E-tourist visa facility extended for citizens of 37 more countries

A total of 1,17, 210 tourists arrived in February 2016 on e-tourist visa as compared to 24,985 during the month of February 2015 registering a growth of 369.1 per cent. Commencing from November 27, 2014, e-tourist visa facility was available until February 25, 2016 for citizens of 113 countries arriving at 16 Airports in India. The Government of India has extended this scheme for citizens of 37 more countries w.e.f February 26, 2016 taking the tally to 150 countries. The following are the important highlights of e-Tourist Visa during February, 2016. There is a 69.1per cent growth in tourist arrival on e-tourist visa in February 2016 over the same period in 2015.

Growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals in India

Foreign Tourists Arrivals (FTAs) during the period January – March 2016 were 25.08 lakh with a growth of 10.0% as compared to the FTAs of 22.81 lakh with a growth of 3.5% in January- March 2015 over January – March 2014. FTAs during the Month of March 2016 were 8.17 lakh as compared to FTAs of 7.29 lakh during the month of March 2015 and 6.90 lakh in March 2014. There has been a growth of 12.1% in March 2016 over March 2015.

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs)  during the month of March 2016 were Rs. 13,115 crore as compared to Rs. 11,133 crore in March 2015 and Rs. 10,479 crore in March 2014.

Ministry of Tourism compiles monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) on the basis of Nationality-wise, Port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI) and Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism on the basis of data available from Reserve Bank of India. The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during March, among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (14.07%) followed by UK (13.16%), USA (11.84%), Germany (3.74%), Canada (3.57%), Sri Lanka (3.48%), Malaysia (3.45%), Russian Federation (3.19%),  China (2.92%), France (2.92%), Australia (2.83%), Japan (2.43%), Nepal (1.72%), Singapore (1.67%) and Thailand (1.60).

India Tourism on an upswing

As reported in the Travel Trade Journal in India , Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary Tourism, Government of India shares his optimism about growth numbers, views on the e-Visa initiatives, focus on circuits and more with TTJ, prior to ITB Berlin

With a reiterated focus on tourism and a rather aggressive approach by the Government, which is constantly coming up with new initiatives to bring the world to India; India Tourism is doing better than the cumulative global numbers. “For the past four years, India has been growing in terms of tourist arrivals at a rate of 7 per cent as compared to a cumulative growth rate of 4 to 4.5 per cent the world over. In fact in the year 2014, we registered a growth of almost 10 per cent over the previous year (2013),” shared Shri Zutshi

Talking of growth trends in 2016, he said, “The year has started on a rather upbeat and positive note as we have registered 7 per cent growth this January 2016 vis a vis the same period in 2015, so there is definitely an increased growth. The government and the ministry are very optimistic and aiming at a minimum 10 per cent growth rate as far as foreign tourist arrival numbers to India is concerned.”

Talking of the positive growth in domestic tourism numbers, a rather happy Shri Zutshi said, “The scenario as far as domestic tourism is concerned is extremely heartening and according to statistics India witnessed an astounding 1.45 billion tourist movements by Indians. The growth is at an impressive 13 per cent and we are hoping to take this number to 15 per cent or even more, for the segment.”

India is fast becoming a hub for medical tourists in the region with a lot of initiatives by the government, focussing on the same. Medical facilities in India are least cost as compared to similar facilities abroad. Additionally, we have some of the finest world-class hospitals, with state-of-the-art infrastructure and physicians.

Indian physicians and medical professionals are ranked amongst the world. Given these factors, we shall shortly be the leaders in medical health and wellness tourism as all the ingredients are here. We have exceptional resources when it comes to the physicians and medical professionals in this country. Another major positive is that the wait period for treatment is minimal, and these people can get almost immediate relief. These are the advantages that make India a potential leader in the field of medical tourism and people from Middle East, Europe and the world over are choosing to come to India for treatment.