Tourism sector reports many firsts in 2018

Thought the “Incredible India 2.0” campaign, the Government is promoting the nation’s ancient heritage as well as modern strengths to pitch India as a “must revisit, must experience” destination

December 26, 2018

The 1st edition of the India Tourism Mart was held by the Ministry of Tourism and the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH), along with regional governments

In 2018 the Ministry of Tourism launched the new ‘Incredible India’ website and mobile app as part of the Government’s “Tourism & Digital Transformation” aimed at economic growth

Over the year, 10 preliminary agreements were signed under the government’s Adopt a Heritage project that has brought in external expertise and funding in up-keeping of heritage sites

Indian Culinary Institute campuses inaugurated in Noida and Tirupati in line with the objective of creating skilled manpower in the field of hospitality to cater to the rising global demand

India is among the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world and the Central Government is keen to promote the nation as a “must revisit, must experience” spot. Tourism is a major engine of economic growth and an important source of foreign exchange earnings. It also has a great capacity to create large scale employment of diverse kind, besides aiding infrastructure growth. Herein, the Ministry of Tourism is tasked with augmenting tourism infrastructure, easing of visa regime, assurance of quality standards in services of tourism service providers, among other services. The tourism department is looking to reach the ambitious goal of US$100 billion worth of annual foreign tourist receipts within five years.

To reach this target, the Government has invested in strengthening digital  connectivity while improving state services to boost foreign tourist arrivals. The proactive measures have helped India climb 12 places to 40th position in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitive Index released in April 2017. The spike in activities in India’s tourism sector is expected to contribute nearly US$500 billion to the national GDP by 2027, compared with around US$230 billion in 2017. India’s vast and diverse cultural and climatic riches have attracted interests of travellers from world over. The interest has been further boosted with India’s increasing engagement in economic as well as research and development activities.

Tourism Statistics

  • Foreign Tourist Arrival (FTA) during the January-November 2018 was reported at 9.4 million as compared with 8.9 million a year earlier – a growth of 5.6 per cent
  • During January-November 2018, a total of 2.1 million tourists arrived on e-Tourist visa as compared with 1.5 million a year earlier – a growth of 41.5 per cent
  • Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) during the January-October 2018 were US$22.7 billion as compared with US$19.8 billion a year earlier – a growth of 11.9%
  • During 2017, the number of domestic tourist visits to the 29 states and 7 UTs was reported at 1.7 billion as compared with 1.6 billion in 2016 – a growth of 2.3 per cent

Development of tourism infrastructure

  • Theme based circuits are being developed under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme spanning the entire country. A total of seven projects have been sanctioned during 2018-19 for a total amount of US$53.9 million
  • Nine projects under the Swadesh Darshan have been inaugurated between August to December 2018 in the States of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh
  • Facilities such as Tourist Centers, Eco Log Huts, Sound and Light Show, Helipads, Cafeteria, Nature Trails, Adventure Zones, Water Sports, Craft Villages, Tribal Thematic Villages, Illumination have been developed
  • Integrated development of identified pilgrimage sites is undertaken under ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) scheme to boost spiritual tourism

‘Adopt a Heritage’ project

Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) launched “Adopt a Heritage Project” to provide world class tourist facilities at various natural and cultural heritage sites, monuments and other tourist sites. The project plans to entrust sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for development of various tourist amenities. Agreements have been signed for developing tourist amenities at the following sites:

  • Area surrounding Gangotri Temple & Trail to Gaumukh, Uttarakhand
  • Mt. Stok Kangri Trek, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
  • Red Fort, New Delhi
  • Gandikota Fort, Andhra Pradesh
  • Surajkund, Haryana
  • Jantar Mantar, Delhi
  • Qutub Minar, Delhi
  • Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
  • Leh Palace, Jammu & Kashmir
  • Hampi (Hazara Rama Temple), Karnataka

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism has identified 17 Sites in 12 Clusters for Development as Iconic Tourist Sites. The names of the sites identified for development as Iconic Tourist Sites are – Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri. Ajanta, Ellora, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Colva Beach, Amer Fort, Somnath, Dholavira, Khajuraho, Hampi, Mahablipuram, Kaziranga, Kumarakom and Mahabodhi Temple. Master Plans are at the final stages of preparation.