Tourism in India was steady last year with 4.5 per cent increase in tourist arrivals in comparison to 2011. India welcomed 6.57 million tourists in 2012 largely thanks to the United States.
Arrivals from United States reached 1.03 million mark in comparison to 980,000 in 2011. The weak rupee against United States dollar played important role in attracting more tourists in India.
At second stop was United Kingdom with 780,000 tourist arrivals, down by 10,000 over 2011. Bangladesh came in third with 480,000 tourist arrivals followed by Sri Lanka 290,000. At fifth place was Canada with 250,000 tourist arrivals.
Out of the top 10 only United States, Bangladesh and France saw increase in arrivals while arrivals from Malaysia, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom saw decrease in tourist arrivals.
The arrivals from Sri Lanka were largely down towards the end of the year when anti Sri Lanka protests triggered in the southern state of Tamil Nadu over the alleged war crimes against Tamil people in Sri Lanka.
Overall it was only 4.5 per cent increase in tourist arrivals which is about half of 9 per cent increase that India witnessed in 2011. India is only attracting 0.64 per cent of total foreign tourist arrivals in the world. Even several small Asian countries have performed better than this.
However the tourism ministry is confident of doing better thanks to visa on arrival and other policies implemented recently. But at the same time drop in women tourist arrivals is a major issue for India. The women tourist arrivals to India has declined ever since the Delhi gang rape in December last year that saw massive protests on the streets of Delhi.