The World Tourism Day celebration was started by the United Nations World Tourism Organization in the 1980 which is celebrated every year on September 27. According to United Nation’s specialised agency, UNWTO, this year’s World Tourism Day will focus on ‘sustainable tourism – a tool for development’.
Keeping up with theme of tourism, Free Press Journal organised a round-table conference which had names like Sudhir Patil, managing director, Veena World; Carl Vaz, CEO and chairman, Charson Advisory Services; Sajid Khan, country manager India, South African Airways; and Aashutosh Rathod, joint managing director, Maharashtra Tourism Board Corporation.
The event was moderated by Free Press Journal’s consulting editor R N Bhaskar with editorial support from Rahul Nayar.
Global tourism scenario: Rising contribution
“Last year alone, 1.235 million travellers crossed international borders in one single year. By 2030, this 1.2 billion will become 1.8 billion. The question, as we celebrate World Tourism Day 2017, is how we can enable this powerful global transformative force, these 1.8 billion opportunities, to contribute to make this world a better place and to advance sustainable development in all its three pillars. This World Tourism Day, whenever you travel, wherever you travel, remember to respect nature, respect culture and respect your host,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
The official celebrations of World Tourism Day 2017 will be held in Qatar, as decided by the UNWTO General Assembly. As the United Nations General Assembly affirmed when announcing the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, tourism can contribute to all the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – and each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Not only does the sector spearhead growth, it also improves the quality of people’s lives. It can bolster environmental protection, champion diverse cultural heritage, and strengthen peace in the world. In this spirit, World Tourism Day 2017 presents a unique opportunity to mobilise all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to global GDP was USD 2,306.0 billion (3.1 per cent of total GDP) in 2016, and is forecast to rise by 3.8 per cent in 2017, and to rise by 4.0 per cent pa, from 2017-2027, to USD 3,537.1 billion (3.5 per cent of total GDP) in 2027 but the total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was USD7,613.3 billion (10.2 per cent of GDP) in 2016, and is forecast to rise by 3.6 per cent in 2017, and to rise by 3.9 per cent pa to USD11,512.9 billion (11.4 per cent of GDP) in 2027.
Global employment generator
In 2016 travel and tourism directly supported 108.74 million jobs (3.6 per cent of total employment). This is expected to rise by 2.1 per cent in 2017 and rise by 2.2 per cent pa to 138 million jobs (4.0 per cent of total employment) in 2027. Total jobs from tourism including indirect was globally 9.6 per cent of total employment (292 million jobs) and this is expected to grow at 2.5 per cent per annum and to touch 381.7 million jobs in 2027, which will account for about 11 per cent of the total global jobs.
The total global investment in travel and tourism in 2016 was USD 806.5 billion, which accounted for 4.4 per cent of the total global investment. It is expected to rise at the rate of 4.5 per cent for the next 10 years and touch USD 1,307 billion in 2027, which will be 5 per cent of the total global investments in that year.
As of 2016, contribution of travel and tourism to GDP (per cent of GDP) in Maldives was 79.4 per cent. The top five countries also includes Antigua and Barbuda, Seychelles, Macau, and Bahamas.
Azerbaijan is the top country by contribution of travel and tourism to GDP growth in the world. As of 2016, contribution of travel and tourism to GDP growth in Azerbaijan was 39 per cent. The top five countries also includes Iceland, Cyprus, Botswana, and Mongolia.
According to Carl Vaz, chairman and CEO, Charson Advisory Services, “The success of the successful international destinations is because everything takes place within a radius of 60 kilometres to 80 kilometres. So what happens is that it becomes easier for content to be put out into the market. And by content going out in the market, I would say that it is easier for us to talk to the trade, talk to the media, talk to the consumer and get the trade to sell a package to the consumer. All the activities— whether it is anything from fine dining to adventure, to relaxation, to spa, luxury, casinos— whatever if you look at any international destiny, it is all done within a radius of 60 to 80 kilometres.”
Vaz believes that twining of states will be successful in India. For instance, putting Goa and Maharashtra in one package could offer an interesting experiences to international tourists. He is also of the opinion that state wise tourism advertisement campaigns help promote places better, compared to a national advertisement campaign as it shows too many things and leaves the potential visitor confused.
Sajid Khan, country manager India, South African Airways said that right now millennials want experiences. He added, “Outbound tourism from India is amazing, inbound tourism into India can beat outbound by a factor of 10”. “If it is a millennials they would (travel for three days)– if they get even three days, they would rather go to a Middle East or to Dubai or to go Thailand or Hong Kong, experience and come back, because the millennials don’t buy houses.” He added that millennials have a lot of disposable income which they want to use and that is where tourism comes in. He averred that millennials view the world as a global village.
Indian tourism scene
Tourism is very critical for India because India needs to create more jobs and there is no other sector which has multiplier effect of creating jobs. Tourism has supported a total of 37 million direct and indirect jobs in India. It is expected to support 46 million jobs by 2027. Tourism is very close to job creation and contribution to India’s IT sector. In the contribution of travel and tourism to GDP as a share of GDP India ranks 85th with travel and tourism contributing 9.6 per cent to overall GDP in 2016. For comparatively large economies it is 8.5 per cent for Brazil, 5 per cent for Russia, 2.8 per cent for UK, 9 per cent for China and 8.1 per cent for USA.
Sudhir Patil from Veena World is very optimistic on the growth potential of tourism in India. According to him everyone is looking there’s some potential in the market as Indian brand, and the largest passport holders are with us right now. So each and every country is trying to get business from India. Lot of national tourism boards started their own offices in India and they are penetrating skills more effectively than any state tourism boards in India. “And the growth is tremendous from our point, and lot of globalisation happened on money handling overseas and carrying dollars or taking Forex has become easier so in outbound tourism tremendous growth is happening,” he said.
He further added that there is an aviation industry which is coming in a big way and getting lot of importance in India too. So aviation industry is creating a lot of inventory. With aviation industry exploding, the capacity started to increase and air travel started to become affordable. So more and more people can now travel outside.
Patil highlighted that he sees a lot of potential because of brand ambassador and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to Patil, it is better for India if Modi travels as it increases respect for Indians abroad. He stated before Modi’s tenure there was no or less respect for Indians but now there is a tremendous shift which will be good for tourism in India.
With government’s policy of e-visa, the country will see results within next 3-4 years. Patil also highlighted the impact faced due to difficulty in getting visa earlier and of e-visa now. He highlights the fact that earlier tour operators used to hybrid all consulates here. “At that time we never knew that it was very different with Indian Visa overseas. And now that time has come. Some countries have given honorary visa facility. Most of them are e-visa registration and making life comfortable,” he added. “More and more penetration, more and more marketing of India will be a defining factor.”
Lot of inbound business coming to India has been seasonal but now it will spread across the year, he added. India used to get inbound business from October to March only. He further stated that digital reservation in railways and hotels has given a big boost to tourism in India.
“Tourism is in a stage of transformation,” Aashutosh Rathod, joint managing director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation said. He pointed out that number of international tourist arriving in Mumbai, go to South and North of India. “We are very much mindful regarding this situation and we are coming up with the plan that tourist landing at Mumbai must visit other parts of the state like Mumbai to Aurangabad, Mumbai to Nagpur, Mumbai to Pune, Mumbai to Nashik,” Rathod added. Through air connectivity, one can reach these places in an hour. Rathod stressed that under central government’s UDAN scheme, Maharashtra will get number of airports at almost all major cities of the state like Nashik, Shirdi, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur etc. From Mumbai in an hour, travellers can reach Tiger Reservoir, and also Ajanta Ellora. Likewise from Mumbai itself in a 40 kilometres radius, there are six forts. He expressed that these are the most beautiful piece of Maharashtra’s golden heritage that inspires the whole world. “So, we are coming up with the concept of circuit development that includes fort circuit, then religious circuit, nature circuit.” MTDC will be coming up with the concept of developing tourism in all aspects—be it adventure tourism, it be conferences, religious tourism etc.
SUDHIR PATIL, VEENA WORLD
“Everyone is looking, there’s some potential in market as Indian brand, and largest passport holders are with us right now”
SAJID KHAN, SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS
“Outbound tourism from India is amazing, inbound tourism into India can beat outbound by a factor of 10”
AASHUTOSH RATHOD, MAHARASHTRA TOURISM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
“Tourism is certainly in a stage of transformation.”
CARL VAZ, CHARSON ADVISORY SERVICES
“The success of international destinations is because everything takes place within a radius of 60 kms to 80 kms.”