The growth of the services sector moderated to 7.5% in 2018-19 from 8.1% in 2017-18, according to the Economic Survey tabled in the Parliament by Nirmala Sitharaman, union minister for finance and corporate affairs. The segments that saw deceleration are tourism, trade, hotels, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting, public administration and defence.
According to the survey, travel receipts have slowed somewhat during April-December 2018 after posting strong growth in 2017-18 (April-December), which is in line with the moderation in foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) during this period.
Despite the tourism sector being a major engine of economic growth that contributes significantly in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), foreign exchange earnings (FEEs) and employment, the sector witnessed a slowdown in 2018-19. “FTAs in 2018-19 stood at 10.6 million compared to 10.4 million in 2017-18. The growth rate of FTAs declined from 14.2% in 2017-18 to 2.1% in 2018-19. FEEs from tourism stood at USD 27.7 billion in 2018-19 as compared to USD 28.7 billion in 2017-18, witnessing a decline from 20.6% in 2017-18 to -3.3% in 2018-19,” the survey revealed.
India received 10.6 million foreign tourists in 2018-19 compared to 10.4 million in 2017-18. FEEs from tourism in India stood at USD 27.7 billion in 2018-19 compared to USD 28.7 billion in 2017-18. It said. Outbound tourism increased in recent years, with the number of departures of Indian nationals from India that stood at 23.94 million in 2017 as against 21.87 million in 2016, with a growth rate of 9.5% in 2017. This was more than double the FTAs in India.
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