Agra's Taj Mahal, India's top destination for international tourists
INDIA receives less than one per cent international tourists annually and their average stay in the country has come down by two days, Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said on Monday (November 30).
Replying a question in Lok Sabha, Sharma said India received just 0.68 per cent of the world tourists every year and efforts have been made to attract more and more international tourists to the country.
"Various initiatives have been taken by the government to attract more foreign tourists that include e-tourist visa, providing financial assistance to state governments launching 12 theme based tourist circuits," he said during question hour.
The Minister said in 2011-12, on an average foreign tourists in India used to stay 20-22 days at a stretch which has come down to 18-20 days now.
Sharma said Tourisim Ministry has launched a new scheme 'Swadesh Darshan' for development of theme-based tourist circuits in a way that caters to both mass and niche tourism in a holistic manner.
The 12 circuits are North-East India circuit, Buddhist circuit, Himalayan circuit, Coastal circuit, Krishna circuit, Desert circuit, Tribal circuit, Eco circuit, Wildlife circuit, Rural circuit, Spiritual circuit and Ramayana circuit.
"A series of promotional activities are being undertaken in tourist generating markets overseas through the India Tourism Offices abroad with the objective of showcasing India's tourism potential and promoting tourism to the country," he said.
These promotional activities include participation in travel fairs and exhibitions, organising road shows, Know India seminars and workshops, organising and supporting Indian food and cultural festivals, publication of brochures, offering joint advertising and brochure support and inviting media personalities, tour operators and opinion makers to visit the country under the hospitality programme of the Ministry, he said.