Tourism in India

From Bharatpedia, an open encyclopedia

Chambal River Valley near Kota, Rajasthan very popular destination in rajasthan
Shola Grasslands and forests in the Kudremukha National Park, Western Ghats, Karnataka during Monsoon season
The Taj Mahal, Agra. The epitome of Mughal architecture.
White Sand Beach, Bakkhali , West Bengal
Dwarka temple in Gujarat, dedicated to Krishna, who is considered as 'King of Dwarka' according to Hinduism.
Pahalgam is a popular tourist destination and hill station.Its lush green meadows and pristine waters attract thousands of tourists from all over the world each year
Munnar hill station, a very popular hill station in India
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is a tulip garden in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. It is the largest tulip garden in Asia spread over an area of about 30 ha (74 acres).

Tourism in India is important for the country's economy and is growing rapidly. The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated 13.2 lakh crore (US$190 billion) or 5.8% of India's GDP and supported 32.1 million jobs in 2021. Even though, these numbers were lower than the pre-pandemic figures; the country's economy witnessed a significant growth in 2021 after the massive downturn during 2020. The sector is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 7.8% to 33.8 lakh crore (US$470 billion) by 2031 (7.2% of GDP).[1] In October 2015, India's medical tourism sector was estimated to be worth US$3 billion, and it is projected to grow to US$7–8 billion by 2020.[2] In 2014, 184,298 foreign patients travelled to India to seek medical treatment.[3]

Over 17.9 million foreign tourists arrived in India in 2019 compared to 17.4 million in 2018, representing a growth of 3.5%.[4] This makes India the 22nd most visited nation in the world and 8th in Asia and Pacific .[5] Domestic tourist visits to all states and union territories numbered 1,036.35 million in 2012, an increase of 16.5% from 2011.[6] In 2012, National Geographic's Traveller magazine named the state Kerala as one of the "ten paradises of the world" and "50 must see destinations of a lifetime".[7] In 2014, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh were the most popular states for tourists.[8] Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Agra and Jaipur were the five most visited cities of India by foreign tourists during the year 2015. As of 2017, worldwide, Delhi is ranked 28th by the number of foreign tourist arrivals, while Mumbai is ranked 30th, Chennai 43rd, Agra 45th, Jaipur 52nd and Kolkata 90th.[9]

The World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Development Index 2021, which replaced its previous Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, ranks India 54th out of 117 countries overall.[10] The last edition of the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, published in 2019, had ranked India 34th out of 140 countries overall. The report ranked the price competitiveness of India's tourism sector 13th out of 140 countries. It mentioned that India has quite good air transport infrastructure (ranked 33rd), particularly given the country's stage of development, and reasonable ground and port infrastructure (ranked 28th). The country also scored high on natural resources (ranked 14th), and cultural resources and business travel (ranked 8th).[11] The World Tourism Organization reported that India's receipts from tourism during 2012 ranked 16th in the world, and 7th among Asian and Pacific countries.[12]

The Ministry of Tourism designs national policies for the development and promotion of tourism. In the process, the Ministry consults and collaborates with other stakeholders in the sector including various central ministries/agencies, state governments, union territories and private sector representatives. Concerted efforts are being made to promote niche tourism products such as rural, cruise, medical and eco-tourism.[13] The Ministry of Tourism maintains the Incredible India campaign focused on promoting tourism in India.

Visa policy of India[edit]

Visa policy of India
  Free movement
  Visa on arrival
  Visa required
  Government clearance required in advance

India requires citizens of most countries to hold a valid passport and apply for a travel visa at their local Indian embassy or consulate before their visit. Travellers can apply directly by mail or in person, or through their local travel services company. In 2014, India implemented an online method for citizens of 156 countries to apply for an e-Tourist Visa.[14][15]

Nationals of Bhutan, Maldives, and Nepal do not require a travel visa to enter India. Citizens of Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, DPR Korea, Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nepal, South Africa and Uruguay are not required to pay a fee when obtaining an Indian visa.[16][17]

A Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required to enter the states of Nagaland and Sikkim and some parts of the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. A Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required to enter the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and parts of Sikkim. Special permits are needed to visit the Lakshadweep islands.[18]

e-Tourist Visa[edit]

As a measure to boost tourism,[19] the Indian Government implemented a new visa policy in November 2014, allowing tourists and business visitors to obtain a "visa on arrival" at 28 international airports, by acquiring an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) online before arrival, without having to visit an Indian consulate or visa centre.[20] In April 2015, the "visa on arrival" scheme was renamed "e-Tourist Visa" (or "e-TV") to avoid confusion.[21]

The e-Tourist Visa facility requires a tourist to apply online on a secure Government of India website, at least four to thirty days before the date of travel. If approved, the visitor must print and carry the approved visa with their travel documents. The visa allows holders of an ETA to enter and stay anywhere in India for a period of ninety days except for citizens of US, UK, Japan and Canada. Citizens of these countries can stay for up to 180 days at a time.[22] an ETA can be obtained twice in a single calendar year.[14]

India first introduced its "visa on arrival" facility on 27 November 2014, to citizens of the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu and Vietnam.[14] On 30 July 2015, the facility was extended to China, Macau and Hong Kong.[23] On 15 August 2015, the facility was further extended to citizens of Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, East Timor, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, Malaysia, Mongolia, Monaco, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Seychelles, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.[24] The facility should eventually be expanded to about 180 countries.

Chilika Lake, the largest lagoon of India

As a result of the new visa policy, 56,477 tourists arrived on an e-Tourist Visa during October 2015, compared with 2,705 tourist arrivals during October 2014 (just before the facility was introduced), representing a 1987.9% increase. During the period from January to October 2015, a total of 258,182 tourists arrived on an e-Tourist Visa, a 1073.8% increase on the 21,995 tourist arrivals during the same period in 2014 (before the e-Tourist Visa was available).[25]


Foreign tourist arrivals and foreign exchange earnings[edit]

Source countries for foreign tourist arrivals in India in 2019[26]
Rank Country Number Share in %
1  Bangladesh 2,577,727 23.58
2  United States 1,512,032 13.83
3  United Kingdom 1,000,292 9.15
4  Australia 367,241 3.36
5  Canada 351,859 3.22
6 China China (mainland) 339,442 3.11
7  Malaysia 334,579 3.06
8  Sri Lanka 330,861 3.03
9  Germany 264,973 2.42
10  Russia 251,319 2.3
Total of top 10 7,330,325 67.06

Foreign and domestic tourist visits by State[edit]

World Heritage Sites[edit]

There are 40 World Heritage Sites in India that are recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of August 2019.[29][30]


North India
South India
Central India
West India
East India
NorthEast India

Outline of Tourism in India[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. "India's Travel & Tourism could surpass pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022". WTTC. Archived from the original on 30 September 2022. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  2. "Indian medical tourism industry to touch $8 billion by 2020: Grant Thornton – The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 18 March 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  3. "Promotion of Medical Tourism". Press Information Bureau. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  4. "UNWTO World Tourism Barometer and Statistical Annex, December 2020". UNWTO World Tourism Barometer (English Version). 18 (7): 1–36. doi:10.18111/wtobarometereng.2020.18.1.7. ISSN 1728-9246. S2CID 241989515. Archived from the original on 27 November 2022. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  5. "Most Visited Countries 2021". Archived from the original on 6 December 2021. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  6. "India's Domestic Tourists increase by 16% crossing 1 Billion Mark". Indo-Asian News Service. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  7. Aditi Sharma. "Kerala: A vacation in paradise - Times of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 16 January 2023. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  8. "Tamil Nadu, UP pip Goa as tourist havens". Archived from the original on 28 July 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  9. Bremner, Caroline. "Top 100 City Destinations Ranking" (PDF). Euromonitor International. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 December 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  10. "Travel & Tourism Development Index 2021 Rebuilding for a Sustainable and Resilient Future" (PDF). World Economic Forum. p. 13. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 July 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  11. "Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  12. "Rank in Tourism" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, Government of India. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  13. "Annual Report 2017–18" (PDF). Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. p. 27. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "e-Visa". Government of India. Archived from the original on 19 November 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  15. "India launches e-visa facility for 43 countries". Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 19 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  16. "Indian Visa fee schedule for all nationalities" (PDF). Consulate General of India, Hong Kong. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  17. "Country/Territory Wise e-Visa Fee" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  18. "Visa Information – India". Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  19. "India announces new visa rules to boost tourism numbers". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  20. "India to extend visa-on-arrival to tourists from 180 countries". Zee News. Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  21. "Government Changes Name of Visa on Arrival Scheme to E-Tourist Visa". NDTV. Archived from the original on 24 April 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  22. "2019 Updated India eVisa information". Archived from the original on 5 November 2019. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  23. "Extension of e-Tourist Visa scheme to China, Hong Kong and Macau from tomorrow". Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Archived from the original on 17 April 2023. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  24. "Press Note – Extension of e-Tourist Visa scheme to 36 more countries and 7 more airports from 15th August 2015" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 January 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  25. "1988% growth registered in tourist visa-on-arrival in October". The Times of India.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 "India Tourism Statistics at a Glance" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 October 2021. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  27. "India Tourism Statistics at a Glance 2018" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  28. "India Tourism Statistics at a Glance 2018" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  29. "Properties Inscribed on the World heritage List". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  30. "World Heritage Day: Five must-visit sites in India". Archived from the original on 19 April 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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