With foreign tourist footfalls on the rise, the government hopes that number of such tourists coming to India may reach pre-pandemic level by 2024.
In written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy said that foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) were 64,32,000 in January-September period of 2023 as compared to 64,37,000 in 2022.
The Minister said that as per the study ‘India and the Coronavirus Pandemic: Economic Losses for Households Engaged in Tourism and Policies for Recovery’, conducted by the Ministry of Tourism, domestic tourism is likely to reach the pre-pandemic level, by 2024-25.
“Further on the basis of data received from BOI (Bureau of Immigration), Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) are likely to reach pre-pandemic level by 2024,” he said.
Following the outbreak of Coronavirus in early 2020, the government had restricted international flights leading to virtual halt in foreign tourist arrivals. The tourism picked some pace after lockdowns were eased and gradual opening of the skies.
In 2021, the total foreign tourist arrivals were only 15,27,000.
In order to give a boost to the country’s tourism sector, the government has taken several measures including liberalisation of e-visa norms, reduction in visa fees and opening of new mountain peaks for mountaineering and trekking.
The USA, Bangladesh, Australia, UK, Canada and Malaysia are among India’s top 15 source countries for foreign tourists.