism
  • Destination management
  • Skilling the hospitality sector
  • Supporting tourism-related to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Relief Measures and Taxation Breaks: The industry, which has been the worst sufferer over the last two years of the pandemic, had sent multiple representations to the government representatives for relief measures as well as taxation breaks.

Offers Framework Conditions: The draft policy doesn’t deal with specific operational issues, but offers framework conditions to help the sector, especially in the wake of the pandemic. The overall mission and vision is being laid out to improve the experience of tourists, foreign as well as local.

What is the Scenario of Tourism in India?


  • In the ancient past, India’s legendary wealth drew many travelers, including the devout Chinese Buddhist Hieun-tsang.
  • Pilgrimage travel received a significant boost when emperors like Ashoka and Harsha began constructing rest houses for pilgrims, making the journey more comfortable and accessible.
  • The ancient text ‘Arthashastra’ emphasized the importance of travel infrastructure for the well-being of the state, highlighting its historical significance.
  • After India gained independence, tourism was consistently included in the Five Year Plans, reflecting its ongoing importance for the country’s development.
  • Over time, various forms of tourism, such as business tourism, health tourism, and wildlife tourism, were introduced in India during the seventh Five Year Plan, diversifying the tourism industry.


  • In 2019, India’s tourism industry made a significant contribution to the global economy by ranking 10th in terms of its share in the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It contributed about 6.8% to India’s total economy, equivalent to approximately Rs. 13,68,100 crore or USD 194.30 billion.
  • As of 2021, India boasts 40 sites on the prestigious ‘World Heritage List,’ making it the 6th highest in the world. These sites include 32 cultural, 7 natural, and 1 mixed site. The most recent additions to this list are Dholavira and the Ramappa Temple in Telangana.
  • In the fiscal year 2020, India’s tourism sector played a vital role in job creation, accounting for around 39 million jobs, which amounted to 8.0% of the country’s total employment. By 2029, it is anticipated that this sector will generate approximately 53 million jobs.


Service Sector: Tourism gives a significant boost to businesses in the service sector like airlines, hotels, and transportation. As the tourism industry grows, these services also see an increase in demand.

Foreign Exchange Benefits: Foreign travelers contribute to India’s foreign exchange earnings. This income saw a steady 7% annual growth from 2016 to 2019, although it took a hit in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Preservation of National Heritage: Tourism plays a crucial role in preserving India’s national heritage and environment. It highlights the significance of historical sites and emphasizes the need for their protection.

Renewed Cultural Pride: When tourist destinations in India gain global appreciation, it instills a sense of pride among the country’s residents, celebrating their rich cultural heritage.

Infrastructure Development: Efforts are being made to ensure that travelers face minimal problems. Infrastructure development is underway at various tourist destinations, providing better facilities and amenities.

Global Recognition: Tourism helps India gain recognition on the global map as a tourist destination. It earns appreciation and accolades, making the country more visible worldwide.

Promotes Cultural Diplomacy: Tourism serves as a soft power tool, promoting cultural diplomacy and people-to-people connections. It fosters friendship and cooperation between India and other nations, strengthening international ties.


Infrastructure Woes: When tourists visit India, they often encounter problems related to infrastructure. This includes issues like poor roads, limited access to clean water and sewage facilities, a shortage of quality hotels, and unreliable telecommunications services.

Safety Concerns: Ensuring the safety and security of tourists, especially those from foreign countries, is a significant challenge for tourism in India. Incidents of attacks on foreign visitors make people question India’s ability to provide a warm welcome to travelers from far-off lands.

Skilled Workforce Shortage: The tourism industry in India faces a shortage of skilled personnel. This makes it difficult to offer visitors the high-quality services they deserve, which can affect the overall tourism experience.

Basic Amenities Gap: At many tourist destinations, basic amenities such as clean drinking water, well-maintained restrooms, first aid services, and cafeterias are often lacking. This can make the travel experience less enjoyable and convenient.

Seasonal Patterns: Tourism in India tends to be seasonal, with the peak season lasting from October to March, and particularly crowded months in November and December. This seasonality can make it challenging for tourists to find a peaceful and less crowded experience during other times of the year.

Swadesh Darshan Scheme: This program, run by the Ministry of Tourism, provides financial assistance to state governments and union territories to improve the infrastructure of 13 theme-based tourist circuits.

National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD Scheme): Launched in 2014-15, this initiative focuses on the holistic development of specific pilgrimage destinations.

Iconic Tourist Sites: Bodhgaya, Ajanta, and Ellora, which are known for their Buddhist heritage, are being developed as iconic tourist sites to enhance India’s global appeal.

Buddhist Conclave: Every other year, India hosts a Buddhist Conclave to promote the country as a top Buddhist destination to markets worldwide.

Dekho Apna Desh Initiative: Launched in 2020, this initiative by the Ministry of Tourism encourages Indian citizens to explore different parts of the country, contributing to the development of domestic tourism facilities and infrastructure.

Way Forward

  • We need to speed up the development of various types of infrastructure, including physical, social, and digital, to meet the current demands.
  • Ensuring the safety of tourists should be a top priority. Introducing an official guide system for tourists could help achieve this.
  • We should encourage Indian residents to treat tourists with kindness and respect to prevent any fraudulent activities that may harm tourists.
  • To address the issue of seasonality, we should promote other forms of tourism, such as Medical Tourism and Adventure Tourism. Offering off-season discounts could be another solution.
  • India’s vast size and rich natural, geographic, cultural, and artistic diversity present immense opportunities for the Indian tourism industry to capitalize on.

Read Also: NPPA’s role in Fixing Drug Prices

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