Goa November 6, 2014: Backed by several new initiatives including easing of visa rules, aggressive marketing initiatives, development of niche tourism products and use of technology coupled with mobile readiness, India is targeting double-digit growth in tourist inflow by end of this financial year itself.
“International tourist inflow to India has been growing at about Six to Seven per cent annually. The foreign tourist arrival in India during 2013 was about Seven Million, with growth of 5.9 per cent as compared to the year 2012. This year till September 2014 there has been growth of 7.6 per cent in foreign tourist arrival” said India’s Union Minister of state for Culture and Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik at the ongoing World Travel Market (WTM), the leading global event of Travel and Tourism Trade in London, UK.
“Ministry of Tourism has taken several new initiatives including introducing Visa on arrival for several countries, simplification of procedures for classification /reclassification of hotels and restaurants, improving infrastructure development , identification and improving major tourist circuits, intensification of promotional and marketing strategies to further build brand “Incredible India” and translating of ministry’s promotional website www.incredibleindia.org in various languages including Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Korean, and Japanese languages to further position India as a leading tourist destination.” Minister Naik said.
“The government has been encouraged by the good response to the visa on arrival scheme and plans to extend Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to the 12 countries. Between January and September 2014, 19,290 visas on arrival were issued compared to 13,859 during the same time last year, reflecting an increase of 39.2%. The countries that already have visa on arrival scheme include Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Finland, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Luxembourg.”, the Minister said
“The UK is more than just an important market for India , this market remains our largest overseas source market. Tourists from United Kingdom (UK) accounted for 11.63 % of the global visitors to India Our UK trade partners must know that we are in this market to stay and that we will be working even harder and smarter to grow our market share.” The Minister added.
Apart from Ministry of Tourism about 47 exhibitors from India including states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, MP, Punjab, Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Goa, Assam, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, UP and Sikkim are showcasing their tourism products in the India Pavilion. Total of 172 Indian companies including ITDC, Indian Rail and IRCTC are participating in the WTM, tourism trade expo.
India is showcasing world’s oldest city Varanasi and the famous Great Stupa of Sanchi of Madhya Pradesh at WTM. The India Pavilion depicts Varanasi’s famous ‘Dev Deepawali’, the festival of billion lights also known as ‘Diwali of the gods’ celebrated on the Fifteen days after Diwali every year on the occasion of Kartik Poornima. The other theme is the famous Budha Monument Sanchi Stupa situated near Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh to woo Budhist tourists from various parts of the world.
Besides interacting with the trade and media, Minister Naik will participate in a Ministerial Summit that brings together Tourism Ministers and global industry leaders to explore international best practice. Free Mehndi (Hena Application) and Bangles and Puja are another highlight of India Pavilion.