China’s tourism is much ahead of India. Here’s why

2016 was much of euphoria for tourism industry. The tourism ministry got 70 % hike in the budget with an allocation of Rs 1,590 crore, to focus on infrastructure development and promotion and publicity initiatives. But in a knee jerk reaction to Modi's demonetization move in November last year, the industry has been left with no choice but to make losses.

In the last few years, the tourism in India has witnessed a major boom. In comparison to inbound travel, India has seen a major growth in the outbound sector, thanks to the disposable income of the millenials.

Here are a few reasons, why India’s tourism hasn’t achieved much in comparison to China.

While domestic travellers have quadrupled, Indian tourism didn’t see much development in its infrastructure. While roads may have become better, and a lot of online travel portals have born, what went missing is a massive blue print of infrastructure to take India’s tourism to a new high. In India there has hardly been any addition to new hotels.


Compare this to China and you would be surprised to find Beijing has as many star-category hotel rooms as all of India. India till 2015 has just a little over 100,000 star rated hotel rooms, compared to Beijing’s 130,000 alone.

Also lack of supply of hotel rooms has aggravated the demand thereby making the travel in India far expensive in India. The rooms that cost $400 a night in Delhi or Mumbai would cost hardly $100 dollars in most part of China.

China’s tourism is much ahead of India. Here’s why

Market size
Another primary reason for China’s growth in tourism market is its size. China is far larger than our country, packed with tonnes of tourist attractions. Also many foreign visitors coming to India prefer cultural and natural destinations and tend to stay away from the cities. However in China, cities are also major draws.

Tax disparity in independent travel purchase is a major flaw in Indian travel ecosystem. There are just too many taxes, which makes travel expensive.

The quality of transportation infrastructure in China is light-years ahead of India, there's simply no comparison, according to a Quora post. It is far easier and more comfortable for tourists to get around China than it is for them to get around India. China's air, rail, and road networks are all faster, safer, and more modern than India's.

China’s tourism is much ahead of India. Here’s why

Safety and security
India has witnessed countless instances of pickpockets, burglary, sexual assaults and scams against foreign tourists. There are tourist traps as well that make the country unsafe for travellers.
Visits to India by female tourists dropped 35 percent in 2015 compared with the same period a year ago, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.

There is very little for travellers to worry about in China. Violent crime and rape are almost unheard of. You can walk down dark city streets at night in China and have nothing to worry about.

Here are the suggestions of industry experts to make tourism in India at par with China:

Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C),, an online travel agency and a travel search engine:

“The Indian tourism industry is growing at a rapid pace, fuelled by a growing domestic middle class with increasing disposable incomes. In addition, the inbound market is growing at a steady pace as well. However, in comparison to other comparable countries, India still has a long way to go in terms of fulfilling its potential as a tourism destination.

The Government has rightly identified Tourism as a pillar of growth in the economy and with improved road infrastructure, regional air connectivity and better budget accommodation, we expect that we will unlock this sector and improve our share of the global tourism market. The Chinese tourism industry & OTAs have benefited from country’s economic development and we believe that India’s tourism sector and online travel market is poised for continued growth and value creation as the economy grows, following the well-established path seen in the US and China.”

Amitabh Misra, Founder of, an online travel marketplace for leisure travel:

If we compare the global travel scenario, almost 30-40% population in US and Europe go for leisure travel every year, where as in China the number is around 8% and in India it’s still less than 1% of the total population, making it a market with huge growth potential.

Having said that one of the major concern is increase in tax disparity in independent travel purchase viz-a-viz holiday packages; for example, the consumer has to pay the tax on flight tickets, now if its combined with a holiday package, they will also have to pay tax on the overall package as well, thus travel is getting costlier for the consumer. We are expecting the 2017 budget to adopt a lenient tax structure which further promote the tourism industry. With government working towards improving country’s infrastructure and enabling tech support at various section will also lead to faster growth of inbound tourism.

Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, OYO Rooms :
Infrastructure development is a pre-requisite to provide the much-needed impetus for the industry’s growth. Additional incentives should be provided for infrastructure investments in the travel and tourism sector to accelerate growth. A lower tax rate for hospitality business and the lower rate of interest for real-estate development will ensure opening up of more supply for the nascent branded budget hospitality sector. This will be in line with supporting small owner-friendly policies, such as the exemption of service tax in the sub-Rs. 1000 hotel room category.”