Number grown threefold in 5 years
Staff Correspondent: Over 21.50 lakh Bangladeshis visited India in 2017 posing over 60 per cent growth over the previous 2016.
Data from the India’s tourism ministry showed 13.7 lakh Bangladeshis visited India in 2016, up by 21 per cent over the number in 2015. Sources in the Indian Tourism Board said a total of 21,52,391 Bangladeshis visited Indian during January-December period of the last calendar year.
Besides tourism, a good number of Bangladeshis visit India to get better medical treatment, pursue higher education and do shopping as some Indian products are much cheaper compared to the Bangladesh market. The rise of Bangladesh in the Indian travel market has been quite rapid.
From a mere 4.8 lakh visitors in 2012, the number has now grown almost threefold.
Bangladesh accounted for 15.47 per cent of the total 8.89 million foreign tourists who visited India in 2016. The US and the UK accounted for 14.74 and 9.51 per cent respectively.
The report noted that ‘quality medical and healthcare facilities’ in India is one of the reasons for the growing number of tourists from Bangladesh. Trade and business are another factor, it said.
The Indian government data shows that of the 1,34,344 medical visas issued by India in 2015, half went to citizens from Bangladesh.
The number of medical visas increased to almost 97,000 in only six months of 2016.
With compulsory e-token has been withdrawn for the Indian visa, now increasing number of Bangladeshis will be interested to visit India.
The cost of Indian visa processing was 50-60 per cent of the cost EU visa processing last year.
Earlier e-token costs a Bangladeshi visitor taka 3000-4000 and sometimes 5000, sources said.
Some 10.5 lakh foreign tourists visited India in November 2017, a rise of 14.4 per cent over the same period last year, the tourism ministry said in a statement recently.
The number of FTAs in December, 2017 was 11.76 lakh as compared to FTAs of 10.21 lakh in December, 2016 and 9.13 lakh in December, 2015.
The growth rate in FTAs in December, 2017 over December, 2016 was 15.2%, compared to 11.9% in December, 2016 over December, 2015.
FTAs in the year 2017 were 101.77 lakh with a growth of 15.6% over 2016, compared to FTAs of 88.04 lakh with a growth of 9.7% is 2016 over 2015.
The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during December, 2017 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (19.04%) followed by USA (16.90%), UK (10.41%), Australia (5.31%), Canada (3.85%), Russian Fed. (3.79%), Malaysia (3.11%), Germany (2.08%), China (2.06%), Sri Lanka (2.01%), Singapore (1.85%), France (1.81%), Japan (1.64%), Thailand (1.60%) and Italy (1.44%).
A total of 223,910 Bangladeshis visited Indian during the month of December 2017, sources said.
During the month of November, 2017, a total of 2.14 lakh foreign tourists arrived on e-tourist visa as compared to 1.37 lakh during the month of November, 2016, registering a growth of 56.2 per cent, the statement said.
Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) into India were not impacted in any way by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, reveal statistics released by the tourism ministry.
Tourism, apart from domestic civil aviation, is apparently one of the few sectors to have bucked the trend of falling business in the two months of demonetisation for which statistics are available.
Popular tourist destinations visited by foreigners in India include the Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar and Red Fort in Delhi, Amer Fort in Jaipur, Jaisalmer Fort in Jaisalmer, backwaters of Kerala, Goan beaches and temples in south India.
Tourism is a big revenue and employment generator in India. “In 2015, the travel and tourism industry contributed a total of 124.8 billion U.S. dollars to GDP in India, thereby, accounting for approximately six percent of India’s total GDP,” Viren Batra, CEO & Co Founder of Nirvana Excursions, said. The company offers pre-packaged & customised tours worldwide.
“While demonetisation did threaten to shake up the sector, the Union Budget 2017-18 is expected to make sweeping changes to the sector,” he added.
Meanwhile, India has simplified its visa system to facilitate foreigners visiting the country for tourism, medical tourism and business.
A meeting of the federal cabinet chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the approval last year.”The approval will facilitate entry of foreigners for tourism, business and medical purposes, “an official statement of Indian home ministry said adding “this is expected to stimulate economic growth, increase earnings from export of services like tourism, medical value travel and travel on account of business…”
This will also considerably ease the travel of foreigners to India for the mentioned legitimate purposes, it added.
Bangladesh is one of the top two contributors of foreign tourists to India – mostly driven by trade and cheaper and better healthcare.
Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that Indian government has set a target to issue 14,000 business visas by the end of last year.
Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that India has liberalized the business visa regime for Bangladesh businessmen and are now issuing 5 years multiple- entry Business Visas to nearly all the applicants.’
The number of 3-5 year Business Visas issued by high commission of India more than doubled to 4772 in 2015 from 2272 in 2014.