India’s tourism sector ended on a high in 2017 with a rise in the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country. The foreign tourist arrivals crossed the 10 million mark which had a significant impact on the earnings of the country. The country’s earnings crossed 27 billion dollars in the year and the sector is now looking to ramp up tourist arrivals in 2018 with niche projects.
Union Tourism Minister, KJ Alphons mentioned that the sector is doing very well but the numbers should increase dramatically in the coming years because India is an incredible country. He also stated that they are trying to bring in a lot more people by offering something for everyone. The sector is contributing 6.88 percent to the country’s GDP and had a 12 percent share of jobs in the total employment figure in 2017. This increase in numbers has helped India ramp up the ranking on the Tourism Competitiveness Index, 2017. India stands at the 40th spot currently. It jumped 25 places from 65 to 40 in a year. The progress was attributed to the improvement in the government’s renewed focus on developing infrastructure apart from promoting theme based and religious circuits under the Swadesh Darshan scheme.
Currently eleven projects have already been sanctioned under the scheme in 2017-18 which takes the total number of projects to 67. The plan is to encourage holistic development of pilgrimage destinations and the Buddhist circuit is a case in point. The Government is looking to promote the tourism sector in India’s north eastern states. As part of the efforts to introduce new concepts to engage a larger audience, the country’s golf courses have found a mention in the ‘Incredible India’ campaign of the ministry alongside the heritage monuments. Officials mentioned that the effort is to give a push to the niche products like women’s Polo, in order to attract tourists to India.