In 2014, 7.7 million tourists visited India, a growth of more than 10% from just under seven million (6.97m) in 2013. In the first six months of 2015 the country welcomed 3.85 million tourists, up 3.4% on the same six months in 2014.
India is looking to increase its tourism numbers further by enticing tour operators from global source markets to promote the country as a year round luxury destination. The key to India’s strategy is to focus on a variety of niche products – including; rural, wellness, medical, adventure, golf, MICE and cruise tourism –to overcome the aspect of ‘seasonality’ spread tourists around the country by promoting India as a 365 days destination, and expanding out from its most popular period of October to March.
India’s most popular destinations are Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, popularly known as the Golden Triangle, Rajasthan, Goa, Kerala and Kashmir. However, a greater focus is being put on North East India - Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram.
Furthermore, India has an array of new products to promote to the world’s leading buyers at WTM London 2015; including the development of its cruise industry, which will see Royal Caribbean include Indian ports in its itineraries from October. Other leading global cruise companies operating from India include Oceania Cruise and AIDA Cruise.
A string of luxury global hotel chains including Rotana, Meininger, Jumeirah and Six Senses are scheduled to open a number of hotels in the next two years, further enhancing India’s position as a luxury destination.
The UK is India’s second largest source market for tourists with 810,000 people visiting in 2014. India will look to sign deals at WTM 2015 with UK tour operators that will see the number of visitors from the country increase to one million in 2016.
Key to the strategy of increasing tourists from the UK is for India to expand its campaign to people living outside of London, with the belief that the close links between the two countries and their cultures will encourage repeat visitors.
There are currently 17 flights from the UK to India every day, from a variety of airlines including British Airways, Air India, Jet Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Bicester Airlines.
As Dr. Lalit Panwar, Secretary (Tourism), Government of India said, “India is very happy to be sponsoring the WTM Buyers’ Club for WTM London 2015. The objective of the Ministry of Tourism is to promote India as a year round luxury destination through its vibrant destinations and tourism products and to increase tourist traffic to the country. There is an ever-increasing amount of new and exciting products to educate the world’s leading buyers about. WTM London is an event when the Indian tourism stakeholders get to meet the world’s buyers and sign business agreements. The Ministry of Tourism and the Indian exhibitors look forward to a very successful WTM London 2015.”
WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “WTM London will host more than 9,000 of the world’s most important buyers through the WTM Buyers’ Club. These buyers will sign deals worth more than £2.5 million with exhibitors. India is in prime position to promote its exciting range of tourism products to these buyers through its sponsorship of the WTM Buyers’ Club.”