Tourism and Hospitality

  • The Tourism and Hospitality industry in India is one of the largest service industries. Tourism is an integral pillar of the Make in India programme.
  • Tourism has one of the highest job-creating potentials across all sectors.
  • India is the 8th largest country in terms of contribution to travel & tourism GDP. 1
  • The Tourism industry in India generated USD 247.3 Bn showing a growth of 6.7% during the year 2018, accounting for 9.2% of the total economy.2
  • The World Heritage List has 38 sites inscribed which include 30 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed category site. There are 3686 monuments/sites under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).4
  • By 2029, the Indian tourism sector is likely to grow at 6.7% per annum and achieve 9.2% of GDP with USD 488 bn.
  • India is the 8th largest country in terms of contribution to travel & tourism GDP in 2018.
  • India has moved from 65th place in 2013 on Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index to 34th place in 2019.
Reasons to Invest
  • Tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner for the country. The Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE), from the Tourism industry in India, stood at USD 28.585 Bn in 2018. 
  • Globally, India is also the 3rd largest in terms of investment in travel & tourism with an investment of USD 45.7 Bn in 2018.6
  • India has a diverse portfolio of niche tourism products which includes cruises, adventure, medical, wellness, sports such as Golf and Polo, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions), eco-tourism, film, rural and religious tourism.
  • Hotels with a project cost of USD 29.85 Mn or above are already included in the Harmonized Master List (HML) of Infrastructure. The MoF (Ministry of Finance) is constantly being pursued for the inclusion of Hotels with a project cost of USD 3.7 Mn to USD 29.85 Mn in the HML.7
  • The centrally funded scheme of Swadesh Darshan and Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) provide for introducing suitable Public Private Partnership (PPP) for improved sustainability of the projects. Viability Gap Funding may be provided under the schemes in accordance with the relevant guidelines/instructions of the Government.
  • The Ministry has put in place a System for Assessment, Awareness and Training in Hospitality Industry (SAATHI) to ensure compliance with COVID 19 Safety and Hygiene guidelines and to ensure safety and health of employees / customers.
  • Tourist officers have been appointed in 20 embassies to promote India as a tourist destination as well as facilitate tourists from those countries that have highest foot fall in India.
  • An amount of INR 220.76 crore has been sanctioned to the State of Nagaland for the development of tourist destinations under the Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD Scheme since 2018-21.
  • The analytics of a 2021 survey which suggested that 30% of employment can be solely generated out of the tourism sector in India.
  • GoI is making efforts to improve income and employment opportunities of people living around basins through 'Arth Ganga', and cultural tourism in the region.
  • Tourism Ministry has undertaken ‘NamasteIndia’ Campaign for encouraging International visitors to travel to India.

Explore more about infrastructure availability in Tourism and Hospitality sector >

Key Achievements
  • Swadesh Darshan launched - 15 theme-based tourist circuits identified, 5 pan-India mega circuits identified, 77 projects worth USD 880 Mn underway.22
  • India’s ranking in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) of the World Economic Forum moved up by 6 positions from 40th position in 2017 to 34th position in 2019.23 
  • Adopt a Heritage, Apni Darohar, Apni Pehchan - Under this Mission, 27 Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) has been awarded to12 Monuments Mitras for twenty-five sites and two Technological interventions across India.23 
  • The Global Medical Tourism Market was worth USD 19.7 Bn in 2016 and estimated to be growing at a CAGR of 18.8 %, to reach USD 46.6 Bn by 2021.23 
  • ‘Dekho Apna Desh’: The Ministry of Tourism launched the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative in January 2020 with the objective of creating awareness among the citizens about the rich heritage and culture of the country and encourage citizens to travel within the country.
  • The tourism sector provides 12.95% of direct and indirect jobs in India during 2018-19 and given immense economic opportunities for the local communities, especially for women entrepreneurs.31 
  • Shri Piyush Goyal inaugurated tourist hut of Pahalgam Development Authority at Golf Course Pahalgam to promote tourism in J&K.
  • Ministry of Tourism had an MoU with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and NFDC to develop synergy between Tourism and the film industry and to provide a platform for enabling partnerships between the Indian and global film industry.
  • The Ramayana Yatra Train connects all important locations of Lord Rama’s journey during his lifetime including Bhadrachalam Road Station.
  • Ministry of Tourism in its ongoing effort to strengthen the Hospitality & Tourism Industry has signed a MoU with IRCTC, Easy My Trip, Cleartrip,, Make My Trip and Goibibo to provide an extensive visibility to accommodation units, which have self-certified themselves on SAATHI on the OTA platform.
  • Under PRASHAD scheme of the Ministry of Tourism, components of Sound and Light Show at Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath at a cost of INR 7.34 Crore and Buddha Theme Park, Sarnath, at a cost of INR 2.20 Crore have also been sanctioned in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Ministry under ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme has sanctioned  5 projects under Buddhist circuit theme.
  • The Pochampally Village in Telangana State has been selected as one of the best Tourism Villages by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
  • GOI inaugurated tourist facilitation center and public utilities and changing room on Colva Beach in South Goa as part of Development of Coastal Circuit II projects under the Swadesh Darshan scheme.
  • Establishment of various Ganga museums, adventure sports, performing Aartis on pious Ghats of Ganga etc. have given an unprecedented fillip to the tourism sector in the country, thus aiming for sustainable tourism in the country.
Recent Announcements

12th May 2022: Ministry of Tourism has initiated establishing ‘YUVA Tourism Clubs’ to nurture and develop young ambassadors of Indian tourism who would become aware of tourism possibilities in India. 

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10th May 2022: Tourism Ministry has undertaken ‘NamasteIndia’ Campaign for encouraging International visitors to travel to India.

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4th April 2022: Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 10 projects under Heritage Circuit theme of the Swadesh Darshan scheme.

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1st April 2022: 68 destinations/sites have been identified in 30 States/UTs for development under the PRASHAD Scheme.

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24th March 2022: MOU is signed between NHAI/NHLML, NHIDCL and Ministry of Tourism for developing Way-Side Amenities.

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  • In 2019, the industry contributed USD 194 bn to the Indian economy and created about 40 mn jobs, which is 8% of its total employment.
  • The Tourism industry in India is the 3rd largest foreign exchange earner after gems, jewellery and readymade garments.
  • India ranks 14th in terms of absolute Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) and 122nd in terms of share of visitor exports in total export.8
  • Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) during 2019 were USD 29.962 Bn (Provisional estimates) with a growth of 4.8% from the previous year.29
  • Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during 2019 were 10.89 Mn (Provisional) with a growth of 3.2% from the previous year.29
  • The cumulative FDI equity inflow in the Hotel and Tourism industry in India is USD 15.28 Bn during the period April 2000 to March 2020. 27
  • In FY20, tourism sector accounted for 39 mn jobs comprising of 8% of the total employment.
  • Tourism Sector contributes around 15% in total employment of the country as per 3rd Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) for the years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.
Growth Drivers
  • The Government of India has recently been focusing upon fast-track infrastructure development and promoting tourism digitally.
  • Sustained efforts have led to a jump of 31 places in the World Economic Forum Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index ranking between 2013 and 2019.10 India has shown the maximum improvement among the top 25% of all countries ranked, since the year 2017.
  • GOI launched the digital booklet 75 incredible sites to visit in India and Incredible India 2022 digital calendar.
  • The key initiatives undertaken are:
    • E-visa facility extended to 171 Countries under 5 sub-categories i.e ‘e-Tourist visa’, ’eBusiness visa’, ‘e-medical visa’, ‘e-Medical Attendant Visa’ and ‘e-Conference Visa’.The e-Visa is valid for entry through 28 designated Airports and 5 designated seaports.32
    • In 2020, a total of 8.38 mn foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa registering a growth of 67.2%. 32
    • Undertaken promotional activities such as Incredible India 2.0 campaign and India Tourism Martin 2018.
  • 68 destinations/sites have been identified in 30 States/UTs for development under the PRASHAD Scheme as on 31st March 2022.
  • India’s first ‘Adventure Tourism Guidelines’ launched covering 29 land, air and water-based activities.
  • ‘Swachh Paryatan Mobile App’ & 24x7 Tourist Helpline launched in 12 international languages.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has been complemented by progressive initiatives by other ministries, such as UDAN scheme by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, tourist trains by the Ministry of Railways, Sagarmala project and development of lighthouses by the Ministry of Shipping.
  • The traditional themes of culture & heritage, religious and nature-based Tourism are still the frontrunners shaping the inbound tourism landscape in India. Rich history & vibrant culture, deeply entrenched faith in religion and unparalleled diversity in natural resources present a distinct advantage to India.12
  • Availability of medical experts offering speciality treatment, advanced equipment and low cost have positioned India as a preferred medical tourism destination in several international markets.
  • Adventure tourism is another rapidly growing segment which has a tremendous potential based on the diverse natural landscape on offer in India.13
  • Ministry of Tourism set up a portal ‘Stranded in India’ with a view to facilitate and extend support to foreign tourists The portal helped tourists get information/details of State /UT Tourism Departments and Regional Offices.
  • The construction of cruise cum Coastal Cargo Terminal at Channel berth area in Outer Harbour of Visakhapatnam is being implemented at a cost of INR 77 crores to develop the beautiful coastal city of Vizag not just as a world tourist destination but also as a centre of trade & commerce
  • Commencement of the flight operations between Delhi and Kushinagar, an international Buddhist pilgrimage centre and the centre point of the Buddhist circuit will act as a multiplier effect on the hospitality, tourism and local economy.
  • Ministry of Tourism started the Destination Based Skill Development training programme at 7 iconic sites in FY 2019-20 for creation of employment at tourist destinations by training, upgrading and sensitizing the local people residing near these tourism sites and destinations. This programme continues and covers 44 destinations in FY2020-21 and has covered 24 destinations till November in FY 2021-22.
  • A Tourism project under SWADESH 2.0 is being developed as a part of the Shalihundam- Thotlakonda- Bavikonda- Bojjanakonda- Amravati- Anupu Buddhist circuit with an amount of INR 26.17 crore.
  • Coastal Circuit is identified as one of the fifteen thematic circuits for development under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme and provides financial assistance to various State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations for various tourism projects, which may include components related to cruise tourism.
  • INR 500 cr is allocated for  state of Uttar Pradesh under SWADESH DARSHAN scheme towards strengthening Tourism infrastructure through various spiritual circuits such as the Ramayana and Buddha circuits.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has identified Rural Circuit as one of the 15 thematic circuits under its scheme of ‘Swadesh Darshan’ with the primary objective to create tourism infrastructure at the selected sites/destinations and to enhance visitor experience/satisfaction.
  • Infrastructure is being developed in the temple town of Bhadrachalam and it would be the last station of the ‘Ramayana Circuit’.
  • The Phase-1 of Tourism Development project related to Shri Guru Ravidas Ji Temple, Seer Govardhan, Varanasi is developed to give fillip to the tourism potential of the holy city.
  • A new Circuit House in Somnath, Gujarat, a tourist Centre is developed as a campaign of public participation.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has identified Eco Circuit as one of the fifteen thematic circuits for development under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme to promote eco-tourism in the country.
  • The Ministry has signed MoU with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI) with the purpose to undertake measures to actively promote and support ‘sustainability initiatives’ in the tourism sector. 
  • GOI will install a grand statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate, New Delhi to give tribute to the immense contribution of Netaji in our freedom struggle, and would be a symbol of the country’s indebtedness to him.
  • The Water Taxi services in Mumbai is going to give huge impetus to the tourism sector, especially travel to the historic Elephanta caves from Navi Mumbai. Visitors will be able to travel easily from Navi Mumbai to Gateway of India.
  • The Ministry of Tourism in order to boost tourism throughout the country signed an Memorandum of Understanding with M/s Alliance Air Aviation Limited (AAAL) to synergise the activities of MoT and AAAL in the tourism markets.
  • E-passports with embedded chips to be rolled out to enhance the convenience for the citizens in their overseas travel.
  • National Ropeways Development Programme to be taken up in PPP mode with the aim to improve connectivity, besides promoting Tourism.
  • Ministry of Tourism launched the digital platform (E-Marketplace) as part of digital tourism solution for IITFs / IITGs, to provide Web and Mobile App based interaction mechanism, which is to be used by the tourists and certified tourist facilitators/Tourist Guides.
  •  Ministry of Tourism has formulated a National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism to create a robust framework and synergy amongst the Central Government Ministries, State Governments and Private Sector for promoting India as a Medical and Wellness Tourism destination.
  • 'Medical Visa’ has been introduced, which can be given for specific purpose to foreign travellers coming to India for medical treatment. ‘E- Medical Visa’ and ‘E-Medical Attendant Visa’ have also been introduced for 156 countries.
  • PM dedicates to the nation 216-feet tall ‘Statue of Equality’ commemorating Sri Ramanujacharya.
  • Raksha Mantri inaugurates BRO Tourism website to promote tourism in border areas; Portal to facilitate guided tours for people to world famous BRO projects.
  • MOU is signed between NHAI/NHLML, NHIDCL and Ministry of Tourism for developing Way-Side Amenities.
  • Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 16 projects of more than INR 1300 crore in North East region of India.
  • India and Australia have signed MoU on Tourism cooperation in the field of Tourism. The MoU will facilitate the exchange of information and data related to tourism, Cooperation between tourism stakeholders, particularly hotels and tour operators, Cooperation and exchanges between training and education providers in tourism and hospitality, Investment in the tourism and hospitality sectors, Visits of tour operators and wholesalers, media and opinion makers, High quality, safe, ethical and sustainable tourism development, Interest in major cultural, artistic and sporting events, Opportunities for traveler education on applicable laws, rules and instructions in each other’s country and Enhanced tourism engagement in multilateral fora. 
  •  Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 10 projects under Heritage Circuit theme of the Swadesh Darshan scheme which includes the project ‘Development of Tezpur – Majuli – Sibsagar’ sanctioned for INR 90.98 cr. under Heritage circuit theme in the State of Assam.
  • Ministry of Tourism has initiated establishing ‘YUVA Tourism Clubs’ to nurture and develop young ambassadors of Indian tourism who would become aware of tourism possibilities in India, appreciate our rich cultural heritage and develop an interest and passion for tourism. 
  • Indian cruise market has the potential to grow 10 folds over the next decade, driven by rising demand and disposable incomes. 
  • Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned INR 228.61 crore for  projects towards the development of Cruise Terminals and related infrastructure in different States at the major ports under the scheme for ‘Assistance to Central Agencies for Tourism Infrastructure Development’. 
FDI Policy
  • 100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route in the Tourism and hospitality industry in India, subject to applicable regulations and laws.
  • 100% FDI allowed in tourism construction projects, including the development of hotels, resorts and recreational facilities.
  • The cumulative FDI equity inflow in the Hotel and Tourism industry is USD 16,300.50 mn during the period April 2000 to December 2020. This constitutes 2.85% of the total FDI inflow received across sectors.27


Read more about Foreign Direct Investment Policy in India >

Sector Policy


  • A National Tourism Policy was formulated in 2002. However, considering the widespread interrelated global advancements, a new draft National Tourism Policy has been formulated, which is yet to be approved and has the following salient features:14
    • The focus of the Policy is on employment generation and community participation.
    • Stress on the development of tourism in a sustainable and responsible manner.
    • An all-encompassing Policy involving linkages with various Ministries, Departments, States/Union Territories and Stakeholders.
    • The Policy enshrines the vision of developing and positioning India as a “MUST EXPERIENCE” and “MUST RE-VISIT” destination for global travellers, whilst encouraging Indians to explore their own country.
    • To develop and promote varied tourism products including the rich culture and heritage of the country, as well as niche products such as medical &wellness, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, Adventure, Wildlife and so on.
    • Development of core infrastructure (airways, railways, roadways, waterways, etc.) as well as Tourism Infrastructure.
    • Developing quality human resources in the Tourism and Hospitality industry in India, across the spectrum of vocational to professional skills development and opportunity creation.
    • Creating and enabling an environment for investment in tourism and tourism-related infrastructure.
    • Emphasis on technology-enabled development in tourism.
    • Focus on domestic tourism as a major driver of tourism growth.15
    • In Swadesh Darshan Scheme 76 projects have been sanctioned across India in different themes such as Coastal Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Eco Circuit, Spiritual Circuit etc. 
    • Under Swadesh Darshan Scheme, Tourism Ministry has sanctioned 15 projects in Southern States worth INR 1088 crores.
    • Ministry of Tourism under Swadesh Darshan scheme has sanctioned 76 projects under 13 thematic circuits including ‘Buddhist theme
    • Under PRASHAD Scheme, 37 projects have been sanctioned in India which also includes projects from the Southern States. 
    • Under the PRASHAD scheme, the Ministry has sanctioned 6 projects in the Southern region that amounts to 15% of the entire scheme budget

Domestic Tourism:

  • Dekho Apna Desh Webinars.
  • Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat: various activities like roadshows, Fam trips, B2B Meetings, Quiz programmes, webinars between paired States / UTs to promote Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat.
  • Aerial photography of key cities and cultural assets (Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Udupi, Aurangabad, Iconic Tourist sites) across the country during the lockdown.
  • Regular consultations with industry stakeholders on issues related to opening up of Tourism sector.
  • Handling of tourists, protocols of safety and security, services standards etc.
  • Domestic Tourism Promotion Campaign through Webinars, social media and other digital platforms.
  • Dekho Apna Desh Campaign has been the mainstay of Domestic Promotion. The main focus is to rebuild the trust of the domestic & international travellers in terms of India being safe destination to travel in post Covid Scenario.
  • Several Tourism projects have been inaugurated as a part of the Tribal Circuit in Telengana under Swadesh Darshan Scheme.


Explore Government policies/ schemes in Tourism and Hospitality sector >

Financial Support


  • The total budgetary allocation for FY 2022-23 towards the Ministry of Tourism is INR 2,400 cr.


  • An investment-linked deduction under Section 35 AD of the Income Tax Act is in place for establishing new hotels in the 2-star category and above across India, thus permitting a 100% deduction in respect of the whole or any expenditure of a capital nature excluding land, goodwill and financial instruments incurred.


  • Incentives offered by state governments include subsidised land cost, relaxation in stamp duty, exemption on sale/lease of land, power tariff incentives, concessional rate of interest on loans, investment subsidies/tax incentives, backward areas subsidies and special incentive packages for mega projects.
  • Incentives are provided for setting up projects in special areas – the North-east, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.


  •  Assistance in large revenue-generating projects
  • Support for Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure development such as viability gap funding
  • Schemes for capacity-building of service providers
Investment Opportunities


  • The presence of world-class hospitals and skilled medical professionals make India a preferred destination for medical tourism.
  • As an opportunity for cruise owners and operators by capturing/capitalizing the opportunity from a vast beautiful coast line, vast forest and undisturbed idyllic islands.
  • Rural tourism is mainly promoted by the Incredible India 2.0 Campaign.19
  • The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned Rural Tourism projects at 185 sites in several states/union territory administrations up to 31 March 2012.20
  • Under Swadesh Darshan Scheme, Ministry of Tourism identified Rural & Coastal Circuits as one of the thematic circuits for development.
  • Eco-tourism is at a nascent stage, but there are conscious efforts to save the fragile Himalayan eco-system and the culture and heritage of indigenous people.
  • Ministry of Tourism has identified “Eco Circuit” as one of the 15 thematic circuits under Swadesh Darshan Scheme
  • The Tourism and hospitality industry in India offers opportunities across various sub-segments such as timeshare resorts, convention centres, motels, heritage hotels . Investment opportunities in the setting up of tour operations and travel agencies cater to burgeoning tourist inflow.


Explore projects to invest in Tourism and Hospitality sector >

Foreign Investors
  • Accor (France)
  • The Four Seasons Group (Canada)
  • Thomas Cook (UK)
  • Marriott Hotels (USA)
  • Expedia (USA)
  • Premier Travel Inn (UK)
  • Cox & Kings (UK)
  • Hyatt Hotels Corporation (USA)
  • Airbnb (USA)
  1. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, India Inbound Tourism Unlocking the Opportunity, 
  2. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, India Inbound Tourism Unlocking the Opportunity, 
  3. India Tourism Statistics 2019, Ministry of Tourism,
  4. "36 sites from India inscribed on World Heritage List: Dr Mahesh Sharma", Ministry of Culture, PIB, 
  5. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, India Inbound Tourism Unlocking the Opportunity, 
  6. The Times of India, Hotel projects over Rs 50 crore likely to get infra status,
  7. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, India Inbound Tourism Unlocking the Opportunity, 
  8. Annual report 2019-20,
  9. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019, World Economic Forum accessed on 12 May 2020,
  10. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, India Inbound Tourism Unlocking the Opportunity, 
  11. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, India Inbound Tourism Unlocking the Opportunity, 
  12. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, India Inbound Tourism Unlocking the Opportunity, 
  13. National Tourism Policy, Ministry of Tourism, PIB, 
  14. National Tourism Policy, Ministry of Tourism, PIB, 
  15. Press Information Bureau, Cabinet approves Swadesh Darshan Scheme: Integrated Development of Theme-based Tourist Circuits in the country, 
  16. The Institute of Cost Accountants of India, Impact of GST on travel and tourism sector in India, 
  17. Press Information Bureau – Ministry of Home Affairs, Liberalization of visa regime of India during the last one year, 
  18. "Year-End Review -2017: Ministry of Tourism", PIB,
  19. Schemes for Promotion of Rural Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, PIB, 
  20. Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality, Request for Proposal, 
  21. Ministry of Tourism, Statistics, 
  22. Ministry of Tourism, Updated list of PRASAD cities, 
  23.  Annual Report 2019-20,
  24. Expenditure Budget, Ministry of Tourism,
  25. Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index, World Economic Forum,
  26. Factsheet on FDI - April 2000 to March 2020Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade,
  27. Factsheet on FDI - April 2000 to December 2021, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade,
  28. Annual Report 2019-20
  29. Annual Report 2019-20
  30. PIB Release,
  31. PIB Release,
  32. Annual Report.

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