A Monitor Report
1 Aug, 2017  |
: India's tourism industry continued to experience strong double-digit growth in the first half of 2017.
According to the latest figures from India's Ministry of Tourism, the country welcomed a total of 4.89 million international arrivals during the six-month period, 17.2 per cent more than in the first half of 2016.
This growth was partially driven by the popularity of the e-tourist visa scheme; India welcomed 717,000 visitors on these visas in the first half of 2017, which marks a sharp 52.0 per cent jump compared to the first six months of 2016. This means that almost 15 per cent of international visitors entering India during this period were issued e-tourist visas.
In June 2017 alone, India welcomed a total of 670,000 international arrivals, up 22.5 per cent year-on-year. Bangladesh was the country's largest source market during the month, accounting for 29.2 per cent of total arrivals, followed by the US (19.7 per cent) and UK (6.1 per cent). Combined, these three countries accounted for 55 per cent of total arrivals to India in June.
Malaysia (3.8 per cent), Australia (2.6 per cent), China (2.5 per cent), Singapore (2.3 per cent), Sri Lanka (2.2 per cent), Japan (2.2 per cent), Canada (2.2 per cent) completed the top 10 source markets.
New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport handled 22.2 per cent of inbound visitors, followed by the Haridaspur land border, which links India with Bangladesh (17.1 per cent), and Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (15.0 per cent).
India and Bangladesh have signed an agreement to connect the two countries via new waterways.
An Indian newspaper reported India's Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya, as saying that the initiative would take advantage of the major rivers along the two countries' border by creating new passages to transport people and cargo.
"The new waterways would enable transportation of people and goods by ships. They would be set up by using the major rivers of Bangladesh, West Bengal and the Brahmaputra in Assam," the minister told reporters in northeast India's Tripura state, which borders Bangladesh.
He added that the rivers would be dredged and that the first waterways would open later this year.
India and Bangladesh share a 4,095km border, of which 1,116km is through rivers. This is the latest initiative to enhance transport links between India and Bangladesh, with new road and rail projects also being developed.