India rolled out the first phase of E-Visa facility for 43 countries on November 27th. Since then, tourism industry is all positive, the Internet is abuzz, and Indian Diaspora excited like never before. It lets visitors travel to India just with a print copy of ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) and a passport with at least 6 months validity.
So what does the E-Visa really mean to India and it’s tourism industry? Does it mean exceptional growth or a lukewarm response? Let us bring together some statistics from the past and analyze this very initiative by the Indian government; specially when it’s one-way and not a give-and-take scheme.
The Statistics: Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs)
India as a country is growing big and wide, being recognized in every part of the world. Earlier, it was known for poverty, now it’s known as the fastest developing economy of the world and an emerging superpower. Tourists are flocking to Indian shores from all parts of the globe. There has been a significant growth year after year in Indian tourism.
The statistics show that 6.31 million tourists visited India in 2011, which was a good 9.2% increase compared to 2010. Similarly, 2012 saw 6.65 million FTAs, which is an increase of 5.4% compared to 2011.
Indian Tourism Statistics 2012 report released by Ministry of Tourism reported that, 27.2% visitors came to meet their family and relatives, 27.1% visited for holiday and recreation, and about 22.5% came for business and professional purpose.
Therefore, the E-Visa facility introduced for 43 countries as mentioned in the previous post “Things to know About Indian E-Visa” allows people to come for business, medical, visiting friends and relatives, and for holiday and leisure.
Previous Initiatives By Indian Government
Visa on Arrival (VoA)
Tourism industry contributes to 7% of the GDP in the country and is therefore taken seriously by the Modi administration. Home minister Rajnath Singh said, “We want to promote tourism in the country in a big way. The contribution of tourism in GDP is approximately 7% and we want to double it.”
The first announcement came from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to the United States: Visa on Arrival (VoA) facility for Americans. It was later followed for many other countries including Russia, Mauritius, Norway, Myanmar, Fiji, and Australia.
This is backed by the initiative of E-Visa for 43 countries through an online portal and acceptance of the ETA at nine (9) port of entries across India.
“Hunar Se Rozgar” Programme
The UPA government introduced “Hunar Se Rozgar” programme, which means “Work Through Skills,” in the year 2009 – 10, with a purpose to create employment among the economically weaker section of the society and fill the gap in hospitality and tourism industry.
It encouraged the youth to take studies related to food and beverage, housekeeping, utility, bakery services, and other related subjects. More than 21,000 youth have been trained and employed as of January 2013.
No Touts at Tourist Places
Tourists across the world are prey to touts and India is no exception to it. However, the government is taking measures to crackdown on touts for safety and security of the tourists.
What Tourism Industry Can Expect Now?
The figures from the past show a rise in visitors year after year. So the tourism industry can brace itself to witness some real change coming their way.
More tourists from more places are likely to come and witness the charm and glory of our multi-cultural and multi-lingual nation of the world. India can also expect growth in investment from Indian Diaspora and footfall of more businesses on it shore.
That said, how India as a country and the tourism industry manages the visitors growth in the days to come is important to see.
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