Thursday, February 13, 2020

Growth in foreign tourist arrivals, earnings slowest in 10 years

Mumbai: Arrivals of overseas tourists in India and the country’s foreign exchange earnings from them grew at the slowest pace in a decade in 2019, government data showed.
 Tourism industry experts and airline executives attributed the slowdown to multiple factors, including street protests over the new citizenship law and elevated levels of pollution in northern India, including Delhi.
Several countries had issued travel advisories to their citizens over both issues. About 10.89 million foreign tourists visited India in 2019, an increase of 3.1% from the year before, the tourism ministry informed Parliament earlier this month, citing provisional data. The year before, arrivals grew 5.2%, while in 2017, the expansion was 14%, showed data from the tourism ministry and the Bureau of Immigration.
 Forex earnings from inbound tourists rose 8.2% to Rs 2.2 lakh crore in the past year. The growth was 9.6% in 2018 and 15% in 2017, according to figures from the ministry and the Reserve Bank of India. The government hasn’t made any assessment of the impact on tourism from agitations against the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA), minister of state for tourism Prahlad Singh Patel said in his reply to a query in the Lok Sabha on February 3. But travel industry experts said this was one of factors, especially towards the latter part of the year, that affected the plans of both leisure and business travellers.
“We saw a significant spurt in queries (from potential travellers) and we issued more advisories cautioning corporate travellers last year than we have done in the recent past,” said Neeraj Balani, the Indian managing director for International SOS, a global medical and travel security risk services company. It has clients from more than 1,000 cities in 90 countries. Without getting into specifics, Balani said global companies had cancelled meetings in India in the last few months of the year.
 13/02/20 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times
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