Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been very vocal about improving India’s tourism potential and his government has also taken several steps in this regard. It seems PM Modi’s tourism push is paying off if the latest UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) rankings are to be believed.
According to a Ministry of Tourism release, the rank of India in International Tourist Arrivals in both 2014 and 2015 in the latest UNWTO’s World Tourism Barometer (for March 2017) is 24 as against the previous ranks of 41 and 40 in the year 2014 and 2015 respectively.
As per UNWTO, the International Tourist Arrivals (ITAs) comprises of two components — Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and Arrivals of Non-Resident Nationals. In its World Tourism Barometer, UNWTO ranks countries in terms of their ITAs.
So far, only the figures of FTAs were compiled in India. But now, the country has also started compiling the data of arrivals of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), says the release, adding, “Due to this inclusion, India’s improved rank reflecting the true and comparable scenario has now been acknowledged by the UNWTO.” With this inclusion, the share of India in the ITAs has also increased from 0.68% (based on FTAs) to 1.12% in the year 2015.
According to the ministry, the number of NRI arrivals during 2014 and 2015 were 5.43 million and 5.26 million respectively. The numbers of ITAs arrival in the country during 2014 and 2015 were 13.11 million and 13.28 million respectively.
While addressing a conference of Tourism, Culture and Sports ministries on January 20 this year, PM Modi had said, “As far as tourism is concerned, India is blessed with so much potential and this can draw the world to India.”
As far as tourism is concerned, India is blessed with so much potential and this can draw the world to India: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) January 20, 2017
Earlier this month, India’s rank in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), 2017 had jumped 12 places from 2015. India stood at the 40th position as compared to 52nd in 2015, 65th in 2013 and 68th in 2011. In a series of Tweets, PM Modi had then said, “Last 4 years have seen a total jump of 25 places in the world travel and tourism index. Reflects the importance Govt. is giving to tourism…Great news for tourism sector. @wef Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report ranks India at 40th (from 65 in 2013) on Travel & Tourism Index.”
The UNWTO gives ranking in terms of numbers of ITAs, TTCI is composed of 14 pillars organised into four sub-indices of ‘Enabling Environment’, ‘Travel & Trade Policy and Enabling Conditions’, ‘Infrastructure’ and ‘Natural and Cultural Resources.