TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2006]
DELHI: India’s booming tourism story scripted a new high with foreign tourist arrivals into the country registering a 13.2% jump in ’05, crossing 3.9m-mark, raking in over Rs 25,000 crore or $5.7bn in foreign exchange.
In contrast, in ’04 around 3.4m inbound tourists brought in around $4.7bn or over Rs 21,600 crore in foreign exchange. As per the latest data by the tourism ministry, the rate of growth in foreign tourist arrivals in the country declined year-on-year from 26.8% between ’03 (2.7m) and ’04 (3.4m) to a low of 13.2% in ’05 (3.9m).
Similarly, the jump in forex earning in ’05 was a modest 16.5% over ’04. In ’05, December was the high point for foreign tourist arrivals in the country at 4.6 lakh, an 11% jump as against 4.2 lakh in the previous year.
Industry players note that that the growth in foreign tourist flow could have been more with the increase in number of hotel rooms in the country and improvement in visa-processing infrastructure.
The government may talk highly of the success of the Incredible India marketing campaign, India’s performance pales in comparison to annual tourist arrivals in hotspots like Singapore (8m) and China (100m). Outbound tourist flow from India is growing at a faster rate and was pegged at 5.2m in ’04. This figure is expected to cross the 6m mark in ’05.
Over the last couple of years, destinations like Kerala and Goa are scoring over traditional favourites like Rajasthan and Agra for foreign tourists with newer states like Chattisgarh and Uttaranchal also giving tough competition to established players.
News Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com