E-visa facilitation service was rolled-out in phase-wise manner to add to convenience of passengers and drive inbound numbers. Since the mechanism has been put in place, at select international airports, e-visa facility has caught on with travellers. Adding more weight to this assertion is the latest tourist arrival figures shared by the Ministry of Tourism. According to its latest statement release, 2017 is turning out to be a better year for the tourism industry than the previous year. Driven by higher number of e-visa applications, Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) have grown by a healthy 15.7% as compared to the previous year. FTAs from January to July 2017, were 56.74 lakh as compared to 49.03 lakh in July 2016. Much of this growth is being fuelled by traffic from Bangladesh – which accounts for 20.12 percent of total footfalls – followed by travellers from the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The USA accounts for 16.26 per cent, while traffic from the UK amounted to 10.88 per cent, followed by France at 3.01 per cent in the month of July, said the statement.
Interestingly, the UK’s share was highest among the tourists availing e-visa facility at 12.9 per cent, followed by the US with 12 per cent, the UAE (7.2 per cent), France (6.4 per cent), Oman (6.1 per cent) and China (5.4 per cent) in July this year.
The UK and USA have been traditionally strong markets for India and increase in FTAs could well mean more high-spending clientele, and consequently more business for the industry. However, in a bid to further boost tourist arrivals, India would do well to diversify source markets and focus on high-spending countries to generate more value for stakeholders.