Ranjan K Baruah
Tourism is a common word here in Assam or Northeast India. This is one of the best industries where young people can get involved in various capacities. When we look at the resources required for this industry, then we find that the resources are already available and all we need is planning to make a profit out of it. The Indian tourism and hospitality industry has emerged as one of the key drivers of growth among the services sector in India. Tourism in Assam and the Northeast has significant potential, considering the rich cultural and historical heritage, variety in ecology, terrains and places of natural beauty spread across the region. Tourism is also a potentially large employment generator besides being a significant source of foreign exchange for the country.
India’s rising middle class and increasing disposable incomes have continued to support the growth of domestic and outbound tourism. Domestic Tourist Visits (DTVs) to the States/Union Territories (UTs) grew by 15.5 per cent year-on-year to 1.65 billion (provisional) during 2016 with the top 10 States/UTs contributing about 84.2 per cent to the total number of DTVs, as per the Ministry of Tourism.
As per the Ministry of Tourism, foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India increased 19.5 per cent year-on-year to 630,000 in May 2017. FTAs on e-tourist visa increased 55.3 per cent year-on-year to 68,000 in May 2017. India’s foreign exchange earnings (FEEs) through tourism increased by 32 per cent year-on-year to reach US$ 2.278 billion in April 2017, as per data from Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
The tourism and hospitality sector is among the top 10 sectors in India to attract the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). During the period April 2000-March 2017, the hotel and tourism sector attracted around US$ 10.14 billion of FDI, according to the data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)
In the Union Budget of 2017-18, the Government of India announced some initiatives to give a boost to the tourism and hospitality sector such as setting up of five special tourism zones, special pilgrimage or tourism trains and worldwide launch of Incredible India campaign among others.
India’s travel and tourism industry has huge growth potential. The tourism industry is also looking forward to the expansion of E-visa scheme which is expected to double the tourist inflow to India. The launch of several branding and marketing initiatives by the Government of India, such as ‘Incredible India!’ and ‘Athiti Devo Bhava’, has provided a focused impetus to growth. The Indian government has also released a fresh category of visa – the medical visa or M visa, to encourage medical tourism in the country.
Tourism products includes – cruises, adventure, medical, wellness, sports, MICE, eco-tourism, film, historical, rural , religious tourism, etc . There are many career avenues related to the tourism industry. One may be associated with tour and travel agencies, hotels and resorts, managing the sights, etc.
Travel and Tourism one of the world’s largest foreign exchange earner among industries, provides employment directly to millions of people worldwide and indirectly through many associated service industries. A very wide industry, it includes Government tourism departments, Immigration and customs services, travel agencies, airlines, tour operators, hotels, etc and many associated service industries such as airline catering or laundry services, guides, interpreters, tourism promotion and sales, etc. Travel and Tourism enterprises include major internationals with a workforce of thousands, to the small private travel agent with a handful of employees.
Some of the career options related to tourism includes:
Tourist Guides: One of the best professions in this sector is being a tourist guide. A tour guide or a tourist guide is a person who provides assistance, information on cultural, historical and contemporary heritage to people on organized tours and individual clients at educational establishments, religious and historical sites, museums, and at venues of other significant interest. We shall write more about tour guides in our next issue.
Tourism Departments: Officers and other staffs are recruited in the tourism departments. All States have their own departments apart from central departments. There are corporations to deal with tourism. Officials are appointed through civil service and other selection process. A degree in travel and tourism is preferred for operational jobs in government organizations. One of the popular designations is Tourist Information Officers and Assistant Tourist Information officer and they are also called as Tourism Officers.
Airlines: In the airlines, one can work as or at Traffic Assistance, Reservation and Counter Staff, Airhostess, Sales and Marketing staff, customer services, etc. A course in travel and tourism or a qualification in Hotel management helps to get in.
Tour Operators: They operate travel plans for the tourist. They organize conducted tours to various tourist spots and manage the travel and stay of the tourists. There are many companies operating tours for the domestic as well as the international tourist.
Travel/Transport Agencies: These agencies guide and manage best travel and stay options for the tourist. They deal with bookings or travel tickets, itineraries for the comfort of the tourist. Travel agencies can be found everywhere.
Some of the courses related to tourism are Advance Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management, Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management, M.B.A. Travel and Tourism, Master of Travel and Tourism Management, Post Graduate Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management, Masters and Bachelor of Tourism Studies/Management, etc. These courses are available in many colleges and institutes. In Assam, many colleges offer courses related to Tourism Studies. There are also short-term skill development courses related to this industry.
IITTM: The Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) is an autonomous body under Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and is one of the premier institutes in the country offering education, training, research and consultancy in sustainable management of tourism, travel and other allied sectors. IITTM is committed to developing quality human resources for tourism and allied services.
Ranjan K Baruah is a social activist and career mentor who has conducted career awareness programme in different parts of Assam and Northeast India and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 98640 55558 for any career related queries