The compilation and estimated data in terms of the number of foreign tourists coming to India demonstrate an 11 pc rise in August 2017 compared to August last year; reveals the Ministry of Tourism.
The monthly report observed information provided by the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) on foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs), FTAs on e-tourist visa from various countries through different ports. According to the Tourism Ministry, during the period January-August 2017, foreign exchange earnings in terms of US dollars reached 17.73 billion registering a growth of 19.7 pc over the same period of the previous year.
As India aims to position itself as a destination drawing international tourists; some of the figures usher hope while some still needs to get addressed.
Foreign tourist arrivals
The Foreign Exchange Earnings during the month of August 2017 was INR 139.22 billion compared to INR 125.53 billion in August 2016. The growth rate in the FTAs in August 2017 over the same period in 2016 was 11 pc. While Bangladesh (21.26 pc) contributed the maximum travellers to India, travellers from USA (11.6 pc), UK (9.46 pc), Sri Lanka (6.41 pc), Malaysia (3.71 pc) followed in terms of the numbers. European countries such as France (2.46 pc) and Germany (2.39 pc) are also increasing their visitation to India according to the latest figures revealed by the Ministry of Tourism.
Boost in e-tourist visa
Launched in November 2014 and made available to 150 countries by February 2016, the e-tourist visa (official site) scheme was hailed as the game-changing step in favour of the Indian travel and tourism industry.
Reaping dividends from e-tourist visas, the Ministry of Tourism during the month of August 2017 reported 113,000 entries to India on an e-Tourist Visa compared to 66,000 during the month of August 2016. The growth of 71.3 pc substantiates the success of the feature.
During the first eight months of the year, a total of 949,000 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa compared to 606,000 during the same period last year, registering a growth of 56.5 pc.
The percentage shares of top 5 source countries availing e-tourist visa facilities during August 2017 were as follows: UK (12.6 pc), USA (9.6 pc), UAE (6.7 pc), Spain (6.3 pc) and France (5.9 pc). Travellers from Italy (4.9 pc), and Germany (4 pc) are the other two European countries that availed the e-tourist visa facility during their visit to India.
Amidst, the happy figures, the room for improvement is still quite prominent. The e-tourist visa website is often going through technical snags and needs proper structuring. Some of the users have reported double-debit and poor response from the service desk. Moreover, there is a fake page of the e-tourist visa that has reportedly made travellers sceptic.
— Nadia de los Santos (@oh_nadia) September 18, 2017
Some of the users have also shared their feedback that the process of the application is too tedious often succumbing to multiple link failures.
— Nicola Wright (@_nkwright) August 2, 2017
In terms of the percentage share of foreign tourist footfall in India, Delhi contributed almost 27 pc of the total arrivals in August followed by the Mumbai Airport 15.49 pc.
Travellers from Bangladesh coming profusely for medical tourism as well as business and leisure use the Haridaspur Land Check Post (12.06 pc) commonly known as the Benapole border town in Bangladesh.
Chennai, Bengaluru, Cochin, Kolkata and Hyderabad airports serve as the next most popular gateways for the international travellers.
Some of the Tier II city airports that have come in the list of the top 15 airports issuing the most number of e-tourist visas include Trivandrum (1.5 pc), Amritsar (1.4 pc), Tirchy (1.2 pc), Calicut (1 pc) and Ahmadabad (0.9 pc).