With India assuming the G20 Presidency from this month, the country’s apex hospitality Association – Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has cited the yearlong event as a golden opportunity for the tourism and hospitality industry to shine on the global stage. The Association has urged the Government to intensify promotional initiatives under Incredible India to attract as many foreign tourists as possible during the year and leave an indelible mark of India on the tourism map of the world. The G20 Summit is expected to host over 200 meetings and conferences in over 50 destinations. In anticipation of its spill over benefits, FHRAI has requested the Government to also reactivate the Champion Sector in Services Scheme (CSSS) to give a boost to the MICE tourism in the country.
“India’s G20 Presidency brings with it a great opportunity for the tourism and hospitality industry. The country will host delegates from the 20 participating countries over the duration of a year and this might also pique the interest of tourists to travel to India. After two years of absolute stalling, this has come as a golden opportunity for the tourism and hospitality industry. This is the time that the Government should go full throttle to promote tourism under the Incredible India banner. The hospitality industry is raring to showcase its world-class standards and facilities to the world while celebrating the country’s rich and varied heritage and diversity,” says Jaison Chacko, Secretary General, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI).
India’s tourism sector is one of the largest service industries with 10.93 million Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and USD30 billion Foreign Exchange Earnings in 2019.
A total of 3,263,219 Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) were recorded till August 2022, which is 47.2 per cent of the 6,914,987 FTAs to the country in the corresponding period in 2019. With the G20 Summit taking place across the country through the year, the hospitality industry hopes to bridge the 50 per cent deficit in tourist inflow in a lesser time span.
“We congratulate the Govt. on assuming the G20 Presidency. The series of meetings and yearlong activities will give a big boost to the industry and its allied sectors and the industry is ready and excited to host the delegates of G20. India is already gaining much popularity for its medical tourism and MICE is another such niche space which can catapult India into one of the major tourism nations in the South-East Asian market. Just before the pandemic broke out, the MoT had set up a MICE fund under the CSSS to boost MICE tourism in the country by encouraging the meetings and conference operators to bring more international conferences, meetings and seminars to India. This was initiated with the objective of increasing foreign tourist arrivals, employment and foreign exchange earnings for the country. Unfortunately, the project got stalled due to the pandemic but we now request the Government to reactivate the scheme to make the most of the opportunity,” says Pradeep Shetty, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) & Executive Committee Member, FHRAI.
“As per the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) tourism generated Rs.13.2 lakh Cr (US$170 billion) or 5.8 per cent of India’s GDP and supported 32.1 million jobs in 2021. Prior to the pandemic, tourism and hospitality contributed close to 10 per cent to the country’s GDP and supported close to 90 million jobs directly and indirectly. By the end of the third wave of the pandemic, the hospitality industry had suffered a whopping Rs.1.40 lakh Cr loss and millions of people lost jobs. FHRAI strongly feels that this is the most opportune time of the industry if steps are taken in the right direction. We are certain that India’s G20 Presidency will help the cause of the industry and the industry is aligned with the Government in its mission to present India’s hospitality prowess to the world,” concludes Chacko.