Tourists in India increase, thanks to WTO definition


New Delhi: The rank of India in international tourist arrivals (ITAs) in both 2014 and 2015 is 24 as against the previous rank of 41 and 40 in the year 2014 and 2015, respectively, as per the latest United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO) barometer for March 2017. According to the international definition, ITAs comprise 2 components, namely foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) and arrivals of non-resident nationals. The UNWTO in its barometer ranks countries in terms of their ITAs. So far, only the figures of FTAs were compiled in India. However, now India has started compiling the data of even such tourists who are non-resident Indians (NRIs).

The number of NRI arrivals during 2014 and 2015 were 5.43 million and 5.26 million, respectively. Accordingly, the numbers of ITAs in India during 2014 and 2015 were 13.11 million and 13.28 million, respectively. The data of ITAs, containing both the arrivals of NRIs and FTAs, is now as per the international recommendations.

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Due to this inclusion, India’s improved rank in tourism, reflecting the “true and comparable scenario” according to the government’s Press Information Bureau, has now been acknowledged by the UNWTO. With this inclusion, the share of India in the international tourists has increased from 0.68% (based on FTAs) to 1.12% in the year 2015.

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Earlier, India’s rank in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), 2017, had shown a 12-place jump from 2015. Our rank in the TTCI report of 2017 was 40th as compared to 52nd in 2015, 65th in 2013 and 68th in 2011.

While the UNWTO gives ranking in terms of numbers of international tourists, the TTCI is composed of 14 pillars organised into 4 sub-indices of enabling environment, travel and trade policy and enabling conditions, infrastructure and natural and cultural resources.

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