World Economic Forum recommends national tourism board for India

The World Economic Forum’s white paper on India’s tourism industry outlines the country’s $20 billion tourism opportunity that lies untapped. One of its recommendations is the formation of a tourism board. According to the White Paper titled ‘Incredible India 2.0 India’s $20 Billion Tourism Opportunity,’ a proposal to create a tourism board is put forward. It says, ‘India has more than 50 active foreign tourism boards, yet the country does not have its own tourism board. While it has a number of industry associations and state-level bodies, no public-private organisation represents the industry, and these bodies work independently to drive forward their own agenda. The industry is fragmented and hindered by poor coordination between the state and central government as well as within the central government itself. No single ministry is responsible for all the policies affecting the aviation, travel and tourism industry. The Ministries of Civil Aviation, Tourism, Home Affairs, Culture, and Road Transport and Highways, among others, have all been actively involved in the industry’s policies.’

The paper released in September this year goes on to add that this gap must be filled by bringing the public and private sectors together under an empowered and proactive body. ‘To fuel its success, the board would consider the structure, objectives and best practices implemented in other countries, keeping in mind India’s strengths and limitations.’ Speaking on the scope of implementation that this White Paper has, Tiffany Misrahi, Community Lead, Aviation, Travel & Tourism Industries, World Economic Forum, says, “The Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju, as well as Minister of State Jayant Sinha, along with the Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant, have been actively involved in the creation of the Incredible India 2.0 report. On the basis of the report, we hope to have discussions with a wider range of stakeholders to consider how to best support India in achieving its goals of becoming the largest aviation market by 2030 and welcome over 15 million tourists by 2025.”

Global management consulting firm Bain & Company that undertook the research did a seven-economy analysis, investigating the governance and organisation of tourism boards, their roles and activities, as well as outcomes. Their research found that most tourism boards include a mix of public- and private-sector representatives, though they are predominantly funded by the government.