India's rich cultural heritage and history, food, friendly people, architectural monuments, hospitality and services are positive strengths for its tourism sector.
Today, tourism is the most vibrant tertiary sector and has a strong hold on the economy. The sector contributes 6.23 per cent to the national gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.78 per cent of the total employment in India. Moreover, India stands 42nd in the world rankings in terms of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in the country, as per a report titled 'Competitiveness of Tourism Sector in India with Selected Other Countries of the World' by Ministry of Tourism. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) named India along with China as one of the fastest growing tourism industries for the next 10 to 15 years, added the report.
India has won three prestigious awards—World's Leading Destination - India, World's Leading Tourist Board - Incredible India and World's Leading Tourist Attraction (Taj Mahal)—from World Travel Awards (WTA).
In addition, the Union Ministry of Tourism will organise an International Tourism Mart at Guwahati from January 18 to 20, 2013. This will not only be the first ever International Tourism event to be organised in the north-eastern region, but also the first International Tourism Mart to focus on a specific region of India, said Mr K Chiranjeevi, the Union Tourism Minister. He further added, "It will bring together the tourism business fraternity and entrepreneurs from the eight north eastern states of India and West Bengal. The event has been planned and scheduled to facilitate interaction between buyers, sellers, media, Government agencies and others."
"The demand for five-star hotels in the Indian market has been robust and we are delighted to have initiated the first phase of our expansion into India with this landmark project in Mumbai," said Mr Gerald Lawless, President and Group CEO of Jumeirah Group.
The amount of foreign direct investments (FDI) inflow into the hotel and tourism sector during April 2000 to October 2012 was worth US$ 6,484 million, as per data provided by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce.
Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from Tourism showed an increase of 21.8 per cent during 2012, as compared to FEEs of 2011. FTAs in India during 2012 were 6.65 million with a growth of 5.4 per cent as compared to the FTAs of 6.31 million during the year 2011.
FEEs from tourism in rupee terms during 2012 were Rs 94,487 crore (US$ 17.27 billion) with a growth of 21.8 per cent as compared to the FEEs of Rs 77,591 crore (US$ 14.18 billion) during the year 2011.
Visa on Arrival (VoA) scheme of India registered an increase of 26 per cent in 2012. A total number of 16,084 VoAs were issued during 2012 as compared to 12,761 VoAs issued during 2011.