India awaiting

India  awaiting
Despite economic downturn, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country in 2013 showed an increase of about 4.1 per cent over 2012. It also saw a growth of 6.3 per cent in December 2013 compared with December 2012, according to a data released by the ministry of tourism.

During January-December 2013, 68.48 lakh tourists visited India compared with 65.78 lakh in 2012. Foreign exchange earnings (FEE) from tourism in rupee terms during 2013 were Rs 1,05,836 crore with a growth of 12 per cent over the same period in 2012. FEE from tourism in terms of the US dollar during January to December 2013 were $18.133 billion with a growth of 2.2 per cent. FEEs during the month of December 2013 were Rs 11,680 crore as compared to Rs 10,549 crore in December 2012.

But still the market claims it is not enough. Kamlesh Barot, ex-president, Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India said, “We have not been able to meet the 10 million-target we have set to achieve by 2010. In 2013, we have received only around 6.8 million foreign tourists, much less compared to what smaller nations such as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia receive annually. Our efforts to promote and market India have not been quite successful.”

According to an industry expert, “Thanks to our policy, foreign tourist arrivals have not picked up in India. It is important to implement the goods and service tax. The travel and hospitality sector has been taxed in a way which leads to confusion among foreign tourists who are clueless on why they have to pay such high taxes compared to other Asian countries.”

Domestic tourism continued to be the main contributor, providing much needed resilience.

soumonty.kanungo@mydigitalfc.com

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