Seldom it happens that a country that boasts of 9000 years of civilization, a heady mix of sand, sun, sea, mountains, culture and heritage lags behind other nations in attracting admirers from all over the world.

India has been a mixed bag on that front! While it boasts of incredible natural and cultural heritage, it has had its share of problems in the form of safety, hygiene, not-so-good infrastructure to evince the interest of tourists. However, now things seem to be changing!

WTTC Power-and-Performance report

WTTC Power-and-Performance report

WTTC Power and Performance Rankings

Assuming that you are aware of WTTC, I shall move ahead with it’s recently released Power and Performance rankings.

India becomes a Tourism Powerhouse

WTTC Powerhouse Top 10: India becomes a Tourism Powerhouse

WTTC’s uses annual economic impact data of 185 countries over the last seven-year period (2011-2017) and puts in place 4 indicators:

  1. The contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP
  2. International visitor spend
  3. Domestic tourism spend
  4. Capital investment in tourism.

These indicators allow for a more rounded measure of performance and prioritization than the more usual measures of GDP contribution and international spend.  These rankings have put China, USA, and India as the top 3 economies that have grown most in the absolute terms and grown in the fastest terms with respect to Tourism. 

What do these rankings imply for India?

The rankings by global tourism thinktanks like WTTC, UNWTO etc monitor the progress made by countries on various parameters in order to make this place more tourism and cultural exchange friendly!

In the context of the WTTC Power and Performance rankings report, India can take pride in breaking into the top 3 and surging ahead of traditional Tourism powerhouses like Spain. Since this report takes into account 2011-2017 during which India saw the highly unfortunate Nirbhaya gang rape, whose ripples were felt all over the world. One of the most important and adversarial implication was that many countries issued advisories to their citizens against visiting India which meant that India’s visitor exports took a beating. However, even after such a big obstacle and a negative brand image build up, India has managed to make its way into the Top 3 rankings as a Tourism Powerhouse.

Based on their criteria for assigning ranks, this report also implies that India’s tourism sector has been contributing to the national GDP in a big way through revenue and employment generation. The following graphs would reveal India’s story:

India's Travel & Tourism total contribution to GDP 2017-2028

India’s Travel & Tourism total contribution to GDP 2017-2028


This graph shows that India’s Travel and Tourism sector has been increasing its contribution to national GDP at a slow and steady pace.







India's Travel & Tourism total contribution to employment 2017-2028. Source: WTTC

India’s Travel & Tourism total contribution to employment 2017-2028.
Source: WTTC


This graph shows that India’s Travel and Tourism sector has been increasing its contribution to Employment generation in India through direct and indirect employment at a slow and steady pace.




Comparison of India’s Travel and Tourism stats at the global level

As the following graphs would show, India has been ranking above World Average and South Asia average on various Travel and Tourism parameters.

India's absolute Travel & Tourism contribution to national GDP at global level

India’s absolute Travel & Tourism contribution to national GDP at global level

Read our previous blog: A memorable trip to Surajkund Mela from the eyes of Maureen and Maggie!


India's Travel & Tourism total contribution to employment at global level

India’s Travel & Tourism total contribution to employment at global level

Read our previous blog: Accessible Tourism


India Travel & Tourism investment and visitor exports at a global level

India Travel & Tourism investment and visitor exports at a global level


Backed with the above points, it can be inferred that India has been doing a fairly good job in times of bullish global scenario. However, there are points of concern, while we work out a strategy to increase the foreigner rates, we have to pay heed to increase our infrastructure and increase online penetration. While the world sees an average contribution of 10% to the World GDP from Tourism and 10% contribution to global employment from Tourism, India sees a bit less.

According to the 12th Five Year Plan Working group report, tourism is the highest employment generator in India. With an investment of 1 million rupees, Agriculture generates 18 jobs, manufacturing sector generates 32 jobs while Tourism sector generates 78 jobs- the maximum for any sector.

[Read our book on Indian BnBs: Click here]

According to the current trend in the Hospitality industry, the millennials and other travelers are looking for more experiential and culturally immersive accommodations while on a tour. This has led to an increase in demand for Homestays/Bed and Breakfast accommodations in cities and suburban areas.

UK based Maggie and Maureen had a lovely time in a BnB

UK based Maggie and Maureen had a lovely time in a BnB

Homestays/BnBs/Bed and Breakfast accommodations are the best bet at increasing self-employment opportunities with the least amount of natural resources as each home-owner has the chance to start a venture of his/her own and serve the client well through a couple of attendants and a well-cooked breakfast! This is the apt opportunity for Government of India to take cognizance of India’s tourism sector and take appropriate steps to propel it further!

Ambuj Saxena

Ambuj Saxena is passionate about all things digital! He likes to travel and explore new culture and places. He likes writing blogs and likes chasing people to make them read the blogs too! Of late, he has been concentrating on providing a social media strategy for a few travel and hospitality companies. His co-authored book, 'Indian BnBs: An emerging disruptor in the Hospitality sector' has received enormous response and has been adopted as a course book in Tourism and Hospitality courses in prominent universities of India such as Jammu University, Jamia Millia Islamia university and Ambedkar university. A 2013 Brand Management graduate from Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA), he has successfully executed various online and offline marketing campaigns for companies operating in Automobile, Fashion and Lifestyle, Travel and Tourism sectors as well as Government departments. He has provided consultancy to Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) Bus services in Delhi and helped increase its ridership. He participated twice in HULT Competition, an International Annual Case study contest, in Dubai to solve an issue plaguing the society through social entrepreneurship. Earlier, as a Computer Engineer graduate, he had spent valuable time working in TCS to hone his technical skills. He has co-founded BnBNation as he believes that Tourism and Hospitality is as much online as it is offline, and he can add value to both.


Alexander Popkov · January 18, 2019 at 5:53 pm

It is good to know that tourism is getting better and you are in the center of it. You have done a great job promoting BnB and for sure you will get more clients.

    Ambuj Saxena · February 21, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Thank you for your kind words Alexander! I love reading your blogs too!

Candy · February 20, 2019 at 4:37 pm

It is great to see India moving up the ranks in the travel industry. I have seen many posts regarding India in the past few years, so it’s always in the back of my mind to visit someday. The only thing I worry about is if my tummy will sit well with the food. I love Indian food but have read a handful of experiences where the food is great but their stomach wasn’t accustomed to it. Hoping a way around this cuz I would love to visit!!!

    Ambuj Saxena · February 21, 2019 at 8:19 am

    I can totally understand your point of view regarding the Indian spicy food. There are loads of ways to move around that problem. I think you should plan a trip to India and i will help you have good meals with the least amount of stomach problems!

Federica · February 20, 2019 at 9:51 pm

I am not familiar with this parameter. What I think is missing here is a proportion between population and real impact.

    Ambuj Saxena · February 21, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Good point! Population of the destination and the prosperity of the people are other important parameters that need to be counted!

Nicole Hunter · February 21, 2019 at 12:01 am

This is a very interesting article. For me, travel and tourism are emotional. Where I go, what I do, how much I spend, where I think it would be best to go with kids, and so on. It would be hard for me to quantify these emotional decisions. So, for there to be a review of tourism from an economic and objective perspective like this, I’m not sure what to do with that! I am glad that more people are becoming more adventurous and travelling to countries that are often seen as challenging and scary. I am also glad that countries, such as India, are trying to improve their tourism infrastructure so that more people feel comfortable going. For me, who wants to see as much as the world as possible, that is only a good thing.

    Ambuj Saxena · February 21, 2019 at 8:17 am

    I am glad you are open to new things and newer experiences. India has been a hub of tourism for centuries. It has welcomed travelers and chroniclers from around the world, notably Marco Polo from Italy (13th cent), Ibn-e-batuta from Morocco (14th Cent), Nicolo Conti from Italy (15th cent) etc.
    I fully agree with you that economic parameters are incomplete to judge the tourist appeal of a place however only economic factors can be measured objectively! However, to fill the gap, writers like you and I join hands to spread awareness right? I am glad you read my blog.

Elizabeth · February 21, 2019 at 12:53 am

It is strange that India lags behind other countries in tourism because it has such a rich cultural history. I agree that millennials and other travelers are now looking for more experimental travel opportunities.

    Ambuj Saxena · February 21, 2019 at 8:06 am

    I am glad that you agree with the changing behavior of online travelers. As a BnB owner once told me “It’s a struggle to be where the travelers are!”

theaveragetourist · February 21, 2019 at 2:17 am

I know that I love Indian food (or at least what I’ve had in Canada that claims to be Indian food!!), and the colourful photos and traditions have always made India stand out to me. I hope to be one of the upcoming travellers to this country to experience it first hand.

    Ambuj Saxena · February 21, 2019 at 8:05 am

    I am glad that you have touched base with the Indian culture in some form. I am sure if and when you plan a trip to India, it will be an unforgettable experience for you! I would love to see you taking back memories of an Indian family culture.

Claire · February 21, 2019 at 10:35 am

India is definitely on my bucket-list, so I am glad to see I’m not alone! I think some of the bad press that India received put people off a bit, but the more I learn about the culture, colours and people of India the less concerned I am, and I am excited to go and see for myself the wonders of India!

    Ambuj Saxena · February 21, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Glad to sense the sense of positivity in your comment! India has believed in “Vasudev Kutumbkam” which “All world is one family”. In India, I would love to show you around the places of interest and have good food and freshen you up for the journey called life.

Travel Optician · February 21, 2019 at 1:14 pm

I adore Indian food and I would love to visit India one day for sure, I think food is even more delicious on the right place, not around the world 🙂

    Ambuj Saxena · February 21, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    I totally agree with you and very well said!

Adrenaline Romance · February 21, 2019 at 5:12 pm

Truly impressive numbers! India is on our list of must-go countries this year. We’ll tour SEA countries first, then head off to Delhi. 🙂 Part of our long-term adventure plan is to hike the lower Himalayas, which borders India.

Corinne · March 13, 2020 at 7:27 am

India is such a beautiful country with beautiful people and a rich culture. I’m not surprised people from all over the world want to visit.

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