India has 28 world heritage sites and 25 bio-geographic zones. India provides diverse offerings such as adventure, rural and wildlife tourism. Leisure travel constitutes over 70 per cent of the total spend on tourism in India.
India with a vast and beautiful coastline, virgin forests, and undisturbed idyllic islands can be a fabulous tourist destination for cruise tourists, besides India has potential to develop the rural tourism industry to enable interaction between tourists and locals for a mutually enriching experience.
In addition, medical tourism is expected to be US$ 2.3 billion market by 2012, while the wellness tourism with its widespread practice of Ayurveda, Yoga, Siddha and Naturopathy that is complemented by the nation's spiritual philosophy makes India a famous wellness destination.
Domestic spending on tourism has seen a phenomenal growth with market size expected to touch US$ 89.1 billion in 2012. The foreign tourists arrivals are expected to increase at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3 per cent during 2012-15. The number of foreign tourists arriving in India by 2015 is expected to be over 8.5 million.
The Government of India (GOI) is increasing allotment for tourism in the country. Various marketing initiatives such as Incredible India and Athithi Devo Bhavah were launched to harness the tourism industry's potential. The tourism and hospitality sector attracted investments of over US$ 26 billion in 2011. The GOI allows 100 per cent FDI in the hotel and tourism sector through automatic route.
The total foreign exchange from tourism in India was estimated to be over US$ 16 billion in 2011. The tourism and hospitality sector's direct contribution in 2012 was estimated at US$ 40.4 billion.