India, which saw a record number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) of 10 million in 2017, is targeting to double this number in next three years, Minister of State Tourism KJ Alphons on Thursday said.
"We crossed 10 million FTAs in 2017 and if we include non-resident Indians visiting the country then the number went up to over 17 million. In dollar terms our earnings have gone up by 20.2 per cent, which is a very good growth compared to the world tourism that grew by less than five per cent," the minister said on the sidelines of OTM 2018.
These are very encouraging numbers and the government is working towards doubling both the FTAs and foreign exchange earnings in the next three years, he added.
"To make this possible we are working with the state governments and with the industry, as they have a big role to play. So we are all working together and make this possible," he said.
India is doing very well internationally and is 13th in terms of foreign tourists arrival and 7th in Asia Pacific, the minister said.
"We are getting good spenders who are contributing 6.88 per cent to the GDP and we are also contributing 12.6 per cent to the employment," he added.
On the upcoming Tourism Policy, Alphons said, it should be out in two or three months, as "we are incorporating new ideas". When asked about expectation in Budget 2018, he said "We are hoping to get more than last year...I hope they will be generous in the budget allocation."
Maharashtra Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal, who was also present at the event, said Mumbai has one of the best airports in the world and is also building a world-class cruise port.
"We are building an international cruise port with an investment of Rs 5,000 crore, which funded by the government at Mazagon Dock. It will be operational by 2020," Rawal added.
In the 3-day OTM 2018, which is organised by Fairfest Media, over 45 countries, over 21 states and Union Territories and over 1,100 exhibitors are participating.