Indian Economy News

Government launches ETA enabled Tourist Visas on Arrival, more than 22,000 visas processed during first month of its launch

Foreign Tourist Arrivals show a commendable increase of 7.1 percent during Jan-Nov, 2014 over the same period last year

Foreign Exchange Earnings from tourism cross Rs. 1 Lakh crore mark during January to November 2014

In a Path breaking initiative, Incredible India Tourist Helpline is launched

The Tourism sector plays a very important role in the economy of the country. The contribution of Tourism in GDP for the Financial Year 2012-13 is estimated to be 6.88% and contribution to employment is estimated to be 12.36% in the same year. The Tourism sector also contributes to Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) in a big way with FEEs from Tourism standing at Rs 107671 cr in INR terms in 2013.

Growth in Tourism

Inbound Tourism: India received 65.8 lakh (Provisional) visitors during the period January-November, 2014 which is the highest ever number of visitors received till November in any year during the last decade. The Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during this period showed a commendable increase of 7.1 percent over the same period during the previous year. The FTAs for the entire year 2013 were 69.7 lakhs showing a growth of 5.9% over the previous year. In comparison, the growth rate in International Tourist Arrivals for the World as a whole was only 5% in 2013.

Nearly 16% of FTAs during 2013 were from the USA followed by 11.62% from UK and then Bangladesh with 7.53%.

Domestic Tourists : No. of Domestic Tourist Visits to all States/UTs were- 1145 Million in 2013 showing a Growth Rate of 9.6% over the previous year.

Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI): As per the TTCI, 2013 of the World Economic Forum, India ranks 11th in Asia and Pacific region and 65th amongst 140 countries in tourism competitiveness. Improving ranking of India from 65th to 62nd position in travel and tourism competitiveness has been set as a target in the Result Framework Document (RFD) of M/o Tourism for the year 2014-15.

The Government has also set a target to achieve one percent share in global tourism arrivals during 2015 which is sought to be achieved with the help of a multi- pronged strategy. India's share in global tourism arrivals in 2013 was 0.64%.

Foreign Exchange Earnings: During the January to November period of 2014, the Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism crossed the mark of 1 lakh crore rupees (standing at Rs 1, 07,208 crore) showing a growth of 12.1 percent over the FEEs of the same period last year.

FEE from tourism in terms of US$ during January- November 2014 were US$ 17.606 billion with a growth of 5.2%, as compared to US$ 16.742 billion with a growth of 4.9% during January- November 2013 over the corresponding period of 2012.

Tourist Visas on Arrival (TVOAs) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA):

The year 2014 will remain a historic year for tourism industry since the Government implemented the first phase of Tourist Visas on Arrival (TVOAs) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). As a result of this, more than 22,000 visas were processed till 31.12.2014 since its launch on 27th November, 2014. Out of this, 6100 TVOAs are from the US and 3800 from Russia. The Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled with the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) Scheme was launched on 27.11.2014 for nationals of 43 countries whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sight- seeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit, casual visit to meet friends or relatives etc. for a short stay of 30 days A brochure on Visa-on-Arrival enabled by ETA has also been published.

Recent Path breaking Initiatives:

Several path breaking initiatives have been taken recently, some in partnership with Ministry of Culture, to promote tourism. Important initiatives are as below

  • E-Ticketing: The process of E-ticketing at important historical monuments has begun with the launch of E-ticketing at the Taj Mahal in Agra and Humayun's Tomb in Delhi. This has been accomplished with the help of IRCTC.
  • Incredible India Tourist Helpline: Similarly, in another path breaking initiative, the Incredible India Tourist Helpline has been set up on a pilot basis to address and guide the tourists during any emergency which may include medical, crime natural calamities or on being stranded. This service will be available as toll free on telephone 1800111363 or on a short code 1363.
  • Adarsh Smarak: ASI has identified 25 monuments to be developed as Model Monuments. These monuments would be provided necessary tourist facilities including wi-fi, security, signages, encroachment free area, interpretation centres showing short films about the importance of monuments and signboards of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Some of the monuments included in Adarsh Smarak scheme are Leh Palace, Leh(J&K), Humayun's Tomb(New Delhi), Red Fort,(Delhi), Shore Temple(Mahabalipuram), Elephanta Caves(Mumbai Maharashtra), Taj Mahal,Agra,(UP), Rani-ki-Vav(Gujarat) among others.
  • Welcome Cards: The Ministry of Tourism has launched the special welcome cards that will be handed to all the tourists, landing at our 9 International airports where Tourist Visa on Arrival Enabled with Electronic Travel Authorization facility is operational. This card will carry the information of the local India Tourism office along with online and offline contact information which the tourists can use in case of any queries.

Infrastructure Development

The Ministry of Tourism has been making efforts to develop quality tourism infrastructure at tourist destinations and circuits. The Ministry sanctioned Rs. 929.84 cr for a total number of 136 tourism projects during 2012-13 and Rs 1801 cr for 261 projects during 2013-14. During 2014-15 (Till 30.09.2014), 30 projects have been sanctioned for an amount of Rs 205 cr. This includes projects relating to Product/ Infrastructure Development for Destination and Circuits (PIDDC), Human Resource Development (HRD), Fairs and Festivals and Adventure & Rural Tourism for infrastructure augmentation.

  • In the Budget for 2014-15 two new schemes have been announced with the following allocation:
    • Rs. 500 crore for developing 5 tourist circuits around specific themes. The circuits identified are: Ganga circuit, Krishna circuit, Buddha circuit, North East circuit, and Kerala circuit.
    • Rs. 100 crore for National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenations and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD).

Guidelines are under finalization to implement these schemes.

  • 50 circuits have been identified for development in phases.
  • The upgradation of Varanasi Railway Station has been undertaken.
  • The project for construction of new Passenger Terminal at Marmugao, Goa Port Trust to promote Cruise Tourism has been launched.


  • As per provisional estimates, contribution of tourism to total employment (direct and indirect) for the years 2010-11, 2011-12 & 2012-13 was 10.78%, 11.49% and 12.36% respectively.
  • During the 10th and 11th Five Year Plans, the contribution of tourism to total employment (both direct and indirect) progressed from 8.27% to 11.49% and the Foreign Exchange earnings for the corresponding period progressed from Rs.20729 crore to Rs.94487 crore.
  • An additional employment of 24.5 million (direct and Indirect) is targeted to be created during the years 2010 to 2016.

Human Resource Development

  • Hunar Se Rozgar Tak (HSRT): In June 2014, the Ministry of Tourism has a launched a 6-month programme of training exclusively for the HSRT pass-outs in hospitality trades to give them vertical skill mobility. It has now been decided to involve the following to implement the programme:
    • Industrial units, association of industries and professional/skill developing agencies with proven credentials; and
    • Hospitality Institutions approved by the AICTE/National Skill Development Authority/State Governments/UT Administrations.
  • In a major initiative, the Ministry of Tourism has tied-up with Ecole Hotelier de Lausanne, Switzerland for improving quality of Hospitality Education. The First phase of this programme has already started.
  • Swachh Bharat Swachh Pakwan (Hunar Zaika): The Ministry of Tourism is partnering with the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) for the specific purpose of orientation, skill testing and certification of the street food vendors.

Some of the other important measures taken in this area this year include the following:

  • The foundation stone for setting up of Indian Culinary Institute has been laid in September, 2014.
  • Decision has been taken this year to set up Sector Skill Council (SSC) to regulate and promote hospitality and tourism related education and skill development in the country.
  • Culinary Survey of India for identification and documentation of recipes launched in the current year.
  • Ministry has accorded approval for setting up of Food Craft Institute at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and has sanctioned Central Financial Assistance of Rs.475.00 lakhs
  • 3 month Tourist Facilitator Training Course organized for the Executives of tour operator members of the Indian Association of Tour Operators in order to overcome the bottleneck of shortage of Chinese speaking tourist guides in India.
  • Six months certificate courses in 4 Hospitality Trades launched.
  • Capacity building programme for Tourist Transport Drivers conducted

Tourist Visa on Arrival

The Government has recently launched Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization on 27th November 2014 for 43 countries. Prior to it, the normal TVoA scheme used to operate for 12 countries.

  • During January- November 2014, a total number of 24,963 VoAs were issued as compared to 17,594 VoAs during corresponding period of 2013 registering a growth of 41.9%.
  • The number of VoAs issued under the Scheme, during January- November 2014 were South Korea (5,080), Japan (4,683),New Zealand (3,690), Singapore (3,494), the Philippines (3,346), Indonesia (2,776), Finland (990), Myanmar (391), Vietnam (238), Cambodia (129), Luxembourg (126) and Laos (20

The Tourist Visa on Arrival facility is now operational from 9 international airports


  • The Ministry of Tourism had advised the State Governments/UT Administrations to deploy Tourist Police at prominent tourist spots.
  • The Ministry of Tourism along with all stakeholders, including the Tourism Departments of all States and UTs, have adopted the ‘Code of Conduct for Safe & Honourable Tourism'
  • Ministry of Tourism is running the Social Awareness Campaign on television to sensitize the masses and the stakeholders on the traditional Indian values and concept ‘Atithi Devo Bhava'. The campaign consists of two commercials; one on sensitizing against misbehaviour with tourists and the other against cleanliness of tourist sites and streets.
  • An advisory has been posted on the Ministry of Tourism website indicating that India remains safe destination for international Tourists including women tourists.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has issued the Guidelines on Safety and Security of Tourists for State Governments/Union Territories and Tips for Travellers in September 2014.
  • The Incredible India Tourist Helpline will also assist tourists on the subject of safety.

Development of Tourism in the North East

  • The 3rd International Tourism Mart was held in Shillong in Meghalaya this year and was organised in the North East with the objective of highlighting the tourism potential of the region in the domestic and international markets. Over 50 buyer delegates from ASEAN and SAARC countries, Japan, Korea, Australia, France, Spain, Russia, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, U.K. and USA are participated in the Mart.
  • Similarly, the Union Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 29 projects of Tourism for the North Eastern States till date during the year 2014-15. These include 9 projects in Nagaland, 8 in Sikkim, 5 in Manipur, 4 in Arunachal Pradesh, 3 in Mizoram. An amount of Rs 113.72 cr of plan funds were released in 2012-13 for tourism in the North-Eastern region and Rs 149.16 cr in 2013-14.
  • A North-East Campaign was also launched on private TV channels and Doordarshan this year.


Following are to be developed as Budhhist Circuits in the country with the help pf Central Governments/State Government/Private stake holders:

  • The Dharmayatra or the Sacred Circuit – This will be a 5 to 7 days circuit and will include visits to Gaya (Bodhgaya), Varanasi (Sarnath), Kushinagar, Piparva (Kapilvastu) with a day trip to Lumbini in Nepal.
  • Extended Dharmayatra or Extended Sacred Circuit or Retracing Buddha's Footsteps – This will be a 10 to 15 day circuit and will include visits to Bodhgaya (Nalanda, Rajgir, Barabar caves, Pragbodhi Hill, Gaya). Patna (Vaishali, Lauriya Nandangarh, lauriya Areraj, Kesariya, Patna Museum), Varanasi (Sarnath), Kushinagar, Piparva (Kapilvastu, Shravasti, Sankisa) with a day trip to Lumbini in Nepal.
  • Buddhist Heritage Trails (State Circuits) including those in Ladakh, Srinagar, Ajanta Ellora, Sirpur, Dharamsala, Sikkim, Tawang, Sanchi among others.
  • Second International Buddhist Conclave in Bodhgaya and Sarnath held from 26-28th September, 2014 in collaboration with the State Governments of Bihar and UP. A total of 120 international delegates from 30 countries, 71 domestic Tour Operators and 16 State Governments had participated in the Conclave.
  • MOT has introduced guidelines for financial assistance to States/UTs for holding Buddhist Festivals in the Monasteries of foreign origin to promote traffic to “Core Buddhist Circuit”, specifically at places where Buddha Lived, walked, gave sermons and attained Nirvana.
  • Completion of the Phase –I of the IFC–Development of Buddhist Circuit in UP and Bihar. The strategy ‘Investing in the Buddhist Circuit' has been launched.

Publicity, Promotion and Marketing:

  • The Ministry of Tourism held several events this year to promote cooperation in the field of Tourism with various countries including Mexico, Australia, Nepal among others 2014.
  • The Ministry of Tourism, through its overseas offices has participated in the major international Travel Fairs and Exhibitions in important tourist generating markets the world over as well as in emerging and potential markets to showcase and promote the tourism products of the country. These include Virtuoso in Las Vegas, USA in August 2014, PATA Travel Mart 2014 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, IMEX America in Las Vegas, USA in October 2014, World Travel Market (WTM) in London in November 2014, ILTM 2014 in Cannes, France, amongst others.
  • The road shows for promoting the tourism destinations and products of country organized in USA, Europe and China, South America and France in collaboration with stake holders.
  • For promotion of Indian Cuisine, support has been extended to Indian Food Festivals by sponsoring Indian Chefs for the food festivals organized in Santa Domingo, Buenos Aires, Asuncion, Johannesburg, Durban, Harare, Algiers, Stockholm, Beirut, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Nicosia and Mauritius.
  • For greater visibility of “Incredible India”, outdoor advertising campaigns including advertising at airports and on buses / trams, hoardings & billboards have been undertaken at prominent places in the important cities including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Belgrade, Cape Town, Dubai, Durban, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, Kuwait, Milan, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Singapore, Stockholm, Tokyo and Toronto.
  • Launch of Jammu & Kashmir campaign in private TV channels and Doordarshan. The theme of the TVC on Kashmir was ‘Once again ready to welcome guests'. The campaign was basically released to convey the message that Kashmir was ready to receive tourists after the floods which affected Srinagar and surrounding areas.
  • 9 City Maps have been uploaded on the official website of Ministry of Tourism.
  • Launch of Social Awareness Campaign on private TV channels, Doordarshan, digital cinemas and outdoor advertising.
  • Ministry of Tourism has decided to showcase “Live Streaming Videos” of important tourist centres, identified by the State Governments/UT Administrations, on Incredible India website ( of the Ministry.
  • Calendar 2015: The Incredible India Calendar 2015 turns back the pages of history and showcase some of the country's greatest architectural marvels as they were existing years before.

Use of Technology for service delivery

  • The Website has been upgraded. New features such as Walking Tours, Audio-Tours, Holiday Planner and 360 degree view of monuments have been added on the website. In addition, selection of system integrator for developing new website of the Ministry has been initiated.
  • The Android Mobile Application of Incredible India's official trip planning and destination discovery App was launched by the Ministry of Tourism this year.
  • Contents of the promotional website of MOT are being translated in 8 International languages viz. Arabic, Chinese (simplified) French, German, Japanese, Russian, Korean and Spanish.
  • Online Financial Accounting System (FAS) introduced in the Overseas India Tourism offices.
  • Mobile application for listing of classified Hotels and recognized Tour Operator/Travel Agents has been developed.

Hotel and Restaurants

  • Guidelines revised for classification / re- classification for the hotels under 5 Star, 4 Star, Heritage Classic - with alcohol service or without alcohol service.
  • Sensitization workshops on Bed & Breakfast / Home stay with all States /UTs and stake holders of tourism industry held. This will add room capacity at tourist destination in the country.
  • List of Bed & Breakfast / Home stay establishment posted on the website of Ministry of Tourism
  • Hotel Classification/re-classification/application system simplified.

Niche Tourism

  • Comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) for three important Sectors of Tourism Industry- Accommodation, Tour Operators and Beaches, Backwaters, Lakes & Rivers launched in August 2014 and a workshop held on the subject for stakeholders.
  • Action taken for inviting foreign adventure tour operators to familiarize them with the Incredible Indian Himalayas.
  • Guidelines for promotion of Golf Tourism revised
  • Guidelines for the Promotion of Wellness & Medical tourism revised
  • Scheme for use of Satellite Phones for Adventure Tour Operators drafted.
  • Revised Guidelines for the Promotion of Wellness & Medical Tourism formulated.

Market Research

  • With a view to prepare third tourism satellite account for India for 2014-15, 2 baseline surveys on Domestic Tourism expenditure and International Passenger undertaken through NSSO and ISI Kolkata respectively.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.