The number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in the country recorded a rise of 7.1% year-on-year in 2014, with the number increasing to 74.62 lakhs in 2014 from 69.68 lakhs in 2013. The increased inflow of tourists also had a positive effect on the Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism, as it went up from Rs107, 671 crore in 2013 to Rs 120,083 crore in 2014 in the 12-month period showing a growth rate of 11.5%.
Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Tourism and Culture, and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, while acknowledging the increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting India, informed the Lok Sabha that the Ministry is taking many new initiatives to accelerate the growth rate of tourism in the country even further. Some of the new initiatives taken by the ministry include the National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD), apart from the launch of a 24×7 Incredible India Toll Free Helpline for Tourists.
That is not all as the government has also implemented the Tourist Visa on Arrival scheme which was announced a few months back. To facilitate the tourists, the process is enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization. Currently tourists from 43 nations can avail this scheme; the airports where this facility will be available include Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Goa.