India gained independence in 1947, and the hotel industry had a period in which no hotel development took place. Upon his return from the Non-Aligned Movement Conference in 1956, Late Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, then Prime Minister of India, recognized that tourism could be an engine for the country’s economic growth and was inspired to build quality hotels in India for visiting foreign dignitaries. This led to the first-ever government investment in the hotel industry with the building of the Ashoka in New Delhi. The India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) was set up in 1966 as a corporation under the Indian Companies Act of 1956, with the merger of Janpath Hotel India Ltd. and India Tourism Transport Undertaking Ltd. Today, ITDC provides a complete range of tourism services, including accommodation, catering, and entertainment and shopping, hotel consultancy, duty-free shops, and an in-house travel agency.
The government gave the tourism industry another boost when it created the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation in 1967, separating it from the Ministry of Transport and Shipping, thereby recognizing that tourism was not simply about transporting people from point A to point B but had a much wider role to play in the nation’s economy.