India’s tourism industry has made significant strides in 2015 and climbed 13 positions in the global tourism and travel competitive index, according to a World Economic Forum report.

Thanks to the stellar performance, India improved its ranking from the 52nd position from the erstwhile 65. During the period Indian tourism also won many awards. That includes the 'Best Feature Award' for the India Tourism Stand at the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa 2015 at Cape Town, South Africa in April 2015, reports Mail Today.

The foreign exchange earnings from tourism also surged. The earnings were Rs 1,12,958 crore (US$1.7 billion) between January and November 2015. It was a fair increase over the same period in 2014.

 In terms of foreign tourist arrivals there was a drastic surge. “Foreign tourist arrivals from January to November, 2015 were 7.10 million, representing an increase of 4.5 per cent over the same period of the previous year, which was 6.79 million,” said a statement released by the Ministry of Tourism.

The launch of e-Tourist visa in November, 2014 was a land mark. It was a catalyst for prospective visitors to apply for Indian visa online from his/her country of residence without going to the Indian Mission. “During January-November, 2015, the number of tourists arrived an e-Tourist visa was 3,41,683 tourists registering 1268.8 percent growth over the previous year,” the statement said.

Other initiatives that gave a big push to the tourism industry included the National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) under which a Swadesh Darshan Scheme was launched. Eight projects are now running under PRASAD.

They include two for Mathura and one each for Gaya, Puri, Amritsar, Ajmer, Kamakhya and Amravati. The investment is around Rs 187.81 crores (US$275 million). The Ministry of Tourism also said its 'Welcome Booklet' distributed at immigration counters in airports has been a useful guide in helping foreign tourists on their arrival.

Editor's Pick