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Chitrakote Falls in Jagdalpur the widest waterfall of India in Chhattisgarh
Shola Grasslands and forests in the Kudremukha National Park, Western Ghats, Karnataka during Monsoon season
The Taj Mahal, Agra. The epitome of Mughal architecture.
White Sand Beach, Bakkhali , West Bengal
Kas Plateau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Pahalgam is a popular tourist destination and hill station.
Munnar hill station, a very popular hill station in India
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is a tulip garden in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. It is the largest tulip garden in Asia spread over an area of about 30 ha (74 acres).
Chambal River Valley in Garadia Mahadev Temple, Kota, Rajasthan very popular destination in rajasthan

Tourism in India is 4.6% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Unlike other sectors, tourism is not a priority sector for the Government of India. Forbes magazine ranked India as the 7th most beautiful country in 'The 50 Most Beautiful Countries In The World' rankings.[1] The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated 13.2 lakh crore (US$170 billion) or 5.8% of India's GDP and supported 32.1 million jobs in 2021. Even though, these numbers were lower than the pre-pandemic figures; the country's economy witnessed a significant growth in 2021 after the massive downturn during 2020. The sector is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 7.8% to 33.8 lakh crore (US$420 billion) by 2031 (7.2% of GDP).[2] India has established itself as the 5th largest global travel healthcare destination with an estimated market size of around $9 billion in 2019, out of the total global travel healthcare industry of $44.8 billion(2019).[3][4] In 2014, 184,298 foreign patients travelled to India to seek medical treatment.[5]

According to the Ministry of Tourism, over 6.19 million and 1.52 million foreign tourists arrived in India in 2022 and 2021 respectively compared to 10.93 million in 2019, representing a -44% degrowth.[6][7] India has bigger domestic tourist population so it's not dependent on foreign tourist much. This makes India the 22nd most visited nation in the world and 8th in Asia and Pacific.[8] Domestic tourist visits to all states and union territories numbered 1,036.35 million in 2012, an increase of 16.5% from 2011.[9] In 2012, National Geographic's Traveller magazine named the state Kerala as one of the "ten paradises of the world" and "50 must see destinations of a lifetime".[10] In 2014, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh were the most popular states for tourists.[11] Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Agra and Jaipur were the five most visited cities of India by foreign tourists during the year 2015. As of 2017, worldwide, Delhi is ranked 28th by the number of foreign tourist arrivals, while Mumbai is ranked 30th, Chennai 43rd, Agra 45th, Jaipur 52nd and Kolkata 90th.[12]

The World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Development Index 2021, which replaced its previous Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, ranks India 54th out of 117 countries overall.[13] The last edition of the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, published in 2019, had ranked India 34th out of 140 countries overall. The report ranked the price competitiveness of India's tourism sector 13th out of 140 countries. It mentioned that India has quite good air transport infrastructure (ranked 33rd), particularly given the country's stage of development, and reasonable ground and port infrastructure (ranked 28th). The country also scored high on natural resources (ranked 14th), and cultural resources and business travel (ranked 8th).[14] The World Tourism Organization reported that India's receipts from tourism during 2012 ranked 16th in the world, and 7th among Asian and Pacific countries.[15]

The Ministry of Tourism designs national policies for the development and promotion of tourism. In the process, the Ministry consults and collaborates with other stakeholders in the sector including various central ministries/agencies, state governments, union territories and private sector representatives. Concerted efforts are being made to promote niche tourism products such as rural, cruise, medical and eco-tourism.[16] The Ministry of Tourism maintains the Incredible India campaign focused on promoting tourism in India.

Visa policy of India

Main article: Visa policy of India

India requires citizens of most countries to hold a valid passport and apply for a travel visa at their local Indian embassy or consulate before their visit. Travellers can apply directly by mail or in person, or through their local travel services company. In 2014, India implemented an online method for citizens of 156 countries to apply for an e-Tourist Visa.[17][18]

Nationals of Bhutan, Maldives, and Nepal do not require a travel visa to enter India. Citizens of Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, DPR Korea, Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nepal, South Africa and Uruguay are not required to pay a fee when obtaining an Indian visa.[19][20]

During the pandemic year 2020, India had access to just 23 countries for travel, whereas now the Indian passport holders can travel visa-free to 60 countries.[21]

A Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required to enter the states of Nagaland and Sikkim and some parts of the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. A Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required to enter the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and parts of Sikkim. Special permits are needed to visit the Lakshadweep islands.[22]

e-Tourist Visa

As a measure to boost tourism,[23] the Indian Government implemented a new visa policy in November 2014, allowing tourists and business visitors to obtain a "visa on arrival" at 28 international airports, by acquiring an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) online before arrival, without having to visit an Indian consulate or visa centre.[24] In April 2015, the "visa on arrival" scheme was renamed "e-Tourist Visa" (or "e-TV") to avoid confusion.[25]

The e-Tourist Visa facility requires a tourist to apply online on a secure Government of India website, at least four to thirty days before the date of travel. If approved, the visitor must print and carry the approved visa with their travel documents. The visa allows holders of an ETA to enter and stay anywhere in India for a period of ninety days except for citizens of US, UK, Japan and Canada. Citizens of these countries can stay for up to 180 days at a time.[26] an ETA can be obtained twice in a single calendar year.[17]

India first introduced its "visa on arrival" facility on 27 November 2014, to citizens of the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu and Vietnam.[17] On 30 July 2015, the facility was extended to China, Macau and Hong Kong.[27] On 15 August 2015, the facility was further extended to citizens of Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, East Timor, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, Malaysia, Mongolia, Monaco, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Seychelles, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.[28] The facility should eventually be expanded to about 180 countries.

Chilika Lake, the largest lagoon of India

As a result of the new visa policy, 56,477 tourists arrived on an e-Tourist Visa during October 2015, compared with 2,705 tourist arrivals during October 2014 (just before the facility was introduced), representing a 1987.9% increase. During the period from January to October 2015, a total of 258,182 tourists arrived on an e-Tourist Visa, a 1073.8% increase on the 21,995 tourist arrivals during the same period in 2014 (before the e-Tourist Visa was available).[29]


Domestic tourists

During 2021, the number of Domestic Tourist Visits to the States/UTs was 67,76,32,981(677 million approx.) as compared to 61,02,16,157(610 million approx.) in 2020 registering a growth of 11.05%.[30]

Foreign tourist arrivals and foreign exchange earnings

Source countries for foreign tourist arrivals in India in 2019[31]
Rank Country Number Share in %
1  Bangladesh 2,577,727 23.58
2  European Union 2,430,002 21.12
3  United States 1,512,032 13.83
4  United Kingdom 1,000,292 9.15
5  Sri Lanka 380,121 3.38
6  Australia 367,241 3.36
7  Canada 351,859 3.22
8 China China (mainland) 339,442 3.11
9  Malaysia 334,579 3.06
10  Germany 264,973 2.42
11  Russia 251,319 2.3
Total of top 10 7,330,325 67.06

Foreign and domestic tourist visits by State

World Heritage Sites

Main articles: List of World Heritage Sites in India and Tourism in India by state

There are 42 World Heritage Sites in India that are recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of August 2023.[34][35]


North India
South India
Central India
West India
East India
NorthEast India

Outline of tourism in India

Tourist attractions

Tourism in states

List of tourism in different states of India

  1. Tourism in Andaman and Nicobar
  2. Tourism in Andhra Pradesh
  3. Tourism in Arunachal Pradesh
  4. Tourism in Assam
  5. Tourism in Bihar
  6. Tourism in Chandigarh
  7. Tourism in Chhattisgarh
  8. Tourism in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
  9. Tourism in Delhi
  10. Tourism in Goa
  11. Tourism in Gujarat
  12. Tourism in Haryana
  13. Tourism in Himachal Pradesh
  14. Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir
  15. Tourism in Jharkhand
  16. Tourism in Karnataka
  17. Tourism in Kerala
  18. Tourism in Ladakh
  19. Tourism in Lakshadweep
  20. Tourism in Madhya Pradesh
  21. Tourism in Maharashtra
  22. Tourism in Manipur
  23. Tourism in Meghalaya
  24. Tourism in Mizoram
  25. Tourism in Nagaland
  26. Tourism in Odisha
  27. Tourism in Puducherry
  28. Tourism in Punjab
  29. Tourism in Rajasthan
  30. Tourism in Sikkim
  31. Tourism in Tamil Nadu
  32. Tourism in Telangana
  33. Tourism in Tripura
  34. Tourism in Uttar Pradesh
  35. Tourism in Uttarakhand
  36. Tourism in West Bengal
  37. Tourism in North East India

See also


  1. ^ Bloom, Laura Begley. "The World's 50 Most Beautiful Countries (You Won't Believe Where The U.S. Ranked)". Forbes. Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  2. ^ "India's Travel & Tourism could surpass pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022". WTTC. Archived from the original on 30 September 2022. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Promotion of Medical Tourism". Press Information Bureau. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  6. ^ "India received 6.19 million Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during 2022 as compare to 1.52 million during the same period of 2021". Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  7. ^ "Foreign tourist arrivals to India 44% lesser than pre-Covid level". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  8. ^ "Most Visited Countries 2021". Archived from the original on 6 December 2021. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  9. ^ "India's Domestic Tourists increase by 16% crossing 1 Billion Mark". Indo-Asian News Service. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  10. ^ Aditi Sharma (7 February 2014). "Kerala: A vacation in paradise - Times of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 16 January 2023. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  11. ^ "Tamil Nadu, UP pip Goa as tourist havens". Archived from the original on 28 July 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  12. ^ Bremner, Caroline. "Top 100 City Destinations Ranking" (PDF). Euromonitor International. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 December 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Travel & Tourism Development Index 2021 Rebuilding for a Sustainable and Resilient Future" (PDF). World Economic Forum. May 2022. p. 13. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 July 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  15. ^ "Rank in Tourism" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 7 February 2014. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  16. ^ "Annual Report 2017–18" (PDF). Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. p. 27. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  17. ^ a b c "e-Visa". Government of India. 2014. Archived from the original on 19 November 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  18. ^ "India launches e-visa facility for 43 countries". Deccan Herald. 27 November 2014. Archived from the original on 19 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  19. ^ "Indian Visa fee schedule for all nationalities" (PDF). Consulate General of India, Hong Kong. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Country/Territory Wise e-Visa Fee" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  21. ^ "A complete list of 60 countries that offer visa on arrival to Indian travellers". The Times of India. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  22. ^ "Visa Information – India". Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  23. ^ "India announces new visa rules to boost tourism numbers". Yahoo!. 27 November 2014. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  24. ^ "India to extend visa-on-arrival to tourists from 180 countries". Zee News. 5 February 2014. Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  25. ^ "Government Changes Name of Visa on Arrival Scheme to E-Tourist Visa". NDTV. 14 April 2015. Archived from the original on 24 April 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  26. ^ "2019 Updated India eVisa information". 6 November 2019. Archived from the original on 5 November 2019. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  27. ^ "Extension of e-Tourist Visa scheme to China, Hong Kong and Macau from tomorrow". Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 29 July 2015. Archived from the original on 17 April 2023. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  28. ^ "Press Note – Extension of e-Tourist Visa scheme to 36 more countries and 7 more airports from 15th August 2015" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 January 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  29. ^ "1988% growth registered in tourist visa-on-arrival in October". The Times of India. 18 November 2015.
  30. ^
  31. ^ a b c "India Tourism Statistics at a Glance" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 October 2021. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  32. ^ "India tourism statistic at a glance 2023" (PDF). 28 July 2023.
  33. ^ "India tourism statistic at a glance 2023" (PDF). 28 July 2023.
  34. ^ "Properties Inscribed on the World heritage List". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  35. ^ "World Heritage Day: Five must-visit sites in India". Archived from the original on 19 April 2015.

Further reading