International tourism in India - statistics & facts

From snowy mountains to sandy beaches, hilly terrains to serene lands, old ruins immersed in history to modern architecture, and national parks to bustling cities - India has something to offer for every kind of traveler. The cultural and geographical diversity of the country has made the Indian tourism sector one of the largest contributors to the country’s GDP and one of the fastest-growing worldwide. Then the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit India hard, especially the tourism, hotel, and hospitality sectors. International tourism came to a near standstill.

Before the pandemic, travel and tourism was a booming industry in India. The country’s GDP benefitted from both foreign tourist arrivals as well as a rise in foreign exchange earnings. Over the years, tourism also saw an increase in budget allocation from the union government and a rise in the number of registered employees. The sector also contributed to infrastructure development as more hotels and recreational centers came up in old and new tourist destinations across the country.

For Europeans, South Asia had been a place of longing for centuries. It came as no surprise that the first wave of traveling activities developed in the late 19th century. From that time on, international tourism evolved in waves, another occurring after The Beatles visited Rishikesh in 1968. Along with the economic developments in many Asian countries from the 1990s onwards, the number of tourists from these countries grew as well. In 2019, by far the most tourists to India came from neighboring Bangladesh. The number of Indians traveling abroad quadrupled between 2000 and 2019.

In recent years, the importance of leisure travel for the industries in India’s tourism sector grew exponentially in comparison to business travel. Additionally, the domestic tourism market was much stronger than the international market. This had implications for many other areas as well, from infrastructure spending in tourist hubs, an increase in wellness offerings, to the regulation of travel agencies and tour operators. Those specialists concentrated on dense tours showing the tourist as much of the country as possible. The most popular duration of stay for international tourists was one to two weeks.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic drastically changed the tourism industry in India. Due to travel restrictions, the number of international tourists dropped to nearly zero during some of the months of 2020. As domestic tourism was first to recover slowly, its importance compared to international tourism in terms of numbers and revenues will probably strengthen in the near future. The government responded to these developments with a number of tailored initiatives, like the system for assessment, awareness and training for hospitality industry (SAATHI). The preferences of domestic travelers were also changing amidst the pandemic from much-visited places to rather remote destinations in mountainous regions or at the beach.

Key figures

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Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 26 most important statistics relating to "International tourism in India".

International tourism in India

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International tourism in India - statistics & facts

From snowy mountains to sandy beaches, hilly terrains to serene lands, old ruins immersed in history to modern architecture, and national parks to bustling cities - India has something to offer for every kind of traveler. The cultural and geographical diversity of the country has made the Indian tourism sector one of the largest contributors to the country’s GDP and one of the fastest-growing worldwide. Then the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit India hard, especially the tourism, hotel, and hospitality sectors. International tourism came to a near standstill.

Before the pandemic, travel and tourism was a booming industry in India. The country’s GDP benefitted from both foreign tourist arrivals as well as a rise in foreign exchange earnings. Over the years, tourism also saw an increase in budget allocation from the union government and a rise in the number of registered employees. The sector also contributed to infrastructure development as more hotels and recreational centers came up in old and new tourist destinations across the country.

For Europeans, South Asia had been a place of longing for centuries. It came as no surprise that the first wave of traveling activities developed in the late 19th century. From that time on, international tourism evolved in waves, another occurring after The Beatles visited Rishikesh in 1968. Along with the economic developments in many Asian countries from the 1990s onwards, the number of tourists from these countries grew as well. In 2019, by far the most tourists to India came from neighboring Bangladesh. The number of Indians traveling abroad quadrupled between 2000 and 2019.

In recent years, the importance of leisure travel for the industries in India’s tourism sector grew exponentially in comparison to business travel. Additionally, the domestic tourism market was much stronger than the international market. This had implications for many other areas as well, from infrastructure spending in tourist hubs, an increase in wellness offerings, to the regulation of travel agencies and tour operators. Those specialists concentrated on dense tours showing the tourist as much of the country as possible. The most popular duration of stay for international tourists was one to two weeks.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic drastically changed the tourism industry in India. Due to travel restrictions, the number of international tourists dropped to nearly zero during some of the months of 2020. As domestic tourism was first to recover slowly, its importance compared to international tourism in terms of numbers and revenues will probably strengthen in the near future. The government responded to these developments with a number of tailored initiatives, like the system for assessment, awareness and training for hospitality industry (SAATHI). The preferences of domestic travelers were also changing amidst the pandemic from much-visited places to rather remote destinations in mountainous regions or at the beach.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 26 most important statistics relating to "International tourism in India".

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