New Delhi: India ranked 42nd in international tourists arrivals in 2006, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Rajya Sabha was informed today.
India with foreign tourist arrivals at 4.45 million ranked 42nd in the world, Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni said.
The top four countries of the world in terms of international tourist arrivals were France (79.1 million), Spain (58.5 million), USA (51.1 million) and China (49.6 million), she said.
However, the minister said India was achieving a consistent high growth rate of 13.3%, 13.5% and 12.4% in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively due to various steps taken by the government, including the ‘Incredible India´ campaign.
Some of the steps taken to boost tourism include the integrated development of tourist infrastructure at tourist circuits and destinations, growth of hotel infrastructure, particularly budget hotels, augmentation of air capacity, enhancing availability of skilled manpower, according greater focus to emerging markets, particularly China, North-East Asia and South-East Asia and international publicity campaigns through the electronic and print media.
Visas: Facility of long-term multiple entry visas of five-year duration has been introduced for nationals of 18 countries that include France, Germany, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Vietnam. Long-term visa will carry stay stipulation of 90 days on each visit, she said.