Ladies and Gentlemen
In recent years the world travel and tourism industry was showing robust growth. The industry was outperforming global economic growth and was poised for greater contribution to prosperity and employment. However in the spring of this year we have had unprecedented disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic is now a major health crisis in India and around the world. The travel industry was amongst the first to be affected by the pandemic and will in all probability be the last to recover. We have faced several challenges in the past. I have no doubt that your Company will emerge stronger and more resilient after this crisis is over.
According to The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in the year 2019 the Indian travel and tourism industry contributed 6.8% to GDP. The contribution to employment in India was 8% or approximately 40 million jobs. The travel and tourism industry has to work tirelessly with our partners and the Tourist Department Government of India to increase tourism so that we can increase our foreign exchange earnings and create more jobs. In 2019 the number of foreign visitors to India totalled 11 million. Over 2.5 million foreign visitors arrived in India on the tourist e-visa scheme a growth of 24% over the previous year. Foreign visitors from The United States of America contributed 9% the United Kingdom contributed 6% and Canada and Australia contributed 2% each. However this share of foreign travellers visiting India relative to other Asian countries continues to disappoint. The Indian travel and tourism industry has to work much harder to attract more foreign visitors to our country.
Due to the COVID- 19 pandemic we expect very few foreign travellers to visit India in the current year and in the next year. The hospitality industry must therefore concentrate on domestic travellers. Your company is well positioned to serve the domestic tourism market.
We have recently taken several steps to streamline our operations. In October 2019 The Oberoi Centre of Excellence (TOCE) went live. TOCE is a centralized facility to ensure process excellence for all business units of the Company. We are offering owned and managed hotels efficient delivery of services in Finance Procurement Data Management Taxation Business Transformation and Budgeting. We expect TOCE to make your Company leaner and more efficient.
The Oberoi Group continues to excel and be recognised worldwide as a pre-eminent Hospitality Group. In December 2019 the Oberoi Brand was recognized as the Best Hotel Brand for third consecutive year by the Telegraph Travel Awards UK in a large survey of Telegraph newspaper readers. The Oberoi Brand continues to be recognized as amongst the best hotel brands worldwide. In July 2020 The Oberoi Mumbai was ranked as the Best City Hotel in Asia by Travel + Leisure USA. In the year 2020 three of our hotels were ranked in the Top 15 in Asia by Travel + Leisure USA. The Oberoi Amarvilas was ranked amongst the Best Hotels in Asia by Fodor's Finest Hotels USA.
The Oberoi Marrakech opened in November 2019; this resort has been well received by guests who have stayed in the hotel and a number of international publications have rated this resort as one of the best hotel openings globally in 2019.
I am optimistic that travel and tourism industry will grow exponentially after this pandemic is over. In conclusion I sincerely thank my colleagues on the Board our dedicated employees and other stakeholders for their continued support. Thank you.
18th July 2020