The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH), has sharply raised the estimated industry’s losses for FY20 to ₹15 trillion owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the way virus is spreading in India, the supply chains have broken down in all its key inbound, outbound and domestic markets of tourism. With such concerns looming over the industry, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) observed World Tourism Day to strengthen its support towards the travel and tourism sector across the country.
Speaking on the occasion of World Tourism Day, Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India said, “The tourism industry directly and indirectly contributes to about 10% of India’s GDP, making it an important aspect of the economy. JICA India aims to revive India’s tourism sector through continuous efforts and by building a robust infrastructure for tourists. With its endeavor to drive tourism in India, in the COVID-19 hit era, JICA India is facilitating tourism projects and related infrastructure development projects in the country, by way of Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans and grant-aids. This tourism day we reiterate our commitment to drive and revive tourism in India.”
For development of tourism services and infrastructure, JICA has supported various projects in India including Varanasi International Cooperation and Convention Centre (VCC), Ajanta-Ellora Conservation and Tourism Development Project and water supply and sewerage projects in many famous tourist cities such as Agra, Varanasi, Jaipur and etc.
For the “Project for Construction of the International Cooperation and Convention Centre in Varanasi" JICA signed a Grant Agreement of 3,042 million JPY (approximately INR 210 crore as a total of grant in Aid under Phase 1 and Phase 2). The project aims to facilitate to create opportunities for social and cultural interactions between people by a variety of event at facility and promote events for strengthen international relations. Also it is expected to bring economic spill-over effects in local industries through tourism development.
Furthermore, JICA has joined hands with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), Ministry of Tourism (MOT), Government of India (GOI), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Airport Authority of India (AAI) for the Ajanta-Ellora Conservation and Tourism Development Project. Under the project, it was supported to conserve and preserve monuments and natural resources in the Ajanta - Ellora region as well as to improve infrastructure in order to accommodate the increasing number of tourists to the region and enhance their experience by providing improved facilities and services.
Along with tourism infrastructure, basic services like water, electricity and transportation are of utmost importance. Through Ganga Action Plan Project (Varanasi), it has assisted to improve water quality in River Ganga by augmenting sewerage treatment system capacity with construction and rehabilitation of the sewerage system. It has also supported to improve the hygienic condition of the city through rehabilitation of 7 Dhobi Ghats, Improvement of 26 Bathing Ghats along the river and construction of 154 public toilets around the city. Moreover, to improve basic services, JICA India extended ODA loans towards the Agra Water Supply Project, and Bisalpur Jaipur Water Supply Project. Through the projects in the three cities 6 million people are/to be benefited and JICA has extended a cumulative amount of 61,166 million JPY (approximately INR 4,200 crore) to these projects. These loan, amongst others, aims to improve basic infrastructure of world famous tourist cities in the country.
In order to revive the tourism sector, it’s imperative to engage domestic as well as international markets. Therefore, by developing infrastructure and tourism services in the country, JICA India aims to strengthen the industry’s foot-hold in the country as well as across the world.