Contributors : Allan Harold Rex, Yeshwanth Kumar, Dilip. Bahis Bahzad
Out of all the self-inflicted wounds that India brought on itself from demonetization and the internal hullabaloo from the debates on anti-nationalism, hasn’t taken away the penchant of mysticism that foreign nationals still associate with India. Impressively, the country is becoming an increasingly favorable location to travellers and visitors from across the world. This has been largely due to a manifold of reasons; one being the ease of access of Visa for foreign tourists, the center has allowed visa – on- arrival for foreign nationals from 43 countries of the world; the Incredible India mother campaign is something that has taken over the world by a storm, coupled along with the individual campaigns run by each state; India is surely making its own terrain in the tourist map of the world. The most popular of the individual state run campaigns include those by Madhya Pradesh Tourism; Hindustan ka dil, Gujarat Tourism; Khushboo Gujarat Ki, Kerala Tourism; Gods Own Country.
In their quest for self-exploration, through eastern philosophy and unblocking their present day woes in life through past life regression therapies ; foreign nationals have explored their way and some have even setup their own business and settled down in the subcontinent.
This liking for foreigners and their favorite tourist spots has received a favorite spot in the centers budget allocation as well . This gravid hike in the allocation of budget for the Tourism sector has spiked up for the year 2016 by about 57 % from the year 2015. It only precedes after a record dip in the number of foreign tourist arrival in the year 2015, which was the lowest dip the country
had seen from 2010. This large dip in the tourist arrival from 2015, can be attributed to the economic slowdown that hit Russia and the Far East. It was also believed that without a significant improvement in the global economy, there wouldn’t be any change in the Indian market. But this wasn’t the case when it came to 2016 when there was yet another unprecedented growth in the tourist arrival to the country. The launch of the new Incredible India campaign and the initiative to provide electronic visa on arrival to the travellers has also led to a significant hike in 2016.
With the data gathered from the data.gov.in, we come to infer that from 2001 from to 2010, there has been a steady influx of tourists from USA and the UK
followed by visitors from neighboring countries like Bangladesh and Srilanka.
The illustrated graphs show that 2008 was another year in which we saw a relative dip in the number of visits from foreign nationals to India. This can be largely attributed to the global economic recession that happened during that year.
The western countries were the first to be hit by the economic recession but the recession slowly move towards the other countries in Asia by 2009 and this can be seen in the downfall of visits from the neighboring countries like Bangladesh and Srilanka in 2009 while in 2008 there was no significant change at all.
Distance as a Character which affect the no.of Visitors to India
This is the graph which shows the percentage of visitors to India in a time period of 2005-2009, from fifteen countries. The percentage of the visitors is charted against the distance between India and that country.
Is distance from a foreign country to India really a character which affects the number visitors to India. The data from govt of India website proves distance really matters. When we look into the percentage of visitors to India in a time period of five years which is 2005-2009 it shows that Bangladesh, Srilanka, China, Malasia, Singapore, Russia, Southkorea, Japan, Italy, France, UK, Australia, Canada, USA these are the fifteen countries from which lot of visitors came to India. Almost eighteen million people where visited to India in those five years. If we look at the countries which come under 6000 km from India there will be almost 8 countries, from which almost 36 percentage of visitors came to India and there rest seventy four percentage of visitors are from different parts of the world which is 7000-14000 km away from India. So that its clear that more than one third of the visitors to India is from the neighboring countries itself.
Bangladesh, Srilanka, China, Malasia, Singapore, Russia, Southkorea, these are the seven countries which come under 6000km distance from India. So if we look at these each countries year wisely we can a constant growth in the number of visitors just like in 2005 there was almost four and half lakh visitors to India from Bangladesh which is just one thousand two hundred km away from India and in the very next year there was a increase of the number of visitors with 30000 which means there were 9% more people to visit in 2006 than the previous year. In the same way if we look at the data of Srilanka which is also just one thousand four hundred kilometer away from India, it shows that there was one and half lakh visitors to India in 2006 and in the next year it just increased to more than two lakhs visitors which means there was a hike 75%. While its almost same in the case of china, in 2005 there there was almost 45000 visitors to India and in 2006 it turns into 6300 which means there was growth of 72% . These three countries came nearest to India in the visitors graph and from all these three countries there was a hike in the number of visitors to India from 2005 to 2009. While all these were about big hikes there were also countries like Malasia, Singapore, Russia, South Korea there was a constant flow of visitors which sometimes show big growth and sometimes a slight growth in the number of visitors to India yearly between 2005 and 2009.
Now its clear that there was constant flow of visitors from the eight so called nearest countries, but in order to make it clear that distance plays an important role in the number of visitors to India we should look into the data of the rest of the countries like Italy, France, UK, Australia, Canada, USA which is not close to India.
It is impossible to tell there wasn’t lot of visitors from these countries in those five years, actually there was lot of visitors from some of the countries like USA, UK and all. And if we look into the average of the visitors from those countries in 2005-09 years its like the 21 percentage of the visitors are from US and there is another 21% of visitors from Uk also. From France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada also had 5.3%, 4.9%, 2.3%, 3.6%, 5.6% of visitors to India respectively. Which means there was lot of visitors (two third of the visitors are from these countries) from all these countries which is not near to India, but it doesn’t tell that distance doesn’t matter in the number of visitors to India because when we look into each individual countries year wisely its clear that there was there was countries like Germany, Italy, France, UK all these country had decrease in number of visitors in some of the years when compared to the previous one. This means there wasn’t a constant flow of visitors from these countries without decrease in number of visitors. But it was not a common case in countries which is nearest to India. So it means that distance really matters in the case of number of foreign visitors.
Share of top 10 States/UTs in terms of foreign
India is the fastest growing economy in the World; still it is far behind in tourism. Due to lack of infrastructure and promotion of the tourism in India, tourism is not much big industry in the country compare to other developed countries. Still, India is steadily growing at good rate in tourism sector due to growth of information available on the Internet. It is very much easy for anyone to get required information on the Internet. Only a few states are popular tourist destinations across the World. According to the ministry these are the ten most popular states for foreign tourists. The ministry arrived at the data going by the number of foreign tourist arrivals in each of these states.Tamil Nadu has topped the popularity charts for both domestic and foreign tourists for the second year in a row upsetting Maharashtra, Goa and Kerala. TN received 4.68 million foreign tourists in 2015, a tad higher than 4.66 million in 2014. Maharashtra came second with 4.41 million foreign tourists, thanks mainly to Mumbai’s busy airport that acts as a gateway for India. Uttar Pradesh with the famous Taj Mahal attracted 3.1 million tourists and is in the third place while Delhi with 2.38 million foreign tourists came in fourth. Others states that are in the top 10 included West Bengal (1.49 million), Rajasthan (1.48 mill), Kerala (0.98 million), Bihar (0.92 million), Karnataka (0.64 million) and Goa(0.54 million). Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal have retained their previous rankings at sixth, seventh and eighth. Gujarat, showing significant improvement has risen to rank ninth leaving Rajasthan at the tenth and causing Jharkhand to slip out of the top 10 most visited states.
India does not include non-resident Indians (NRIs) while counting the tourist arrivals from overseas. “We don’t count the NRI arrivals in the inflow of foreign tourists. If I were to add them, it will add another 5.5 million. Tourists are a major source of foreign exchange earnings too. The ministry said foreign exchange earnings from tourism grew nearly 8 per cent to $14.92 billion in the first eight months this calendar year. The ministry compiles foreign tourists arrivals on the basis of data received from the Bureau of Immigration. The US, Bangladesh and the UK are the top three source countries accounting for about 40 per cent of arrivals. According to the tourism ministry report, there has been a decline in foreign tourist footfall from almost every country . Most of the tourists still come from the US, but the UK, which was second on the list, has now slipped to third position. If we compare the data of foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) in 2013, the share of the US in FTAs was 15.58 million tourists, while in 2014 it was only 14.57 million tourists.
For the UK, it was 11.62 in 2013 while in 2014, it’s only 10.92.However, tour operators say that even though the numbers are fluctuating, Delhi will eventually bounce back