DUBAI: India Tourism displayed the immense tourism potential of the country, both business and leisure travel by unearthing ‘Incredible India’ banner during the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2017 held in Dubai last month.
24 participants from India, representing the diversity of heritage, nature, and culture participated in the India Pavilion set up by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
The theme chosen for ATM-2017 was “Yoga & Wellness”. One of the highlights of ‘Incredible India’ being showcased at ATM was the depiction of India as a multi-faceted tourist destination for luxury, wildlife, and wellness/medical tourism.
India has 35 World Heritage Sites, which include historic monuments and natural wonders, which are being promoted by the tour operators.
The number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India during 2016 was 8.89 million, a growth of 10.7 per cent over 2015. The Gulf and the Middle East region are an important market for India. There has been a consistent and positive growth of foreign tourist arrivals from this region to India over the last three years with the year 2016 having registered an overall growth of around 17 per cent over the previous year.
The Regional Office of India Tourism in Dubai organises tourism road shows/Food Festivals/ Medical Seminars in GCC countries every year. Some of the countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Turkey and Sudan, have registered a significant growth and are emerging as major tourism generating markets for India from this region.
India has emerged as a destination for medical/wellness travel in GCC countries. The percentage of foreign tourist arrivals visiting India for medical treatment has been increasing over the years and growing rapidly since the year 2000.
One of the regions in focus is the North Eastern region of India which comprises the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. These states are known for their unique cultural and geographical heritage. The rich natural beauty, serene landscapes and rare flora and fauna are the main attractions in these areas.
India’s advantage in respect of promoting cruise tourism is the long coastline from Gujarat to West Bengal and strong positioning of ports that gives natural advantage to the country in attracting international cruise liners. There is enormous potential in the country to develop cruise tourism, both international and domestic and the Ministry of Tourism is making all efforts to promote this segment by developing required excellent cruise infrastructure.
India has also taken many steps to liberalize the visa regime with the e-Tourist Visa being made available for nationals of 161 countries. During the year 2016, a total of 10,79,696 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visas as compared to 4,45,300 during year 2015, registering a growth of 142.5 per cent.