SECTOR HIGHLIGHTS: TOURISM
1Introduction
  • India was awarded “Best Exhibitor” award for Australia and Oceania category at the World’s Tourism exhibition at "Internationale Tourismus Borse" (ITB) 2018 in Messe, Berlin, Germany.
  • India also performed well in the latest edition of WEF’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017, moving up by 12 positions since 2015. The parameters it performed well in are: Cultural Resources and Business Travel (9th), Natural Resources (24th), and Price Competitiveness (10th).
2FOREIGN TOURIST ARRIVALS (FTAs)
The tourism sector in India is registering continuous growth which is significantly higher than the world average. Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during 2017 were 10.18 Mn with a growth of 15.6% over same period of the previous year. During 2016, FTAs were 8.8 Mn with a growth rate of 9.7% over 2015. Global growth of foreign tourists is about 5%.
3e-VISA
e-Visa continues to be a game changer for tourism sector. It is now available for nationals of 163 countries and allows visits for business and medical treatment. The process of obtaining the e-Tourist Visa has been simplified significantly by addressing issues like more than one entry and longer lead period for applying for e-Visa. During 2017, 1.7 Mn foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1.1 Mn during 2016 – registering a growth of 57%.
4GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES
  • At a macro level, the primary reasons for India’s jump in the international tourist arrivals category should be attributed to the pro-active steps taken by the Government of India in terms of development of tourism infrastructure, easing of entry formalities for tourists by introducing the e-visa facilities etc.
  • Integrated Development of Tourist Circuits around Specific Themes – Swadesh Darshan
    • Development of theme based tourist circuits on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner to enrich tourist experience and enhance employment opportunities.
    • Under the scheme, fifteen thematic circuits have been identified for development.
    • 74 projects worth over USD 900 Mn have been sanctioned by the Tourism Ministry under Swadesh Darshan Scheme (till September 2018). 30 projects/major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year.
  • National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD)
    • The scheme aims to develop basic infrastructure to support tourism and improve convenience. It covers aspects such as destination entry points like passenger terminals, basic conveniences like tourism Information/Interpretation Centers with ATM/ Money exchange counters, improvement of last mile connectivity, renewable sources of energy for tourist infrastructure, parking facilities, toilets, waiting rooms, Wi-Fi hotspots, among others.
    • Under PRASHAD scheme, 26 religious cities/sites in 19 States have been identified for development.
    • 23 projects worth over USD 100 Mn have been sanctioned by the Tourism Ministry under the PRASHAD scheme (March 2018).
As on September 2018