Tourism Needs its Own specific EPC

India’s Foreign Trade Policy for the year was unveiled on 31st Mar 2023, by Piyush Goyal, Minister Commerce and Industry, wherein the government announced an export target of $2 Tn for the year 2030.

The pandemic hit tourism exports very hard which is clearly visible from the comparison in the foreign exchange earnings of US $30.6 bn during pre-Covid year 2019 and US $16.5 bn during 2022.

There was a decline in exports during the years 2019 & 2020, while a sharp increase is visible in 2021. Whereas, tourism exports declined drastically from a share of 5.5% in 2019 to 2.17% in 2022.

Given a best year share 5.5%, contribution of tourism exports should be $110 bn of the export target of $2 Tn set for the year 2030.

Ministry of Tourism has always been responsible for promoting & marketing Indian tourism across the globe. Due to Pandemic, there have been no marketing and promotional activities by Ministry of Tourism. With the remaining 8 overseas tourism offices closed in March this year, effectively speaking, the Ministry is not presently engaged in any major exercise in the promotion of tourism exports.

The government has now entrusted the responsibility to promote India as tourism destination to Indian missions abroad. Ministry of Commerce and Indian missions are already working together to promote international trade for past several decades. It may be worthwhile at this stage to consider Tourism exports to be brought under Ministry of Commerce, thereby making tourism a part and parcel of entire export basket.

All international and Indian tourism studies agree that India has enormous potential for international tourism, as we have everything that any tourist may be looking forward to; from snow-clad Himalayas to the golden sand beaches of Goa, thousands of years of civilisation, culture, historical monuments, wildlife, religious / spiritual places, wellness and Ayurvedic treatment centres etc etc. You name it, and India has it! Unfortunately, India has never achieved the potential that our tourism offers; it is possible we require a new and different approach!

It is time that India holistically views its promotions, marketing and development strategy, while recognising that it is essentially a private sector driven industry. Tourism exports can achieve $ 110 bn target in the year 2030, given the will of the government. It is possible that our existing resources can give better results, given a more concentrated and revised approach.

The time has come for us to extend the importance of tourism with setting up of a  tourism specific ‘Exports Promotion Council’ (EPC) to give a boost to tourism export, just like other EPCs for merchandise & services exports, that are promoted by Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

Tourism EPC should promote and market Indian tourism products worldwide, by exhibiting in international tourism exhibitions, roadshows as well as collaborate with Foreign Tour Operators and meetings & conferences professionals. Organising a mega tourism exhibition annually should be part of the agenda where large number of foreign tour operators, travel writers, journalists, TV crews from across the globe are invited to showcase India’s prowess in its full glory.

Like all other exports, taxes levied on tourism exports should be refunded to make Indian tourism products competitive in the international market.

We in the tourism industry fully believe that given India’s tourism potential we can achieve $ 110 bn in foreign exchange in the year 2030.


MD of KTC Travels, India’s oldest car hire company, former and founder vice-chairman of FAITH, an organisation of 11 leading travel and tourism associations, Sarabjit Singh is an active force to push for a tourism based agenda.



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