India’s Soaring Position in Terms of Travel & Tourism, 2015

India has been able to improve its position from 65th to 52nd according to the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) 2015, of the World Economic Forum. It was ranked 65 in 2013, it was then to improve India’s position in terms of tourism has been targeted by the Ministry of Tourism for 2014-15.

The measures undertaken by the Government for the improvisation of India’s tourism competitiveness include infrastructure and restrictive visa policy.

Infrastructure

The promotion and development of a state’s tourism is the major responsibility of the State Government or the Union Territory (UT) Administration. The responsibility of the Ministry of Tourism is to provide Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for the approved projects to be completed as per the guidelines and estimated time, based on the availability of funds and its utilization in previous projects.

After the Budget session of 2014-15, the Central Sector launched two new schemes as follows:

(i) Swadesh Darshan –Development of Infrastructure as Theme-Based Tourist Circuits.

To develop the theme based tourist circuits Swadesh Darshan were launched to cater mass as well as niche tourism in a holistic way. The Circuits, 12 in number are named as North-East India Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Desert Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Eco Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Rural Circuit and Ramayana Circuit.

(ii) National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD).

For the development of infrastructure 12 cities namely Amritsar, Ajmer, Amravati, Dwarka, Gaya, Kedarnath, Kanchipuram, Mathura, Varanasi, Puri, Vellankanni and Guwahati have been identified at first.

Visa policy

(i) The e-Tourist Visa facility was introduced from 27 November 2014 in India. Being available to 77 countries at present, this facility enables the tourist to get their visa sitting at ease. It helps the visitor to apply and make online payment for an Indian Visa from his or her own country without visiting the Indian Mission.

(ii) From 4 December, 2012 Indian Government removed the restriction of gap (2 months) on re-visiting India on Tourist Visa.

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