India appears to have overcome the issue of women’s safety and dollar less growth to draw 10 per cent more tourists than last year. Significantly the increase in tourists came during non-peak season between May and October 2014. Over 32 lakh foreign tourists visited India between May and October this year as compared to last year, according to tourism minister Mahesh Sharma.
August saw the sharpest increase of foreign tourists visiting India, registering an increase of 16.9 per cent as compared to last year while May saw a marginal hike of 0.8 per cent as compared to the same month last year. The top five states to receive foreign tourists in 2013 were Maharashtra (4.16 million), Tamil Nadu (3.99 million), Delhi (2.30 million), Uttar Pradesh (2.05 million) and Rajasthan (1.44 million). Despite this increase, India is only 41st position in the world in tourist arrivals with a fraction of the tourists as compared to smaller south east Asian countries like Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Sharma added that the Tourist Visa-on-Arrival (TVoA) enabled with the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme was launched on November 27 this year for nationals of 43 countries for a stay of 30 days. Earlier, the TVoA facility was available for nationals of 12 countries. The restriction of two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India on tourist visa and TVoA has been lifted with effect from December 4, 2012. The move is expected to increase tourists to the country.