NEW DELHI: Arrival of foreign tourists has increased by over 16 per cent in the month of January this year as compared with last year. Officials claimed that demonetisation had no impact on the arrivals as the current rise surpassed the previous year’s corresponding growth of 6.8 per cent observed in January 2016 over January 2015.
As per the latest data, total 9.83 lakh foreign tourists arrived in India in January, an increase of 16.5 per cent as compared to the same period last year. Officials of the Union Tourism ministry said that among the top 15 source countries in the first month of the year, the US had the highest share at 15.01 per cent, followed by Bangladesh at 14.91 per cent, the UK at 11.11 per cent and Canada at 4.63 per cent.
While arrival of foreign tourists does not show any impact of the note ban, officials said foreign tourists generally plan their tour two-three months in advance.
Of the total arrivals in January, 1.52 lakh tourists availed e-visa facility, an increase of 72 per cent over 0.88 lakh people opting for the online service during the same month last year. In the e-visa segment, the UK with 22.9 per cent share ranked first among the 15 top countries availing the facility, followed by the US (13.6 per cent), Russia (8.3 per cent), China (6.3 per cent) and France (5.6 per cent).
The share of tourists availing e-visa in January 2017 is 15.5 per cent as against 10.4 per cent in the January 2016, showing "the steady success of e-visa facility in quantifiable terms", officials said.
Officials said that India usually registers higher number of tourist arrivals from October till March due to pleasant weather conditions.