India has a huge untapped tourism potential and a lot more needs to be done to make the country a major tourist destination and earner from the sector, the Economic Survey said today.
The survey said although India's ranking in the 'Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017' has improved 12 places to 40th position globally among 136 countries, it is way behind others in health and hygiene, security concerns, human resources and tourist service infrastructure, among others.
As per industry estimates, the total market size of Indian tourism and hospitality sector stood at $117.7 billion in 2014 and is expected to touch $418.9 billion by 2022.
"Thus a goldmine of an opportunity awaits to be tapped," the first ever mid-year economic survey released today said.
The survey further said India's share in international tourist arrivals (ITA) is a paltry 1.1 per cent with a rank of 24 compared to the 7.1 per cent of France which ranks 1st in 2015. China ranks fourth with a share of 4.8 per cent.
Foreign exchange earnings from tourism during 2016 were $22.9 billion with a growth of 8.8 per cent over 2015, the survey tabled in Parliament today said citing data from Ministry of Tourism.
This is the first time the government has come out with the second part of the economic survey in a financial year to assess the growth and outlook of the country. The first part was out in January this year.
Laying out factors that make India an attractive destination, the survey said: "India continues to charm international tourists with its vast cultural and natural resources."
Other areas which add to the tourism potential includes price competitiveness advantage and international openness which is up by 14 places reflecting the implementation of both visas on arrival and e-visa.