Travel and tourism is a high-growth industry that has the potential to create millions of jobs and boost employment prospects. According to World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), travel and tourism in India supported 41 million jobs in 2017. The industry contributed to 10.4% of the global GDP in 2017 and by 2028 it is projected to support 400 million jobs globally. This means that the travel and tourism industry will contribute to 25% of the global job creation while India alone will add around 10 million jobs in the travel and tourism sector by 2028. These numbers are indicative of the fact that there is no dearth of opportunities in the travel and tourism sector. It has already outpaced other industries in terms of job creation.
A sea of opportunities
Tourism is a labour intensive industry with manpower required at all stages. With the ongoing boom across all sub-sectors in travel and tourism – flights, accommodation, experiences and more – the opportunities are set to increase. Currently, a major chunk of the job creation within the travel sector has been confined to urban parts of the country. However, as travelers begin to show interest in lesser traveled parts of the country, there will also be an increase in job requirements in rural areas. This portends quicker and more efficient development of rural areas along with a reduction in the rampant migration from rural to urban areas that is currently underway.
In order to establish India as a stellar tourist destination, there has been significant development in infrastructure in the past few years. Focus has been laid upon the construction of important roads and highways to boost road travel. Previously inaccessible destinations are now easily accessible to tourists traveling by road, massively boosting domestic travel. On the other hand, local flight connections have also been addressed and numerous new flights have been added to link previously unconnected destinations. Additionally, there have also been significant strides in sea travel with the first cruise from Mumbai to Goa launched in 2018. The Shipping Authority of India is further working on making sea travel popular in India.
Furthermore, the government has had a huge role to play in the growth of the travel and tourism sector in India. The Ministry of Tourism launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2015 which aims at developing world-class infrastructure and promoting cultural and heritage value of the country. As much of India’s domestic tourism is based on pilgrimage, the Ministry of Tourism also launched the National Mission for Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme. This scheme focuses on the beautification and development of heritage sites. The government has also launched an Incredible India helpline and an app to guide tourists visiting the country.
It is evident that the government and private companies are leaving no stones unturned in bolstering the travel and tourism sector in India. Industry statistics show that the number of jobs in the sector are continuously skyrocketing. A significant factor that is bolstering jobs within the sector is the widespread uptake of technology. With leading online travel agencies (OTAs) making travel an increasingly digitised and technology-centric sector, the need for skilled employees in increasing by the day.
However, most graduates in the travel and tourism sector have limited theoretical knowledge instead of practical skills. Therefore, there is a dearth of skilled employees to fulfil the numerous tech-centric job openings in the sector. The government and educational institutes now need to focus on skill-building in the travel sector to overcome this challenge.
Safety and security concerns are also posing a challenge to the travel sector in India. Foreign travelers have had long-standing apprehensions about visiting the country due to past accounts of terrorism and attacks against women. Addressing this challenge, the government is continually upgrading its security protocols and designing secure infrastructure to reduce such instances.
There is still huge potential to be unlocked in the travel industry in India. As we overcome existing challenges, more travelers will view the country as a unique travel destination, replete with great beauty and diversity. The burgeoning travel industry will, therefore, continue to create a host of new opportunities for professionals. Whether it is for travelers or job seekers, India’s travel industry is truly set to create a better future for all.
(The writer is Vice President, Hotels, Cleartrip)