India’s tourist industry is flourishing, but its booming due to a shortage of skilled labour and a lack of quality tourism experiences.
In the next five years, the tourism industry in India will expand by nearly 50% to more than US$6 trillion, and it will be a game-changer in the country’s economy.
But for those who want to enjoy this boom, the country faces a serious challenge in the education sector.
“The government is not doing enough in terms of educating people.
It’s not providing the kind of infrastructure to train people, or the kind, as we are talking about, of a lot of the teachers,” said Rajendra Kukal, CEO of the Kerala-based tourism operators, the National Association of Tour Operators (NATO).NATO is an association of operators, managers and teachers in the state of Kerala, with offices in five cities in the South and East.
Kukal said education is the biggest area for improvement.
“We have an enormous amount of education in the Indian tourist industry, and we are only getting better at it,” he said.
But Kuklal also noted that India’s economy needs more workers.
“If we are going to grow the tourism sector, we have to create jobs,” he added.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 was US$3.8 trillion, with the number of people working in the industry estimated at about 1.4 billion.
But with a huge amount of work and low salaries, the sector is currently struggling.
The government has invested heavily in the sector, opening more than 200,000 hotel and tourism facilities, and investing more than 2.5 trillion rupees ($46 billion) in its tourism sector.
But the shortage of qualified and skilled people has created a huge opportunity for operators.
“With the economy booming, there are people who want a job,” said Kukali.
According the Tourism Promotion and Labour Department (TPRD), India has the highest number of trainees working in hospitality and tourism industries in the world.
In 2017, nearly 2,000 trainees were working in tourism, hospitality and catering industries, and in 2018, it was 2,094.
But this is not enough to ensure quality, according to Kukalkal.
Kakal said that the government has a major responsibility in this area.
“It needs to provide the infrastructure and the training for the people to be able to work in the tourism and hospitality industries,” he explained.
According TOI’s analysis of the Indian labor market, more than 40% of the workforce in tourism is currently employed by private companies.
Kurpreet Kumar, an expert on tourism and labor, told TOI that the shortage in trained workers could be the biggest obstacle to attracting the next generation of Indian tourism operators.
The country’s tourism sector will only grow by about a quarter of the current level of 1.2 billion visitors in the next 5 years.
Kukale said that India needs to hire people with training to work for tourism operators and other operators.
“It’s very difficult for operators to find qualified people, because they are trained in different jobs,” Kukaly said.
“The labour shortage is also a major factor in the current situation.”
He added that it was imperative that the Indian government put more focus on education in education.
“Education is one of the keys to the tourism boom, but if we are not prepared for that, we can’t expect to attract a lot more tourists,” he warned.