Steady rise in foreign tourist arrivals over 2017-19

As per a Ministry of Tourism report on March 2, foreign tourist arrivals during 2017, 2018 and 2019 were reported at 10 million, 10.6 million and 10.9 million (provisional), respectively

March 2, 2020

In 2018, India moved up six places to rank 34th on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index which ranked 140 countries

The spike in activities in the tourism sector is expected to contribute nearly US$500 billion to the national GDP by 2027, compared with US$230 billion in 2017

A total of 105 new projects worth over US$960 million have been sanctioned under the Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD Schemes to attract more tourists

The rise in foreign tourist arrival has been driven by India’s improving stand across the fields of tourism, healthcare, education, trade, and investment

Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) into India have steadily increased over the last three years on the back of the nation’s strengthening political, trade and cultural ties. As per a Ministry of Tourism report on March 2, foreign tourist arrivals during 2017, 2018 and 2019 were reported at 10 million, 10.6 million and 10.9 million (provisional), respectively. The rise has been driven by India’s improving stand across the fields of tourism, healthcare, education, trade, and investment. Last year, India had moved up six places to rank 34th on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index which ranked 140 countries on their relative strengths in global tourism and travel. This progression, aided by the Indian Government’s initiatives to boost tourism, has enhanced India’s image as a global tourism destination. 

India has been making a concerted effort to attract more foreign visitors to the country. One such recent measure was a reduction in the e-visa fee, while also offering the option of short-term and long-term tourist e-visas. Additionally, there has been a push towards adventure tourism, spiritual tourism, wildlife and nature tourism, heritage tourism, among others to make India an attractive holiday destination. A total of 105 projects worth over US$960 million have been sanctioned under the Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD Schemes to attract more tourists. Meanwhile, 17 Sites in 12 Clusters have been identified for development as iconic tourist sites. The spike in activities in the tourism sector is expected to contribute nearly US$500 billion to the national GDP by 2027, compared with around US$230 billion in 2017. 

The Ministry of Tourism has taken various steps to attract foreign tourist in the country, these include:

  • Extended E-visa facility to citizens of several countries has eased the movement of visitors
  • The Incredible India 2.0 campaign launched with market-specific promotional initiatives
  • 24×7 Toll-Free Helpline 1800111363 launched in 10 foreign languages, Hindi and English
  • Organization of biennial International Buddhist Conclave to build goodwill and opportunities
  • Annual International Tourism Mart for promotion of tourism in India’s Northeastern States
  • International activities to boost tourism in India through the India Tourism Offices abroad

While destination-wise tourist visits are not maintained by the Government of India, details of top 10 States in terms of foreign tourist Visits arrivals during 2018 are given below:

Sr. no.StateFTV during 2018 (Revised)
1Tamil Nadu6074345
2Maharashtra*5078514
3Uttar Pradesh3780752
4Delhi *2740502
5Rajasthan1754348
6West Bengal1617105
7Punjab1200969
8Kerala1096407
9Bihar1087971
10Goa933841