Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism & Culture announced the improvement in ranking of India in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) of World Economic Forum.
India’s ranking in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) moved from 65rdposition to 52nd position in 2015. Now India has moved up by another 12 positions and ranked at 40th position.
In all, in last three years India has cumulatively improved ranking by 25 places which is a significant achievement.
India continues to charm international tourists with its vast cultural and natural resources with a ranking of 9th and 24th, which are the unique selling points of the Indian Tourism product.
India continues to enrich its cultural resources, protecting more cultural sites and intangible expressions through UNESCO World Heritage lists, and via a greater digital presence.
In terms of International openness, India is ranked 55th, up by 14 places. This has been possible through stronger visa policies. Implementing both visas on arrival and e-visas, has enabled India to rise through the ranks.
The process of obtaining the e-Tourist Visa has been simplified significantly by addressing issues like more than one entry and longer lead period for applying for e-Visa.
The e-Tourist Visa was introduced in September 2014 for 46 countries. This facility is now called e-Visa. It is now available for nationals of 161 countries and allows visits for business and medical treatment. A total of 10,79,696 tourists visited India on the e-Tourist Visa in 2016.
The Incredible India Tourist Helpline provides assistance and information to tourists in 12 major languages of the world including Hindi & English. The helpline is available 24×7 and can be accessed on the Toll-free Number 1800- 11-1363 or on a short code 1363. The languages covered are Hindi, English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
The Ministry of Tourism has launched a ‘Welcome Card’ for distribution at immigration counters to tourists arriving at international airports. From 15th February 2017 the Ministry had introduced free SIM Cards with pre-loaded talk time and data to all tourists arriving in India on the e-Tourist Visa.
The Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh was set up and commenced its academic session with the 3-year regular B.Sc. course (Culinary Arts) from August 2016.