Foreign Tourist Arrivals In India Hit Record High Of One Crore, Earnings Cross $27 Billion Foreign tourists at Tulsi Ghat in Varanasi, India. (Rajesh Kumar/Hindustan Times)

In a significant boost for India’s tourism industry in 2017, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country hit a record high of 1 crore, pushing the country’s earnings from the sector to over 27 billion dollars, the Financial Times has reported.

The growth in tourism is good news for the economy. According to Union Tourism Minister K J Alphons, the sector is contributing 6.88 per cent to India's gross domestic product and had a 12 per cent share of jobs.

“I think our sector is doing very well. But am I happy with the numbers? I want these numbers to increase dramatically because India is an incredible place and we have everything for everybody. So we are trying to bring in a lot more people,” the daily quoted the minister as saying.

With this increase in numbers, India has jumped 25 places on the 2017 Tourism Competitiveness Index, moving to the 40th position from 65th in 2013.

Most tourists, around 22 per cent, came from Bangladesh. While tourists from the United States formed 12 per cent, those from the United Kingdom formed 10 per cent. Tourists from Sri Lanka accounted for 3.79 per cent of the total arrivals.

The government has been working to promote tourism in India under its Swadesh Darshan scheme. "Eleven projects have been sanctioned under this scheme in 2017-18 alone, taking the total number up to 67 projects. The plan is for holistic development of pilgrimage destinations, the Buddhist circuit being a case in point," a ministry official told the Times of India.

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