Tourism in India is a large industry. The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated $121 billion or 6.4% of the nation’s GDP in 2011. It was responsible for 39,3 million jobs, 7.9% of its total employment. The GDP of the tourism sector has expanded 229% between 1990 and 2011. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7,7% in the next decade. In a 2011 forecast the World Travel and Tourism Council predicted the annual growth to be 8,8% between 2011 and 2021. This gave India the fifth rank among countries with the fastest growing tourism industry. India has a large medical tourism sector which is expected to grow at an estimated rate of 30% annually to reach about ₹ 9,500crore by 2015.
In the year 2011, there were nearly 6.29 million foreign tourist arrivals in India, up by over 8% from the year 2010 when 5.78 million foreign tourists arrived in India. Domestic tourist visits to all states and Union Territories numbered 747.70 million. The majority of foreign tourists come from the United States (16%) and the United Kingdom (12,6%). In 2011 Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi were the most popular states for foreign tourists. Domestic tourists visited the states Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu most frequently. Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Agra have been the four most visited cities of India by foreign tourists during the year 2011. Worldwide, Chennai is ranked 41 by the number of foreign tourists, while Delhi is ranked at 50, Mumbai at 57 and Agra at 65.
The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2011 ranked the price competitiveness of India’s tourism sector 28th out of 139 countries. It mentions that India has quite good air transport (ranked 39th), particularly given the country’s stage of development, and reasonable ground transport infrastructure (ranked 43rd). Some other aspects of its tourism infrastructure remain somewhat underdeveloped however. The nation has very few hotel rooms per capita by international comparison and low ATM penetration. The Indian government has identified a shortage of 150,000 hotel rooms, with most of the under supply in the budget sector.
The Ministry of Tourism designs national policies for the development and promotion of tourism. In the process, the Ministry consults and collaborates with other stakeholders in the sector including various Central Ministries/agencies, state governments, Union Territories and the representatives of the private sector. Concerted efforts are being made to promote new forms of tourism such as rural, cruise, medical and Eco-tourism. The Ministry also maintains the Incredible India campaign.
India’s rich history and its cultural and geographical diversity make its international tourism appeal large and diverse. It presents heritage and cultural tourism along with medical, business and sports tourism.