Arab tourist traffic to India set for 20 per cent surge

DUBAI — Arab tourist traffic to India, which grew 10.2 per cent to 126,873 in 2005, is set for a 20 per cent surge this year, a senior official from New Delhi said.

By Isaac John (Chief Business Reporter)

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Published: Fri 5 May 2006, 11:19 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:42 PM

Rajeev Talwar, Additional Director General (Tourism), Government of India, said various initiatives are under way to provide Middle Eastern visitors with a world-class experience that differentiates itself as a spiritually enhancing, culturally enriching, physically invigorating and mentally rejuvenating experience.

The first quarter of 2006 has shown a 24 per cent growth in Arab tourists over the same period in 2005. "Some 35,989 tourists from the Middle East have visited India in the first quarter of 2006 and we expect an overall growth in 2006 of over 20 per cent from the region this year," he said at the Arab Travel Market.

Talwar said improvements in accessibility and infrastructure, well-trained human resources, diversification of the tourism product and an integrated marketing campaign under the banner 'Incredible India' have helped India achieve an unprecedented growth, in terms of both, volume and value.

There has been an increase of 26.8 per cent during 2004 and 13.2 per cent during 2005 in foreign tourist arrivals to the country. Foreign Exchange earnings during the same period increased by 35 per cent and 20.2 per cent respectively in US dollar terms.

The first three months of the current financial year 2006 have seen a further increase of 12.1 per cent in foreign tourist arrivals to the country, as compared to the corresponding period in 2005.

A high-level delegation of Ministers of state governments and senior officials from India Tourism are attending ATM 2006 to further strengthen the concerted effort in pursuit of making India the top tourist destination of the world.

The delegation from India included Dr. Wilfred De Souza, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Goa, K. C. Venugopal, Minister for Tourism, Kerala; B. Sriramulu, Minister for Tourism, Karnataka; Kawkab Hameed, Minister for Tourism, Uttar Pradesh; Alok Kumar Jam, Principal Secretary (Tourism), Uttaranchal; and V. Nagi Reddy, Secretary to Government (Andhra Pradesh). Talwar said the past two years have been good for the tourism sector and it is not surprising that world bodies like WTO and WITC forecast that growth in Indian tourism in the next decade would be much higher than any country in this region.

"India, today, is a transformed tourist destination — competing to give the best. The Lonely Planet in a survey of 167 countries selected India as one of the top five destinations of the world."

He said the fundamentals of the Indian economy have become strong and sustainable. "The macro-economic indicators are at present the best in the history of independent India with high growth, foreign exchange reserves, foreign investment and robust increase in exports. India today, is the second fastest growing economy of the world. At the present growth rate, India's GDP will reach $1 trillion by 2011 and $3 trillion by 2020.

Kerala Tourism Minister Venugopal said product diversification is also being given due consideration and importance. Medical Tourism, a new product has recently been launched and is being promoted in key markets like Kerala.

"India not only has a rich heritage in the areas of traditional and natural medicine, but has also made tremendous achievements in the field of modern medicine and health care techniques, with state of the art infrastructure and technology available in the country. This expertise is now available at comparatively cheaper rates for tourists wishing to avail of the facilities. The recent introduction of the Medical Visa would help in the growth of Medical Tourism. Under this visa, a patient along with an attendant can come to India for a period of one year, which can be extended further up to three years," he said.

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