India rolls out red carpet

KJ Alphons, Minister of State (I/C), Tourism, believes that India has something on offer for every kind of traveller. The country now aims to double its arrival figures to 20 million in the next three years with myriad initiatives.

Nisha Verma

KJ Alphons Minister of State (Independent Charge), Tourism, informs that India has seen unprecedented growth in arrivals in the last few years. “We recorded 7 per cent increase in tourist arrivals in 2016, which increased to 14 per cent in 2017. The tourism receipts went up by 19.2 per cent, which means the earnings of 27.2 billion dollars last year, contributing 7 per cent to the GDP of the country and 12.76 per cent to employment. One of the biggest achievements for our ministry is the creation of 14.67 per cent jobs in the last four years,” he said.

He claimed that with 36 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 7500 km of coastline, 43 fortresses and some of the biggest luxury hotels—India offers something for every kind of traveller. Coming to India is a transformational experience, he affirms. “Today, it’s very easy to visit India with a simplified e-visa regime that allows tourists to obtain a visa within 24 hours or a maximum period of 36 hours. This facility is extended to 164 countries and makes the easiest country to visit for anyone. In the next three years, we want to double the tourist arrivals and reach the 20 million mark in arrivals. The aim is to attain the receipts to 15 billion dollars and then take this further to 100 billion dollars in the next five years,” he said.

MOT recently organised a 12-day long Paryatan Parv, which coincided with the maiden India Tourism Mart (ITM). For ITM, MOT partnered with the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) that witnessed a huge participation of foreign buyers and Indian exhibitors. “Today, India is the fastest growing tourism economy. Since Paryatan Parv was held alongside the first India Tourism Mart, it gave us an opportunity to the foreign buyers to get a taste of India,” Alphons shared.

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