Unlocking the potential of hospitality

It is necessary to give the hospitality sector the status of ‘industry and “infrastructure” so as to make travel and tourism an effective vehicle for socio-economic growth and also to generate employment

hospitality sector, hospitality industry
Tourism is seen as a major driving force for any economy over the world. (IE)

By Puneet Chhatwal

As the world moves on, the service sector, with the travel and tourism business included, is emerging as a major growth engine for the Indian economy. People are once again flying in great numbers, airports are crowded, hotels are well-booked, and travellers want to explore, connect, and feel alive through the exhilarating emotion of travel. Despite several difficulties and challenges faced regarding infrastructure and connectivity, the industry has fared extremely well.

While India takes on the presidency of the G20 and starts preparing for the summit in 2023, positioning the country as a safe, tourist-friendly destination hinges on how the government can work together with the industry and provide a world-class experiences to visiting dignitaries.

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Around 300+ meetings are expected to take place during the summit, most of which will be hosted within the corridors of the finest hotels across the country. Hospitality companies are leaving no stone unturned to showcase India’s cultural essence, and the inherent warmth of Atithi Devo Bhava in our service philosophy. Using the summit to highlight India’s unique and differentiated travel offerings, India can deservedly claim its position on the world tourism stage.

Tourism is seen as a major driving force for any economy over the world. It has a multiplier effect on associated industries like hospitality. The spillover of earnings from tourism into other industries does not only improve the economic conditions but also enhances standards of living of the local population. This is most apparent at the popular coastal destination of Goa. Contributing over 16% to the GDP and 35% to direct employment within the state as per the IBEF Report 2022, the domino effect of the sector on indirect job creation is unrivalled. Moreover, what is often unseen are the tertiary tangible and intangible impacts on livelihoods—for instance, the maintenance of Fort Aguada and beaches in the vicinity and the preservation of cultural heritage and the local way of life at the many homestays across Goa is the norm. Today, led by tourism, Goa leads the nation in per capita net state domestic product (NSDP), according to RBI data.

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A force multiplier for employment

As per trends, every hotel room generates 5-7 jobs, both directly and indirectly, further leading to significant impact on other high-employability sectors such as real estate and infrastructure development, among others. In fact, as per the latest World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report, the sector is expected to create nearly 126 million new jobs globally within the next decade, with at least 20% from the Indian sub-continent. However, government support will be instrumental in achieving this. With the sector rebounding and Indian companies reporting positive earnings this fiscal, the sector is poised to potentially grow three times compared to the pre-pandemic levels to touch $250 billion by 2030 and further accelerate to reach $1 trillion by 2047.

Making the $1 trillion dream a reality

The travel and tourism industry is on a constant path of evolution, catering to rapidly changing consumer demands by creating several product options, elevating customer experiences, and continuing to deliver innovative digital solutions. If this were to be supported with improved infrastructural reforms, it could make the travellers’ journey even more memorable and seamless. A capital-intensive industry, the hospitality sector needs to continually plough back to keep the ball rolling.

A good start will be according the infrastructure status by the Centre to the sector, which will provide a favourable impetus and boost to the industry, incorporating required incentives, including regulatory ease, cheaper loans, tax concessions, and contributing to a cycle of attracting more investments. In addition to this, giving the sector industry status at the state and union territories level and augmenting the infrastructure growth will also have a much-needed positive impact. States like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have taken the lead, and more states should follow their lead.

Scripting the Incredible India growth story together

India’s growth story remains immensely encouraging. On the back of a very strong consumer demand, travel and tourism offers promising growth and is at an important inflection point.

Hospitality companies have consistently added supply across all segments – from budget, business and luxury hotels, home stays, villas and so forth by developing new circuits and offerings that tap into the diverse and myriad potential of Incredible India.

Through collective action between industry stakeholders and the government, we can undoubtedly shape an even more thriving future for the industry; a future that can make a positive impact to the economy and society at large.

The writer is president, Hotel Association of India (HAI) and chairman, CII National Committee on Tourism and Hospitality. Views are personal

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First published on: 06-01-2023 at 04:00 IST
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