India: Destination of Choice
Date: Monday , May 31, 2004
2002 was a disastrous year for the tourism industry in India when the number of visitors dipped. It is a different story today. The number of international travelers flocking to India is on the rise. Buoyed by the revival of tourism in Jammu & Kashmir and the promotion of new concepts like health tourism, foreign tourist arrivals to India shot up in 2003. For the first time, foreign tourist arrivals to India crossed the three million mark in 2003-04 and it is tipped to go up by 25 per cent this year. The overall growth for the year compared to 2002-03 was 16 per cent.
Health tourism has caught up in a big way, particularly in states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala where tourist traffic growth has gone up by 12 percent compared to last year. A spurt in health tourism is attributed to allopathic and ayurvedic institutions that are luring foreign visitors to take up complete treatment packages.
Another positive development last year was the re-opening of resorts in Kashmir for tourists.
The government has pumped money to improve infrastructure, security and hospitality services in Kashmir. The Department of Tourism has been carrying out a special drive to improve heritage sites like Ajanta-Ellora, Hampi and Mahabalipuram.There will a promotional series to mark the 300th anniversary celebrations of the Taj Mahal. This will draw visitors and fuel the growth of tourism, says the government.