India holds everything a tourist looks for: KJ Alphons

India is not just depending on the foreign tourist arrivals, close to 24 million Indians travelled last year. “In 2017, 1.8 million trips were made by Indians within the country and which will go up to 2 million in 2018 and we want this number to increase dramatically, its not just about international arrivals but also Indians visiting India,” Tourism Minister K J Alphons said while interacting to the travel/tour operators in a Q&A session at the ITB Berlin. The minister also stressed on the growing use of new technologies and methodologies in tourism, especially social media.

Alphons also spoke about the country’s 5000 year-old civilisation, beautiful beaches, backwaters, desserts, coastline, Himalayas, and immense possibilities for the millennial who are looking for adventure. The minister also apprised the audience about the growing yoga and Ayurveda related activities and centres in the country, exploring the North East and the great potential of religious tourism, with emphasis on Buddhist tourism. “In terms of general numbers, India has done considerably well last year. 2017 was fantastic! We recorded 15.6 per cent, when the global numbers went up by 5 per cent. Our international tourists arrivals were 16.5 million last year,” he said.

“Are we happy with the numbers? No. We have so much to offer and we want to double the numbers in three years or less, double the revenues in three years or less. India’s tourism contributes about 8 per cent to the GDP of India. We have 14 million people employed in the tourism industry,” added Alphons.

“The travellers to India, generally spends and stays longer,” said Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

“Indian states have lovely hills and mountains, that houses a number of adventure tourism activities such as river rafting, cycling, and paragliding, especially for the adventure loving people,” said the Minister. “Our strength in infrastructure contributes more tourist arrivals, with our world-class international airports in major cities as well as villages, in together with excellent hotels,” he added.