Travel and tourism is a booming industry in India. The country’s GDP benefitted from both, foreign tourism as well as a rise in foreign exchange. The sector’s total contribution to GDP in 2018 was around 247 billion U.S. dollars. Over the years, tourism also saw an increase in budget allocation from the union government and over 13 million jobs were created in just four years. The sector also contributed to infrastructure development as more hotels and recreational centers came up in old and new tourist destinations across the country.
Additionally, the country also saw a rise in the number of travel agencies offering professional services and affordable destination packages. Naturally this eased the hassle of travel for foreign tourists and led to an exponential growth in the number of travelers every year. And even though historically popular places like the Taj Mahal remained the most visited monument in 2018, lesser-known destinations in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh also emerged as the new tourist hotspots. However, even with the constant revenue flow from international tourism, the growth in the sector was mainly driven by domestic tourists. New destinations are being popularized among different age groups for leisure travel, adding to the sector's growth.
2019 also saw a boom in the hotel industry. With an occupancy rate of about 67 percent in the country, the hotels sector was one of the largest service industries in the country. The highest share of foreign guests came from the United Kingdom. Notably, foreign tourists mostly preferred hotel chains over independent hotels. In fact, the share of heritage properties promising a royal experience for their guests with luxury rooms and modern amenities is expected to grow to 23 percent by 2020.