In the travel trade, especially among the inbound players, a topic that has been widely debated post lamenting the relatively poor inbound arrival statistics is the exact bifurcation among pure inbound tourists and rest of the visitors. Now, this mystery had got solved to a great extent! As per the UNWTO definition, International Tourist Arrivals (ITAs) comprises two components namely Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and Arrivals of Non-Resident Nationals. The UNWTO in its barometer ranks countries in terms of their ITAs. So far only the figures of FTAs were compiled in India. However, now India has started compiling the data arrivals of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), also.
The number of NRI arrivals during 2014 and 2015 were 5.43 million and 5.26 million, respectively. Accordingly, the numbers of ITAs in India during 2014 and 2015 were 13.11 million and 13.28 million, respectively. The data of ITAs, containing both the arrivals of NRIs and FTAs, is now as per International recommendations.
As per the press communique shared by the Ministry of tourism, due to this inclusion, India has improved its rank reflecting the true and comparable scenario has now been acknowledged by the UNWTO. As per the latest UNWTO Barometer for March 2017, Rank of India in International Tourist Arrivals in both 2014 and 2015 is 24 as against the previous rank of 41 and 40 in the year 2014 and 2015, respectively. With this inclusion the share of India in the ITAs has also increased from 0.68% (based on FTAs) to 1.12% in the year 2015.
Earlier Indias rank in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), 2017 had also shown a 12 places jump from 2015. Rank of India in TTCI Report of 2017 was 40th as compared to 52nd in 2015, 65th in 2013 and 68th in 2011. While UNWTO gives ranking in terms of numbers of ITAs, TTCI is composed of 14 pillars organised into four sub-indices of Enabling Environment, Travel & Trade Policy and Enabling Conditions, Infrastructure and Natural and Cultural Resources.
But, on announcement of announcement of the broadly approved the GST rates for goods at nil rate, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% 14th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council Meeting, chaired by the Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley at Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir- major travel trade circles are in shock over the likely increase in costs of its packages. Although, the budget accommodation providers had got some new to cheer about as Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO of OYO feels that A lower tax rate for budget hotels sector will ensure that the industry’s quality upgrade continues while delivering standardised accommodation to millions of middle-class travellers. This will also save and create thousands of new jobs which could have been impacted under higher tax-rates. Hotels are the single biggest contributor to tourism industry which accounts for 7.5 per cent of the GDP. The move will boost revenue from Travel & Tourism sector for the next many years.The industry is expected to contribute 280 billion dollars to the GDP by 2026 and will pass on benefits of uniform taxation across the country to travellers.”