Tourism third largest net earner of foreign exchange for India
Tourism in India has registered significant growth in recent years.
In 1951, international tourist arrivals stood at around 17,000 only, but in 2005 the figure had gone up to 3.91 million.
The spectacular rise is expected to remain firm in the coming years.
Tourism is the third largest net earner of foreign exchange for the country, which recorded earnings of USD 5731 million in 2005, a growth of 20.2 percent over the figure recorded in 2004. It is also one of the sectors that employs the largest number of manpower.
The first-ever Tourism Satellite Accounts for India compiled by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) for the year 2002-03 showed that tourism employed 38.8 million persons, directly and indirectly, the figure representing 8.3 percent of the total employed by the country and which contributed 5.8 percent to GDP.
The figures are estimated to have increased to 41.85 million employed in 2003-04 with a GDP contribution of 5.9 percent.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has identified India as one of countries slated to become the foremost growth centers in the world in the coming decade.
While the growth in tourism has been impressive, India's share in total global tourism arrivals and earnings is quite insignificant.
It is an accepted fact that India has tremendous potential for development of tourism. The diversity of India's natural and cultural richness provides the basis of its wide range of tourist products and experiences embracing business, leisure, culture, adventure, spirituality, eco-tourism and many other pursuits.
India's Ministry of Tourism had adopted a multi-pronged approach in order to achieve that growth.
The important initiatives taken by the government to improve the flow of foreign tourists into the country and thereby increase the country's share in world tourism includes the launching of cruise tourism by an international shipping firm, direct contacts with consumers through the electronic and print media and the launching of the `Incredible India' campaign called `Colours of India'.
Colours of India is an integrated campaign in South-East Asia to promote Buddhist sites in India with greater focus on emerging markets particularly in the region of China, South Korea, Japan and South-East Asia.
India's new priorities and initiatives have been activated with sound backing that highlights the national tourism policy.
With the significant positive trend in the year 2005, its tourism industry is poised for a brighter 2006.