A wide range of attractions is driving interest in India, while infrastructure developments and the launch of e-visa is pushing the sub-continent giant up the world traveller’s list of priorities.
At the Incredible India press conference, Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, said that “India as a destination has a great opportunity to grow”. Introducing the session, he said the country currently welcomes 10 million visitors a year but stressed that “this is just a drop in the ocean. With the increased investment that the tourism sector is receiving from the national and state governments of India, we can go a lot higher.”
Tripathi said India can offer “any facet of tourism you are looking for. All parts of the country have great heritage sites, but there are also cultural, spiritual and adventure opportunities With our investment in digital and transport, we can offer visitors a seamless experience.”
Meenakshi Sharma, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, then gave a detailed presentation to support Tripathi’s claims. “India accounts for 1.2% of world tourism in terms of share but it is getting stronger every year as our infrastructure improves,” she said. “We have visitors coming from all over the world and there is also strong domestic tourism growth – domestic has doubled in the last six years.” One positive indicator, she said, is that India’s earnings in world tourism receipts is 2.1% – suggesting that visitors are spending freely once they arrive in India. Sharma said there as so many attractions in India – beaches, wildlife, ecotourism, wellness – that it can be hard to prioritise. “So for ITB Berlin we are focusing a lot of our efforts on India as The Land of the Festivals.”
She said that infrastructure developments are also helping to drive tourism, including an improved aviation network. Of 125 airports, 32 are international and there is a target to double the total airport count to 250 by 2020 – opening up more of the country. She added: “Our e-visa has been a game-changer, and there have also been various traveller-first policies that are supporting our tourist industry growth”.
Hall 5.2b / Stands 205, 205a