The hospitality and tourism sectors in India are anticipated to generate a substantial 58.2 million jobs by 2033, according to insights shared during the sixth HAI 2024 Conclave. Industry leader said that it was important to have government support in granting industry and infrastructure status to harness the full employment potential. The Hotels’ Association of India (HAI) projected the creation of 5 million direct and indirect jobs in the next 5-7 years, emphasising the need for governmental backing for comprehensive industry and infrastructure status at the state level.

HAI President Puneet Chhatwal, who is also the Managing Director/CEO of Indian Hotels Company Ltd, stressed that granting infrastructure status to the hospitality sector could attract investments not only for accommodation but also for substantial income and employment generation.

He pointed out the existing gap between recognising tourism as a crucial development pillar, contributing 10 per cent to employment and 8 per cent to GDP and the actual implementation of policies. He noted, in a press conference, “there is often a gap between this realisation and the actual policy implementation.”

Business dynamics

HAI Vice-President K B Kachru highlighted a notable 271 per cent increase in hirings over the last two years, indicating a shift in business dynamics. In response, he urged a heightened focus on tourism development at various levels, stating, “Now we need to focus a lot on developing tourism, not only at higher levels but also at entry levels.” Kachru, also the Chairman Emeritus and Principal Advisor South Asia of Radisson Hotel Group, conveyed the industry’s commitment to creating over 50 million jobs in the next 5-7 years.

Substantial growth

Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 Sherpa, urged the tourism sector to communicate its potential to politicians, suggesting that highlighting the goal of creating 25 million jobs by 2030 could have a significant impact. Kant remarked, “I think somehow the tourism industry has failed to tell the politician that we are a big creator of jobs.” He emphasised the global scale of the tourism economy, valued at $5 trillion, with India’s share being less than 2 per cent, underscoring the need for substantial growth.

Chhatwal acknowledged the government’s efforts in infrastructure development and suggested that granting full infrastructure status would further propel the sector’s success. He said, “We have that status, but there are a lot of limitations that were put into it 12 years ago.” Emphasising the importance of states following through on their commitments, Kachru stated, “While 11 states have done it, there has been a gap in execution.”