Perhaps for the first time since assuming office, President Ram Nath Kovind spoke so extensively on tourism and its impact on national growth and development. At the occasion of World Tourism Day, speaking to an array of industry stakeholders and students, he called tourism as one of the largest industries in the world, citing how constant increase in global tourist footfalls in the past six decades had shaped it as one of the key industries for strengthening the economy. “Its evolution can be estimated from the fact that the number of tourists all over the world has increased from 2.5 crore in 1950 to 123 crores in 2016,” he said. He further added “the tourism industry contributes 10.2 percent of the world’s GDP. It is estimated that every 10th person in the world works in the tourism industry.”
Taking stock of the critical nature of tourism, he asserted that fate of millions of people in the country was intrinsically linked to the industry. “The tourism industry can contribute significantly in generating permanent employment opportunities and eliminating poverty,” he said. He said that according to an assessment, an investment of INR 10 lakh in tourism industry provided employment to about 90 people, about 45 people in agriculture, and about 13 people in manufacturing, indicating the role played by the industry in generating employment.
The President made a pitch for strengthening inclusive economic development and advocated community participation to enhance guest experience. “Every citizen should strive to provide a good experience to tourists at his or her own level. In a tourism conscious society, the role of the government is only to provide direction and a facilitating environment,” he said.
The President also made a mention of ‘Adopt a Heritage Project’, launched recently with participation from the tourism ministry, culture ministry and Archaeological Survey of India, stating that it had great potential to make heritage monuments more tourist-friendly. He expressed hope that the project “will help in the maintenance of our heritage with a partnership of the public and private sectors.”