An Economic & Social Phenomenon

Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening ‎diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. ‎Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses growing number ‎of new destinations. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-‎economic progress.‎

Today, the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles. Tourism has become one of the major players in ‎international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income ‎sources for many developing countries. This growth goes hand in hand with an ‎increasing diversification and competition among destinations.‎

This global spread of tourism in industrialized and developed states has produced ‎economic and employment benefits in many related sectors – from construction to ‎agriculture or telecommunications.‎

The contribution of tourism to economic well-being depends on the quality and the ‎revenues of the tourism offer. UNWTO assists destinations in their sustainable ‎positioning in ever more complex national and international markets. As the UN agency ‎dedicated to tourism, UNWTO points out that particularly developing countries stand to ‎benefit from sustainable tourism and acts to help make this a reality.

Current developments and forecasts

  • International tourist arrivals grew by 4.6 % in 2015 to 1,184 million
  • In 2015, international tourism generated US$ 1.5 trillion in export earnings
  • UNWTO forecasts a growth in international tourist arrivals of between 3.5% and 4.5% in 2016
  • By 2030, UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to reach 1.8 billion (UNWTO Tourism Towards 2030)

Key Statistics

  • International tourist arrivals have increased from 25 million globally in 1950 to 278 million in 1980, 674 million in 2000, and 1,235 million in 2016
  • Likewise, international tourism receipts earned by destinations worldwide have surged from US$ 2 billion in 1950 to US$ 104 billion in 1980, US$ 495 billion in 2000, and US$ 1,220 billion in 2016.
  • International tourism represents 7% of the world’s exports in goods and services, after increasing one percentage point from 6% in 2015. Tourism has grown faster than world trade for the past five years.
  • As a worldwide export category, tourism ranks third after chemicals and fuels and ahead of automotive products and food. In many developing countries, tourism is the top export category. (Source UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2017 Edition)
  • Number of Foreign Tourists Arrival in India is 8.0. Million with an annual growth rate of 9.7%.
  • Foreign Exchange Earnings from Tourism in India is 1, 54, 146 Crore with an annual growth rate of 14%

Tourism – an economic and social phenomenon

Tourism is one of the important sectors contributing to the economy of the country for the future growth. In the changing sociopolitical scenario, international and national Indian governments are also considering travel and tourism as a tool of development. As per the data released by United Nation World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Asia has shown a commendable growth in tourism sector. This sector is creating immense opportunities for income, employment, preservation of culture and cross-culture understanding.

The total contribution by tourism and travel sector to India’s GDP is expected to increase from US$ 136.3 billion in 2015 to US$ 275.2 billion in 2025. Travel and tourism is the third-largest foreign exchange earner for India. In 2014, the country managed foreign exchange earnings of $19.7 billion from tourism. The Government has also been making serious efforts to boost investments in tourism sector. In the hotel and tourism sector, 100 percent FDI is allowed through the automatic route. A five year tax holiday has been offered for 2, 3 and 4-star category hotels located around UNESCO World Heritage sites (except Delhi and Mumbai). The investment in tourism sector is expected to be US$12.4 billion in the 12th Five-Year Plan. Of these private investments are likely to total US$9.2 billion (source:

In some of the countries, Indians are considered to be the highest spenders for the shopping. In the recent past, country has witnessed the substantial increase in the disposable income of average Indians. With the initiatives of new government, the “Brand India” is emerging strongly. This can be witnessed easily after the visits of Prime Minister of India to USA, Japan, Australia and other countries.

Tourism industry is dominated by youngsters, Small and Medium Enterprises are playing an important role in tourism and travel business. This industry demands youth with pleasing personality, smiling face and good communication skill for employment. Tourism is one of the emerging academic disciplines in the social science for employment and career prospectus. Young interns as well as students can look forward to working or developing their career in some of the following important areas in tourism and travel industry:

Tour Operations:

This segment includes product and package designing, itinerary preparation, file handling, marketing, ticketing and linkage with other service providers associated with the tourism trade. As an aspirant, the individual requires sound destination knowledge and networking with supplies, besides the basic job attributes like hard work, pleasing personality and communication skills.

Travel agencies:

They are considered as the retailers. Travel agents are basically a link between tour operators and tourists. Person should be effective in the interpersonal communication and group handling besides IT exposure. He should also be well versed in the domestic and international tourist destinations and attractions. Costing and itinerary preparation would be an added advantage in this segment.

MICE/Event Management Companies:

In the recent years, due to emergence of corporate clientele, this sector has come up with a lot of job opportunities. Meeting, incentive tours, conferences, exhibitions, business tours are the sub-areas where students can obtain job opportunities.

Accommodation: Hotels and Resorts are also offering job opportunities for the students with the exposure to tourism. Star hotels have their travel desks, which are handled by the tourism professionals known as concierge. Most of the hotels are now well equipped with the Spa and other recreation activities.


Air Transport, Road Transport, Cruise Transport, and Luxurious Trains are the examples where tourism professionals can get the chances with the handsome paypackage. Indigo, Spicejet, Jet Airways are some of the examples where the ground handling staff and crew members are from tourism background. Even the cruise companies are also requiring professionals with fair knowledge of cross-cultural handling. Moreover, IRCTC is also engaging the tourism professionals. Most of the cargo companies have recruited the tourism passout students with the sound knowledge of logistics handling.

Adventure Tour Companies:

Water based, land-based and air-based adventure tour companies require tourism professionals with the sound knowledge of technical aspects blended with the client handling. Goa-based National Institute of Water Sports (NIWS) facilitate the students for the jobs by imparting short-term training programmes.

Wildlife, agri-tourism, rural tourism, safaris and bird watching:

These are the niche areas where students can get jobs as per their preferences. Lots of domestic and international tourists visit especially for special interest tourism.

Tour guiding:

Delhi-Agra-Jaipur route is considered as the Golden Triangle due to tourist attraction and shopping. Places like Aurangabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Goa are becoming a hub for tourists. There are different types of tour guides in India like local level tourist guide where the licensing authority is the local body or Municipal Corporation. For State-level tourist guide, the licensing authority is State tourism or State tourism development corporations. There are some other categories of guides like foreign linguistic guides, wildlife guides etc. Tourism professionals with different academic backgrounds serve this segment. Candidates require sound destination knowledge, foreign language, communication skills and cross-cultural handling skills.


Some established tour operators have their special functional requirement where tourism professionals with a sound knowledge of accounting, insurance, FOREX get the jobs with a wonderful pay packages.

Tourism Boards: State Tourism and Ministry of Tourism also require candidates with tourism background for their various positions. State Corporations and Promotional Agencies also require candidates with tourism background.

Travel Writing /Photography:

Travel journalism is another area where the candidates require sound knowledge about Travelogue and terminology required for travel writing. Professional photographers are always in demand in tourism industry and they also play an important role in giving a physical face to the insubstantial tourism products