Seeking to promote tourism, the government has extended e-visa facility for citizens of 165 countries at 25 airports and five seaports, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
Tourism Minister K J Alphons also said the government has launched the ‘Incredible India 2.0’ campaign, marking a shift from generic promotions to market-specific promotional plans.
A 24X7 toll free multi-lingual tourist helpline has also been put in place as part of the efforts.
To promote tourism in India, events such as ‘paryatan parv’ (tourism festival), International Buddhist Conclave and International Tourism Mart too have been organised.
He said while development and promotion of tourism is primarily the responsibility of state government, the Union Tourism Ministry provides central financial assistance to states and UTs to organise fairs, festivals and tourism- related events for the promotion of tourism.
Foreign tourist arrivals in India has also seen a 14 per cent jump in 2017 and foreign exchange earnings in the sector during the same period was Rs 1.77 lakh crore, Union Tourism Minister K J Alphons said.
The minister said that is a shortage of two lakh rooms in the tourism sector, mostly in the mid-segment.
The minister said there has been a 28.8 per cent increase in domestic tourist visits in the country between 2014 and 2017 while 20.4 per cent jump in foreign tourist visits in the same period.
As many as 10.04 million foreign tourists have visited the country in 2017 which was a growth of 14 per cent in comparison to the previous year, he said during the Question Hour.
The minister said the estimated foreign exchange earnings through tourism in India during 2015, 2016 and 2017 were Rs 1.35 lakh crore, Rs 1.54 lakh crore and Rs 1.77 lakh crore respectively, he said.