National Tourism Day

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    In News

    • National Tourism Day is celebrated across the country on January 25 every year to appreciate India’s beauty and spread awareness about the importance of tourism and its impact on the economy.

    About

    • The ministry of tourism: is observing National Tourism Day under the aegis of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, a 75-week grand celebration to mark 75 years of India’s independence.
    • This year’s theme: for National Tourism Day is ‘Rural and Community Centric Tourism’.
    • Telangana’s Pochampally village: The central government is organizing the main event in Telangana’s Pochampally village, a weavers’ hamlet on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
      • Known for its famous hand-woven Ikat sarees, Pochampally was selected as one of the best tourism villages by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2021.

    Facts about India

    • The country is home to 40 UNESCO heritage sites: The last site to be added to the World Heritage Site list is Dholavira, a Harappan city that is located in the city of Gujarat.
      • The country currently has 32 cultural sites, 7 natural sites, and one mixed property.
    • India’s most organic state: The Himalayan state of Sikkim has come out as the most organic state in present day India. The state reportedly has some 47.3% under forest cover.
    • Highest Rail Bridge in the world: The country is home to the highest rail bridge in the world. The 1,315 m long Chenab Bridge is located in Jammu and Kashmir, and is 35 m higher than the Eiffel Tower.
    • One of the most untouched places on earth: India’s North Sentinel Island is one of the most untouched places in the world. The island is home to the Sentinelese people, who have isolated themselves from the world.
    • The oldest fort in India: Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra Fort is said to be the oldest in the country. It used to be home to royal treasures, and is said to have been built 3500 years ago.
    • Wildlife sanctuaries: The country has a total of 566 wildlife sanctuaries. Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is the largest wildlife sanctuary in the country.
    • Cleanest village in Asia: Mawlynnong located in the state of Meghalaya is ranked as the cleanest village in Asia.

    Tourism sector in India

    • Travel and Tourism in India was the largest service industry: and was worth $234 bn in 2018.
    • According to The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC): the tourism industry in India generated $194 bn or 6.8% of India’s GDP in 2019.
    • The tourism sector in India: is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 6.9% to $460 bn by 2028 which is 9.9% of GDP.

    Issues/ Challenges

    • The tourism industry has been heavily hit by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic: The World Tourism Organization has said that tourist arrivals around the world are not expected to return to their pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
    • Fear of Uncertainty: Due to the spread of coronavirus and enforcement of social distancing norms peoples are fearing and unwillingness to come out from their home.
    • Lack of arrival of international tourists: International traveling was banned by most of the countries to control the spreading chain of coronavirus. Therefore, the Indian tourism sector got less number of tourists as compared to earlier and no foreign exchange earnings.
    • Business Hurdles, Lack of Hygiene and Comfortable accommodation: During COVID-19, restrictions laid down by the government to control outstretch of coronavirus impacted on most tourists and tour operators to get adequate business.
    • Revenue loss during COVID-19: People are not ready to go outside of their home and they are not willing to take tours. Due to closure of tour destinations, monuments, heritage sites and lack of arrival of tourists the Indian tourism projected a revenue loss of Rs. 1.25 trillion.
    • Tour operators have shut down their business:  the majority of registered and unregistered tour operators closed their operations in India; hence it affected much on profitability and productivity of the Indian tourism industry.
    • Lack of integrated tourism promotion: Promotional activities are barred due to the spread of COVID-19 and there is no benefit of promotion of tourism during COVID-19.
    • Loss of productivity and Profitability: Indian tourism industry was thoroughly put to a stop to their services. Therefore there is no productivity of the tourism activities and profitability.

    Significance

    • India is one of the oldest civilizations: in the world and offers diversity and multiculturalism.
    • The country has a rich heritage and attractive places to visit: making it a popular tourist destination.
    • Economic development: The day is celebrated in the country to inform people of the growth prospects of the tourism sector and how it impacts India’s economic development.

    Way forward

    • Recovery  of  losses  by  promoting  and  reorientation  of  domestic  tourists  gradually  allows foreign tourists to stimulate faster recovery of losses.
    • Government has to take proper measures to mitigate corona spread
    • Tourists  need  to  change  their  travel  behavior  along  with  health  safety  and  hygienic precautions.  
    • Lifting  of  travel  restrictions  with  proper medication  and  improved  immunity  capacity  and lockdown measures has to be taken by every government such as social distancing, compulsory masks, etc.  
    • Tourism related business players would rethink new business models and innovation and virtual techniques has to be implemented.  
    • Proven resilience of tourism and rebooting domestic tourism, ensuring safety and hygiene at tour destinations. Revival of international tourism would take some time, hence focus is to promote in-house tourism.  
    • Travelers’  necessity  to  take  some  responsibilities  while  traveling  abroad  or  within  the country.  
    • Economic assistance packages to the tourism sector in addition to that proper strategies are required to strengthen its return.

    Source: PIB