India targets doubling foreign tourist arrivals by 2010September 4th, 2008 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) The government has targeted attracting 10 million foreign tourists by 2010 and add four terminals for pleasure cruise vessels, it announced here Thursday. “Keeping in mind the very positive tourism trends and the sector’s potential for additional employment and revenue generation, we have set a target of 10 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2010,” said tourism secretary Shilabhadra Banerjee at a conference on cruise tourism.
“If we achieve this target, it would result in an inflow of $9 billion in foreign exchange earnings and create 15 million additional jobs,” Banerjee said at the conference organised by industry lobby Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The government has also announced its plan to set up cruise terminals at Chennai, Mumbai, Goa and Kochi ports.
“The government proposes to give incentives to these ports so they could strike a balance between the high revenue generating cargo ships and cruise ships,” said shipping secretary A.P.V.N. Sarma.
He said the government was in the process of ironing out certain issues like tax on bunkers and speeding up immigration procedures to boost cruise tourism.
India’s cruise tourism industry could witness an over three-fold rise in the visit of tourists at Indian ports from the current level of 180,000 to 600,000 by 2010.
Tourism secretary Banerjee also underlined the high potential of cruise tourism in the country, saying India recorded a 310 percent increase in cruise tourism visitors between 2002 and 2006.
He said while overall tourism arrivals grew at 14.3 percent, foreign exchange receipts increased by 24.3 percent in 2007.
In absolute terms, 5.08 million foreign tourists visited India and spent $10.73 billion last year.
Banerjee said the share of tourism in India’s GDP and employment for 2008 is projected at 6.36 percent and 10.17 percent, respectively, increasing from 5.83 percent of the GDP and 8.27 percent of total employment in 2002-03.