Indian tourist arrivals from GCC up on e-visa
Dubai - India has emerged as a destination for medical/wellness travel in the GCC.
India's e-visa facility, currently available to 167 nationalities, recorded a 30 per cent growth in issuance and has been largely instrumental in giving a major boost to tourist arrivals from the Middle East, the country's top diplomat in Dubai said on Sunday.
Vipul, Consul General of India in Dubai, said the e-visa facility, which was recently extended to the citizens of Saudi Arabia, has been a game-changer for the tourism industry growth of one the world's most sought-after travel destinations.
Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market, Vipul said India, which is endowed with abundant tourist attractions and immense opportunities related to sight-seeing, spirituality, wellness, shopping, sports or other activities, has a lot to learn from Dubai in promoting tourism.
"The Government of India has liberalised and simplified visa regime for tourists and our consulate has also played its true part in facilitating travel of Emiratis and foreign nationals to India from the UAE. I am sure that our participation in the Arabian Travel Market will enhance tourism inflow to India," he said.
He said e-visa, valid for entry through 25 designated airports as well as five designated seaports and available under three sub-categories - Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa and e-Medical Visa, has contributed to the increase in foreign tourist arrivals to India.
The India pavilion at the ATM is showcasing India as a "365 Days Destination." About 20 participants from India representing the State Tourism Department of Kerala, Air India, IRCTC, Tour Operators, Travel Agents, Hoteliers/Resorts, Wellness Spas and Ayurveda Centres will be present in the India Pavilion to showcase their showcase their diverse tourism products and services.
As per the report of World Travel & Tourism Council, India is ranked at third place in Power Ranking and has jumped from 7th place in 2017 to 3rd place in 2018.
Vibhava Tripathi, assistant director general, India's Ministry of Tourism, said India has emerged as a destination for medical/wellness travel in the GCC. "The percentage of foreign tourist arrivals visiting India for medical treatment has been increasing over the years and growing rapidly."
Tripathi said India is poised to become a hub for medical tourism because of several factors including world class hospitals with latest technology, highly skilled Indian physicians and surgeons, cost effective treatment, excellent quality of care and nursing, less waiting time for availing of medical services, traditional healthcare therapies like Ayurveda & Yoga combined with allopathic treatment providing a holistic wellness destination.
He said the country's tourism outlook is certainly very promising with an upward trend in foreign tourist arrivals. "India received around 10.04 million FTAs in 2017 registering a growth of 14 per cent over 2016. The Gulf and the Middle East region are an important market for India. There has been a consistent and positive growth of FTAs from this region to India and the aim is to further accelerate the pace of growth rate in international tourist arrivals over the next three years through a multi-pronged approach, including proactive marketing strategies in partnership with our tourism stakeholders," said Tripathi.