The Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism K. J. Alphons informed the Lok Sabha yesterday that India is among one of the highest growing tourist economies in the world in 2017. While replying to a starred question, the Minister said that there was more than 14 per cent growth in number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India in 2017 over 2016 along with a 19.2 per cent increase (in US dollar terms) in the Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism for the same period. The Minister also informed the Parliament that in 2017, Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism was Rs. 1, 77, 874 crores. He also added that India ranks 26th in the world in arrivals of global tourists.
Alphons said that the Ministry of Tourism, as part of promotional activities has recently released 3 promotional videos through various Social Media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and You Tube under the ‘Incredible India 2.0’ brand-line and these videos cumulatively received 67 million views till date. The Minister expressed his hope that people will see these theme based videos on Yoga, Wildlife and more tourists shall travel to India.
The Minister also disclosed that the Ministry of Tourism under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan- Integrated development of theme based tourist circuits and PRASHAD- National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive provides central financial assistance to State Governments/UT Administrations/Central Agencies for development of tourism infrastructure in the country. Under Swadesh Darshan scheme, fifteen thematic circuits have been identified for development, namely, North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Heritage Circuit, Tirthankar Circuit & Sufi Circuit.
Till date, Ministry has sanctioned 69 projects worth for Rs.5711.79 crore to 29 States/UTs under the scheme. Under PRASHAD Scheme, Ministry has identified 26 sites in 19 states for development and till date, 24 projects have been sanctioned for Rs.727.16 crore under the scheme.