Foreign Tourist Arrivals in January-December 2014 in India grow by 7.1%
New Delhi: The Foreign Tourist Arrivals during the period January-December 2014 were 74.62 lakh with a growth of 7.1%, as compared to the Foreign Tourist Arrivals of 69.68 lakh with a growth of 5.9% during January-December 2013 over the corresponding period of 2012. Foreign Exchange Earnings from tourism in rupee terms during January-December 2014 were Rs.1,20,083 Crore with a growth of 11.5%, as compared to the Foreign Exchange Earnings of Rs.1,07,671 Crore with a growth of 14.0% during January- December 2013 over the corresponding period of 2012.
The Ministry of Tourism has taken various initiatives to boost the growth of tourism in India. These new initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism include Integrated Development of Theme-Based Tourist Circuits – Swadesh Darshan and the National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD). The Ministry has also launched a 24x7 Incredible India Toll Free Helpline for Tourists (Code – 1363/1800-111363). The Government of India has introduced Tourist Visa on Arrival enabled with Electronic Travel Authorisation to facilitate foreign travellers visiting India. This facility is available to the nationals of 44 countries arriving at 9 airports in India (viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Goa airports).
To create social awareness among the masses regarding their conduct and attitude towards tourists and to sensitize the stakeholders of the tourism industry, the Ministry of Tourism releases the Atithi Devo Bhava – Social Awareness Campaign. People in general are sensitized to preserve and protect the heritage and monuments of the country, including tourist places, for the generations to come. The campaign also strives to bring about a positive change in the outlook of the people. These campaigns are released in select Print, Electronic, Outdoor and Online Media. This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma, in a reply to unstarred question in Lok Sabha today.
50 circuits have been identified across India
The Ministry of Tourism has identified 50 circuits for development of tourism. These circuits/destinations cover major and relevant tourist places and attractions and have a judicious mix of culture, heritage, spiritualism and ecotourism to give tourists a holistic perspective of the country. Port Blair-Neil Havelock-Little Andaman (Andaman and Nicobar), Kashmir Circuit (Jammu and Kashmir), Desert circuit (Rajasthan), Nature Tourism Circuit (West Bengal), Braj-Agra Circuit (Uttar Pradesh), Gangtok (Sikkim) are the circuits identified circuits among others.
The Ministry has formulated a plan scheme SWADESH DARSHAN for integrated development of tourist circuits around specific themes. The five circuits indentified under this scheme are: Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit and North-East Circuit. The Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to various State Governments/Union Territory Administrations for various tourism projects prioritized every year in consultation with them subject to availability of funds, inter-se priority, liquidation of pending utilization certificates against the funds released earlier and adherence to the scheme guidelines.
In 2012-13, a total of 136 projects were sanctioned to the states and an amount of Rs 929 crores was sanctioned to them for these projects. In 2013-14, the number of projects sanctioned to the states was 261 and an amount of Rs 1801 crores was sanctioned to them. In 2014-15 (till December, 2014) a total of 53 projects were sanctioned to the states and a sum of Rs 333 crores was sanctioned to them for these projects. This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma, in a reply to unstarred question in Lok Sabha today.