`India witnessing high growth in tourism’

April 15th, 2008 - 9:59 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Ambika Soni

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) India is attracting more foreign travellers and is witnessing a consistently high growth in the tourism sector for the past three years, the Rajya Sabha was informed Tuesday. Minister of Tourism Ambika Soni, however, said Singapore received more tourists than India last year.

Quoting the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), she said there were about 7.59 million international tourist arrivals in Singapore in 2006 as compared to 4.45 million foreign tourist arrivals in India.

Last year, an estimated five million tourists visited the country, as compared to 4.45 million in 2006 and 3.92 million in 2005.

“India has been achieving consistently a high growth rate of 13.3 percent, 13.5 percent and 12.4 percent in foreign tourist arrivals in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively,” she said.

She said some of the important steps being taken to attract more foreign tourists in India include the integrated development of tourism infrastructure at tourist circuits and destinations, growth of hotel infrastructure particularly budget hotels and augmentation of air capacity.

The plan is to enhance availability of skilled manpower, according greater focus in emerging markets particularly in the regions of China, North-East Asia and South-East Asia.

Soni said no specific incentives have been provided to the tourists of any country, but the facility of long-term multiple entry tourist visas of five year duration has been introduced for the nationals of 18 countries.

These countries are France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Vietnam.

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