Figures by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) show the industry contributing $8.8 trillion to the global economy in 2018 with over 319 million jobs supported worldwide. Tourism can be a major contributor to the Indian economy given the right mix of policies and infrastructure.
By Jurgen Bailom
This year India is the host country for World Tourism Day with the theme of ‘Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all’. It is an apt occasion to explore how travel and tourism, in particular the cruise industry, can lead to job creation.
Figures by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) show the industry contributing $8.8 trillion to the global economy in 2018 with over 319 million jobs supported worldwide. Tourism can be a major contributor to the Indian economy given the right mix of policies and infrastructure. WTTC forecasts direct contribution of travel and tourism to India’s GDP to rise by 7.1% per annum over the next decade to reach 3.9% of the total GDP. The total contribution of travel and tourism to employment, including jobs supported indirectly, is at 8% of total employment.
Our PM has spoken about the scope to improve India’s tourism sector and urged the people to visit at least 15 tourist destinations within India in the next three years. This would ensure a big boost to Indian tourism by 2022 when the country marks 75 years of freedom.
One area where the potential for growth is immense is the Indian cruise industry. Over the last five years the outbound market for cruises is estimated to have tripled in size to 150,000 cruise passengers who head for a global cruise every year. This represents just 3% of the outbound leisure market and indicates the tremendous potential of the Indian cruise industry. However, even as the global cruise industry has shown good growth, the leisure cruise industry in India has not shown any signs of life.
With a scenic coastline of over 7,500 km, one can only imagine the prospects. Of course, achieving sustainable growth will require a robust cruise infrastructure backed by positive policy decisions on rationalisation of port fees, removing ousting charges and granting priority berthing to Indian cruise ships. The investment in the development of infrastructure would reflect in the growth of the industry and the creation of a plethora of jobs.
Training of talent required for the cruise industry would foster the growth of a complete ecosystem to develop talent with the skills and qualifications required for the wide variety of jobs offered by the cruise industry. This includes conventional positions that are common with the hospitality industry as well as specialised positions for the shipping industry.
The domestic cruise industry has the potential to create over a million jobs directly over 3-4 years. This would pay back the investment in infrastructure many times over. It is time we set sail and catch the winds of prosperity.
The author is president & CEO, Jalesh Cruises