‘Indian inbound will certainly grow’

Satyajeet Rajan (IAS), Former Director General, Tourism, shares the biggest achievements and challenges for inbound tourism in an exclusive interview with TravTalk.

Nisha Verma

The association with Ministry of Tourism (MOT) is one of Satyajeet Rajan’s best assignments as he feels honoured to be a part of the largest employment generator in the country. However, the employment data in India tells a different story altogether, on which, he commented, “Tourism needs to grow at much larger rate of growth. In fact, the entire short-haul market needs to be tapped, right from the Middle East market to the biggest market in the world, which is China as well as the Southeast Asian market. All the stakeholders in the tourism sector need to look at these short-haul markets for faster growth as well as for faster employment generation.”

The outbound market of India, according to Rajan, is growing more rapidly than the inbound market. Sharing his views on the state of inbound tourism in India, he said, “The inbound market will grow from the countries from where the income growth is faster.

The inbound growth trajectory

The economic growth from short-haul markets has been increasing. The Asia income growth has been much more than Europe and America, and it is this market that we need to concentrate. In fact, we have the thrust in the Chinese market as well as the ME and South East (SE) Asian market. We need to look at all these markets repeatedly and keep sending the team of different stakeholders to these markets.”

India was ranked as the world’s third most powerful country for travel and tourism in 2018, according to World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) new T&T Power and Performance Report. Rajan lauded, saying, “Such a power ranking and the growth in tourism receipts is one of the four indicators of growth. There has been a big growth in receipts compared to rest of the world. The growth rates of inbound tourists are more in number as well as in the receipts than the average world growth.”

On the major achievements of MOT during his tenure, Rajan said, “The kind of infrastructure created under SWADESH and PRASAD schemes is just `7000 crore plus that has covered many of the small places across the country, thereby leading to a doubling of domestic tourism in five years. Secondly, inbound tourism has also grown considerably. Further, e-visa reforms have also been a major success story.”

He insisted that the raising of visa fee this year has completely switched off the Russians from India, especially Goa. “2018-19 was a year of negative growth primarily because of the increase in visa fee. Even 40-50 dollars per head matter as far as decision making is concerned.”

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