Gearing up for 10 mn arrivals in 2016
India recorded 7.7 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2014, and in 2015, the figure crossed 8 million. Sarab Jit Singh, Vice Chairman, Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH), shares with recommendations to accomplish a figur
Singh has put across certain recommendations to the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, to achieve this target of 10 million foreign arrivals. He says that for various reasons, the tourism sector has shown slow growth rate as compared to corresponding period of previous years. Singh says that in spite of growing capacity across tourist destinations in the country and new destinations coming up, the growth rate is not picking up.
One such issue of concern is the perception of India as expensive, particularly in comparison to other competing destinations. “A major reason for this being the tax component, which is 20–25 per cent of the tourist package cost. All other leading tourist destinations have effective rate of tax of 5–8 per cent only,” Singh says.
Lauding the government’s e-Tourist Visa (eTV) scheme, he remarks, “eTV for 113 countries is a good step forward but somehow there isn’t enough publicity. Also, many a time due to technical glitches in the website, a tourist is unable to process the payment.” He recommends that eTV should be for a period of 60 days with provision for multiple entries. He also said that one should be allowed to apply for visa six months prior to the date of departure since most holidays are planned six months in advance.
Singh points out that the tariff of luxury trains in the country is in USD, which plays a spoilsport for agents and operators in India and overseas. Not only do the tourists end up paying more, but also
The promotion of Indian tourism products abroad has suffered because many posts in the overseas Indian Tourism offices have been lying vacant for more than a year. This has adversely affected tourist arrivals into India.
Sarab Jit Singh Vice Chairman, FAITH