Maharashtra attracts maximum investments in hotels, tourism industry: ASSOCHAM

New Delhi, Aug 22 : With a share of almost 17 percent, Maharashtra has emerged as the top state in terms of attracting investments in the hotels and tourism industry across India, noted a just-concluded study by apex industry body ASSOCHAM.

"Maharashtra has attracted investments worth over Rs. 15,500 crore of the total outstanding investments worth over Rs. 93,400 crore attracted by the hotels and tourism industry in India as of June 2016," noted the study titled 'Domestic Tourism: Tap the treasure,' conducted by ASSOCHAM.

"Gujarat (14.5 percent), Karnataka (12 percent approx.), Tamil Nadu (10 percent approx.) and West Bengal (nine percent approx.) also figure among top five states in this regard," highlighted the study prepared by the ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau (AERB).

Though more emphasis is being laid upon luring foreign tourists in India, interestingly the share of domestic tourists travelling within India has increased from 95.5 percent in 1991 to over 98 percent in 2015, while share of foreign tourists has decreased significantly from 4.5 percent to 1.6 percent during this period, noted the study.

The number of domestic tourists has increased from about 67 million in 1991 to 1,432 million in 2015, whereas the number of foreign tourists visiting India has increased from about three million to 23 million during the same period.

According to the ASSOCHAM study, the number of domestic tourist visits in India can increase from over 143 crore in 2015 to over 227 crore by 2020.

"Given the growth of India's economy, expansion of middle classes and ongoing westernization of their lifestyles, the relative importance of domestic tourism can only be expected to increase exponentially over the coming decades," said DS Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the chamber's study.

"However, it is imperative for governments both at the state and central levels to give more priority and a more integral, central role to domestic tourism in the overall tourism development across India," said Rawat.

"More so as domestic tourism provides much needed employment to thousands of small-scale entrepreneurs and low scale workers something which the country requires to utilize its growing demographic dividend," he said.

"Besides it compensates for seasonal variations in overseas tourism thereby sustaining tourism demand and employment in tourism," added Rawat.

Tamil Nadu leads in attracting maximum domestic tourists with a share of over 23 percent in the total (143 crore) domestic tourist visits in 2015 followed by Uttar Pradesh (14 percent), Andhra Pradesh (8.5 percent), Karnataka (8.4 percent), Maharashtra (7.2 percent), Telangana (6.6 percent), Madhya Pradesh (5.4 percent), West Bengal (4.9 percent), Gujarat (2.5 percent) and Rajasthan (2.5 percent), that are amid top 10 states in this regard.

While West Bengal has recorded highest year-on-year (2014-2015) growth rate of over 43 per cent in number of domestic tourist visits followed by Telangana (30.5 percent), Andhra Pradesh (30.3 percent), Madhya Pradesh (22.6 percent) and Gujarat (17.4 percent).

Perking up infrastructure, building tourism industry on core and naturally viable resources, better co-ordination amid various government agencies and departments, promoting concepts like tourism circuits through effective marketing plans, programmes and road shows are certain key suggestions to enhance potential of domestic tourism sector in India, suggested the ASSOCHAM study.

Source: ANI