When it comes to the Indian economy, it is safe to assume that tourism plays a huge role in contributing to it. Tourism is one of the most lucrative business sectors within the country, and it is growing at an increasing rate. According to the world tourism council, the industry contributed to about 9.2 percent of the nation’s GDP. Apart from generating profitable returns it also employs about 8.1 percent of the total population. The sector shows promising rates of growth with figures reaching estimates of around 6.9 percent.
The growth in the number of foreign tourists has been tremendous with numbers reaching 10 million from 8.9 million within just a year. The same applies to domestic tourists who have witnessed a growth rate of about 15 percent. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh seemed to be the top picks when it came to domestic tourists whereas Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Jaipur, and Agra were the most popular destinations with the foreign tourists. Delhi places quite high amongst the global list of cities being visited by foreign tourists every year with a ranking of 28, followed closely by Mumbai at 30th position.
According to reports published by renowned travel journals, India ranked 40th out of 136 countries when it came to tourism. India’s popularity with the foreign tourists can be attributed to its extremely competitive pricing, functional, affordable air connectivity, and good infrastructure along with its unique cultural and natural landscape. While India has taken giant strides when it comes to improving the tourism sector, lack of developments in specific areas pose problems to the tourists, some of them being poor hotel infrastructure and sparsely spread out ATM services.
Probably one of the reasons why India is so popular with foreign tourists would be its collection of World Heritage Sites. India has around 37 of such sites spread all across the country, and the list of them is mentioned as follows; Kalka Shimla Railway, Great Himalayan National Park, Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park, The Architectural Works of Lee Corbusier, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Red Fort, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Kaziranga National Park, Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, Sun Temple at Konark, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya, Sanchi Stupa, Ellora Caves, Hill Forts of Rajasthan and Elephanta Caves to name a few.
Not only does India contain heritage sites as tagged by UNESCO, but it is also a popular destination for its national geo-heritage monuments, national parks, waterfalls and lakes. Every individual state also contributes to the scene by having State Protected Monuments. India is also home to some of the most spectacular beaches and coral reefs. India is also a popular destination for Buddhist and Jain pilgrimages and also pays ode to an ancient Islamic culture. The potential that India shows in the field of travel and tourism is tremendous, and if this can be exploited fully, it would catapult India to a position of fame globally.

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