India’s tourism industry is optimistic about the future and has ambitious plans. Speaking in front of the press at ITB Berlin, Minister Alphons Joseph Kannanthanam, who is also responsible for tourism, intends to double revenue from tourism and the number of tourists visiting India from around the world in the next three to four years. To do this his team will be launching several new campaigns.
In 2017 the number of tourists from around the world rose to 10.2 million, an increase of 15.6 per cent. According to the ministry, last year 272,154 German tourists visited the land of the Taj Mahal, magnificent temples, innumerable elephants and 8,000 kilometres of ocean coastline, compared to 265,928 in 2016. In the meantime, more and more German visitors are making use of an electronic tourist visa for easier entry to the country. Currently, tourists from 163 countries can obtain their visas online.
As regards new campaigns, adventure tourism will be a dominant feature in 2018. According to the minister, the Himalayas, the countryside in Jammu, Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh are fascinating places, for skiing, climbing, trekking, white water rafting and paragliding, for example. ’Incredible India’ is also the land of festivals. Every six years millions gather for the religious festival of Mini Kumbh Mela, and in the words of the ministry Diwali is probably the “world’s biggest festival of lights and fireworks.“
In India’s northeastern states a campaign promotes community tourism and meetings with local residents. That way visitors can discover the local lifestyle, culture and hospitality. Safety is also a big priority for the government, an example being the introduction of a 24-hour emergency line for tourists in 12 languages, including in German. The hotline can be reached free of charge at +1 800 111 363 or by dialling 1363 in India.
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