India's tourism sector got a major boost in 2017 with the number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) crossing the 10 million mark. This leap in tourism even pushed the country's earnings to over 27 billion dollars.
India’s tourism sector got a major boost in 2017 with the number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) crossing the 10 million mark. This leap in tourism even pushed the country’s earnings to over 27 billion dollars. “I think our sector is doing very well. But am I happy with the numbers? I want these numbers to increase dramatically because India is an incredible place and we have everything for everybody. So we are trying to bring in a lot more people,” Union tourism minister KJ Alphons was quoted as saying by PTI. The minister also said that the sector is contributing 6.88 percent to India’s GDP and had a 12 percent share of jobs in 2017. Now, this has helped India to jump 25 places to 40th position on the Tourism Competitiveness Index, 2017. It was ranked 65 on the list in 2013. Ministry sources have said that steps are being taken under the Swadesh Darshan scheme for the holistic development of pilgrimage destinations, according to The Times of India. It also reported that the government is ‘Looking East’ in the tourism sector to promote India’s north-eastern states. The officials said that they also plan to invite foreign tourists to tee off from India’s manicured golf courses in an effort to boost sports tourism too.
In November, the tourism ministry statement reported that more than eight lakh foreign tourists visited India in October 2017, 18 per cent higher than the same period last year. The number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) in India in October last year was 8.76 lakh as compared to FTAs of 7.42 lakh in October 2016 and 6.83 lakh in October 2015
According to a PTI report, most tourists came from Bangladesh (21.66 per cent) followed by the US (11.57 per cent), the UK (10.23 per cent), Sri Lanka (3.79 per cent), Canada (3.36 per cent), Germany (3.17 per cent), Australia (3.07 per cent), France (2.81 per cent) and Russian Federation (2.81 per cent) among others. The ministry compiles monthly estimates of FTAs, including those with e-tourist visas, on the basis of their nationality. The estimates are based on data received from the Bureau of Immigration (BOI). October 2017 also saw a substantial rise in the number of tourists arriving on e-visas. During October 2017, 1.76 lakh foreign tourists arrived on e-tourist visas as compared to 1.05 lakh during October 2016, registering a growth of 67.3 per cent, the statement said. During January-October 2017, 12.43 lakh foreign tourists arrived on e-tourist visas against 7.81 lakh during January- October 2016, registering a growth of 59.2 per cent. Tourists from UK (18.2 per cent) availed the e-visa facility the most.