The travel and tourism industry constitutes 6.23 % of India’s GDP and provides 8.78% of the country’s population with employment. The sector is well connected both domestically and internationally and is therefore one that needs to adapt to the changing trends quickly.
According to an RNCOS report titled ‘Booming Medical Tourism in India’; medical tourism in India will register a compound annual growth rate of 27% during 2011 – 15. India, with Chennai at its hub, has become one of the world’s most cost efficient medical tourism destinations. The low cost offerings together with the language advantage and human technology, gives India an edge over countries like China and Japan according to Dr K M Cherian.
The business travel segment that is growing with the increased interconnectedness is buzzing with activity. MICE initiatives are gaining popularity fostering both domestic and international travel. A number of event agencies too are offering such services and its no longer limited to the travel houses. In addition the past few years has seen a growth spurt in five star hotels that cater to the business traveler.
More creative forms of tourism are on the rise, but these are yet to gain numeric support. For example, the blockbuster Shantaram urged many tourists to explore the infamous side of Mumbai. Other creative efforts have resulted in environmental experiences being marketed.
It’s not just inbound tourist traffic that puts India up on the tourism map. India’s outbound tourist traffic has acquired worldwide recognition as an emerging source for tourists. South Africa for example has witnessed over an 18% growth in tourists from India. India has thus now become the eighth most important tourist source for that country.