India fastest growing among G20 countries

David Scowsill, President and CEO, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), who was on a quick trip to India amidst a busy travel schedule, shares findings from the latest WTTC Economic Impact Report with TRAVTALK. We bring you some excerpts from the interview:

AHANA GURUNG

On the backdrop of several unforeseen conditions such as terror attacks, diseases, natural calamities and political changes and instabilities, tourism has shown resilience that has undeterred the spirit of travellers around the globe. So much so that WTTC reports a 3.3 per cent growth in 2016, the sixth consecutive year that the travel and tourism industry grew faster than the global economy. A 3.8 per cent growth is anticipated this year and an average of 3.9 per cent for the next decade. Southeast Asia (8.3%) was the region with the fastest growing travel and tourism sector in 2016, while other regions like South Asia (7.9%), North East Asia (4.6%), Oceania (4.4%) and the Caribbean (3.2%) followed suit.

India: Potential tourism powerhouse India has shown a promising performance in this scenario and is the 7th largest tourism economy contributing to GDP, informs David Scowsill, President and CEO, WTTC. “India is definitely one of the industries to watch out for, having registered a growth of 8.5 per cent last year,” he says. “We expect similar growth to continue this year, averaging at about 6.7-7 per cent. The biggest advantage here is the current government’s focus on the industry. Our industry is one of the five key pillars for economic development and when a country recognises that, then a lot of things fall into place – eVisa waiver, development of infrastructure, opening skies, etc., which will stimulate tourism both domestically and internationally.” The country’s strong growth has been backed by domestic travel, which accounts for 88 per cent of the sector’s contribution to GDP in 2016. In addition, the regional connectivity scheme is going to render more accessibility in the country by connecting 42 smaller towns and cities.

He comments, “India’s booming aviation industry is one of the fastest growing in the world. Connectivity has to do with everything – connectivity between the LCCs, infrastructure build-up. By infrastructure, I also mean other aspects like broadband and banking which I think is finally taking off.” However, he mentions that India’s marketing spend needs to be increased manifold for a more comprehensive campaign, owing to the country’s large size. He elaborates, “If India wants to match up to the bigger markets, then they have to find a way to increase the budget for marketing. That is completely essential.”

Watch out for:
• WTTC’s Global Summit 2017 will gather the industry’s biggest personalities who will address key issues prevailing in the sector from April 26-27 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“We expect similar growth to continue this year, averaging at about 6.7-7 per cent. The biggest advantage here is the current government’s focus on the industry”

-David Scowsill, President and CEO, WTTC

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