Foreign tourist arrivals in India have shown a significant rebound in the first four months of the calendar year 2023, reaching 3.13 million, a notable increase from the 1.17 million arrivals in the same period the previous year. Despite this positive trend, the current numbers still remain lower than the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 when India received 3.95 million foreign tourists during the comparable period.
On the bright side, foreign exchange earnings from tourism have seen a remarkable surge during January to April 2023, amounting to ₹71,235 crore compared to ₹23,584 crore during the same period in 2022, according to the data provided by the Ministry of Tourism. These earnings reflect a promising development in the revival of the Indian tourism industry.
Experts are optimistic that India is on track to reach and possibly exceed the foreign exchange earnings achieved in 2019, which amounted to ₹2.1 trillion, marking an 8.3% year-on-year increase.
Responding to a query in the Rajya Sabha, Tourism Minister G. Kishan Reddy shared that Bangladesh accounted for around 21.9% of foreign tourist arrivals in India during the mentioned period, making it the top source of visitors. The United States followed with 16.3% of total travelers, while the United Kingdom contributed 10.3%, Canada 5%, and Australia 4.5%.
Furthermore, the latest provisional data from the Bureau of Immigration indicates that foreign tourist arrivals from January to April 2023 have already reached 79% of the levels observed during the same period in 2019, showcasing the steady recovery of the tourism sector.
The tourism industry in India received a boost this year with the country hosting various meetings and events across more than 60 locations as part of its G20 presidency.
Notably, during January to April 2023, approximately 23.7% of foreign arrivals consisted of the Indian diaspora, while the majority, approximately 50%, visited India for leisure or recreational purposes, and around 11% traveled for professional reasons. Additionally, medical tourism accounted for about 6% of visitors during this period.
As for departures from India, 8.47 million Indian travelers journeyed abroad during the first four months under review, showing a notable increase from 5.32 million in the previous year and only slightly lower than the 8.79 million departures recorded in 2019.
The United Arab Emirates emerged as the top destination for Indian travelers, attracting around 26.48% of tourists, followed by Saudi Arabia at 11.10%, the United States at 7.58%, and Thailand and Singapore each accounting for approximately 5% of the total departures.