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Indian Tourism Soaring Higher to New Heights of Growth and Excellence
 

Tourism is today recognized as one of the key segments of the Economy.

The Foreign Tourist Arrivals during the first Six months of 2017 were 48.85 lakh with a growth of 17.2 % as compared to FTA’s of 2016 for the corresponding period (it was 41.69 lakh in 2016).

Among the top ten countries, the percentage of share in respect of tourist arrivals during first six months include USA (17.7%), UK (10.8%), China (6.8%), Australia (5.2%), Singapore (5.1%), Republic of Korea (4.5%), Sri Lanka (2.24%), Japan (2.21%), Canada (2.19%), France (1.96%) and Germany (1.92%). So trend is showing positive growth.

These growth trends are due to e-tourist visa facilitation that brought remarkable change. Now e-tourist visa is valid for 163 countries and one can apply 180 days in advance and duration of stay in India has been extended up to 120 days.

All the more e-visa has been re-vamped with new additions like:-

• There will be three new sub-categories for grant of e-visa, i.e. e-tourist visa, e-business visa and e-medical visa. 

• In addition, two more new categories -- Intern or (I) visa and Film or (F) visa -- will be granted for foreigner seeking internship in non-government organizations, and those seeking to shoot movies in India, respectively.    

• Also, both business and medical visas will be granted within 48 hours of application upon urgent requests, it said.   

• "The liberalization of the visa regime will considerably facilitate entry of foreigners into India for tourism, business and medical purposes. Consequently, the arrival of foreigners in India is expected to go up substantially in the coming years.    

• "This will in turn give a boost to tourism, medical and business sectors resulting in substantial increase in direct and indirect employment in these sectors.”   

• Under the e-visa scheme, an applicant receives an email authorizing him or her to travel to India after it has been approved. The tourist can travel with a print-out of this authorization.    

• On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorization to the immigration authorities who would then allow the entry into the country. 

E-visa facility has been extended to the nationals of 163 countries for entry through 24 airports, up from 16 airports allowing such entries, and three Indian ports i.e. Cochin, Goa and Mangalore to tap the potential of cruise tourism from different countries. New Delhi Airport (42.4), Mumbai Airport (20.6%), Chennai Airport (9.6%) are leading bests of arrival.

• "This service will also be provided from Mumbai and Chennai seaports shortly,"

• Separate immigration counters and facilitation desks to assist medical tourists have been provided at India airports namely, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.  

• The multiple entry tourist and business visas for a period of five years will now be available to nationals of most of the countries.

• Nine-four Missions having bio-metric enrolment facilities have started giving five-year tourist and business visas with effect from March 1, 2017.  The remaining Missions will be providing this facility in due course.   

• A new category of visa titled Intern or (I) visa has been rolled out with effect from March 1, 2017 to a foreigner intending to pursue internship in Indian companies, educational institutions and NGOs, subject to certain checks and conditions.    

• As on 30/06/2017 total e-visa issued is7.17 lakh (+52%) over Jan-June 2016.

II. Launch of incredible India Helpline – 1363. The Ministry of Tourism, on a pilot basis, has set up the incredible Indian Helpline to address and guide the tourists during any emergencies which may include medical, crime, natural calamities or on being stranded. This service is available as toll-free on telephone 1800111363 or on short code 1363 and is accessible 24×7and 365 to provide an authentic information to tourists and also guide them during emergencies once they are in India.

III. Setting up of Sector Skill Council, Sector Skill Council (SSC) to regulate and promote hospitality and tourism-related education and skill development in the country has been registered.

IV. Now schemes for development of 5 theme based circuits (SWADESH DARSHAN) and National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) under implementation in compliance with the Budget announcements. India’s rich cultural, historical religious and natural heritage provides a huge potential for development of tourism and job creation. In due recognition of this potential, the union government in the Budget speech 2014-15 decided to create tourist circuits around specific themes with a provision of Rs 500 crore for that year. The scheme mainly aims to provide complete tourism experience by developing world class infrastructure in varied thematic circuits and make full use of national potentials and advantages development of theme based circuits.

The theme based tourist circuit names as SWADESH DARSHAN will be developed on the principles of high tourist value competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner by synergizing efforts to focus on needs and concerns of all stakeholders to enrich tourist experience and enhance employment opportunities. The circuits identified are a Coastal Circuit, Krishan Circuits, Buddhism Circuit, North East Circuit and Himalayan Circuit.

National Mission on Pilgrimage and Spiritual Pigmentation (PRASAD). The National steering committee for new plan schemes of PRASAD and Integrated Development of Tourist Circuit has been setup. The first meeting took place on 14th January 2015. The Pilgrimage Destinations to be developed under Prasad Schemes are:-Varanasi, Amritsar, Ajmer, Gaya, Mathura, Kanchipuram, Vellankali, Kedarnath, Karnakhya, Dwarka, Puri and Amravati.

V. 50 new circuits identified for sustainable development. Ministry of Tourism has identified 50 circuits/destinations for the development of tourism. The Ministry of Tourism has forwarded the list of these circuits/destinations to the respective states/Union Territories to finalize the destinations. These circuits/destinations cover major 2 relevant tourist places and attractions and have a judicious mix of culture. Heritage, spiritualism, and ecotourism to give tourists a holistic perspective of the country. 

VI. Up gradation of 24 Railway stations of tourist importance under taken on cost sharing basis (50:50) with Ministry of Railways at a total cost of Rs 240 crores.

VII. Indian Culinary Institute was set up at Tirupathi (AP) with the objective.(i) To ensure the preservation of heritage Indian Cuisine (ii) to establish research documentation and look for the reasonable center of culinary Arts and Culinary skills. The Institute is now in operation.

VIII. Tourism and integral part of “SWACHH BHARAT Campaign –Swachh Paryatan, Swachh Smarak, Swachh Pakwan etc.

Archaeology Survey of India (ASI) has identified 25 monuments from among the 3680 monuments and sites of natural importance under its protection. These monuments would be provided necessary tourists facilities including Wi-Fi, security, signage’s, encroachment free area, interpretation centers, showing shorts films about the importance of the monuments and signboards of SWACHH BHARAT Abhiyaan mentioning the slogan “SWACHH SMARAK, SWACHH BHARAT.”

Similarly, other areas include:-

i. Unlocking the Indian skies increase air connectivity to major and potential tourist destinations with fixed wing as well as Helicopter Connectivity more focus with Regional air-connectivity.

ii. Seamless connectivity and removal of across restrictions within the country initially to identified tourist destinations.

iii. Unleash potential of North East, Buddhist circuits sites, India’s Cruise tourism 7500 km coastline and inland waterways, Himalayan 73% of the ranges are in India and boost Rural Tourism.

iv. Tourism Investment with tax incentives.

v. Revisited Tourism Policy with inputs from all stakeholders and including new areas of tourism development.

vi. Incentivize Domestic travel – LTC, Tax concession can add Rs 40 to 50, 000 crores to the economy and prevent outflow of foreign exchange.

vii. Creation of professionally managed sectorial services – with a focus on Skill Development Projects.

viii. Boost Medical Tourism, MICE Tourism, Adventure Tourism, Eco-Responsible tourism and liberalized charter policy to boost international arrivals.

ix. Enhanced Media and Tour Operations visit India from overseas under Ministry’s Hospitality programme.

x. To undertake aggressive global Campaign Print electronic digital campaigns.

xi. Ministry has worked out team with all stakeholders’ action together as a team and will continue to consult with all stakeholders about future plans for growth of country’s Tourism Industry and thus committed to bring up India’s position in top 15 countries in global standing.

 

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