Indian film tourism industry can potentially generate $3 bn rev by 2022: EY

MUMBAI: The Indian film tourism industry has the potential to attract a million film tourists to visit India by 2022 which could result in revenues of up to $3 billion.

This is the key finding of the EY and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s report ‘Building brand India through film tourism’ which was launched recently at the third edition of the Global Film Tourism Conclave.

The report suggested avenues for collaboration and policy initiatives that the industry can undertake towards making films an effective investment medium to enable destination tourism in India.

It also noted that inadequate basic infrastructure such as roads, inland water transport, and air connectivity acts as the biggest hindrance to the Indian film tourism industry. There is an urgent need for investment in infrastructure linking roads, railways, and airports, to curtail such hindrances and provide basic infrastructure support to film tourism.

The Indian film industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country today and has grown from Rs 12,200 crore in 2016 to Rs 15,600 crore in 2017, representing a growth rate of 28%. It is also one of the largest producers of cinematographic films in the world and the projected size of the industry is estimated to reach Rs 20,400 crore by 2019.

Film tourism offers several direct benefits including revenue and employment generation, technology transfer in production, etc. The induced benefits of tourism include awareness and the creation and shaping of attractions.

To transform a film location to tourism destinations, the report suggests the following:

Simplifying the administrative process

State Governments must consider setting up of online portals for single window clearance facility towards all filming permissions. A state-level portal providing details such as permits, available production resources, etc. will ease the process of production finalisation for film-makers. Some Indian States namely Goa, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh already have a single window clearance system, others could follow suit.

Incentivising film productions in locations

The State Governments could offer different types of incentives to boost the production sector in the form of cash grants, tax credits, tax holiday or breaks, equity investments in film projects, increase in the number of cinema halls, to name a few. Incentive programs provide direct and indirect economic and fiscal benefits that extend beyond production activities that qualify for the credit. These benefits include increased employment opportunities, growth in direct and indirect taxes, increased tourism, development of content production industry infrastructure such as studios and service providers, among others.

Promote filming destinations

State Governments could undertake soft measures for promoting filming destinations.

Some such measures include the setting up of film based theme parks, organizing film festivals periodically, hosting award shows, film seminars, and film societies, boosting the safety and security by establishing helplines, and compulsory registration of tourist guides operators, etc.

EY India Partner- Indirect Taxation Utkarsh Sanghvi said, “Cinema should be a priority sector for policy making as film tourism offers several direct and induced benefits. For simplifying, incentivising, and promoting film production in India, it would be pertinent to set up film commissions or such similar quasi-governmental, non-profit, public independent bodies both at the central and state levels to serve as the focal point for film producers wanting to shoot in the country and/or state.”