Apply for India eVisa

Indian Tourism Industry

The Indian tourism industry, with its cultural heritage and diverse attractions, is a vital contributor to the country's economy, drawing millions of travellers annually and playing a key role in India's GDP, employment, and global appeal as a travel destination.

Indian Tourism Industry

Contribution to the economy

The travel and tourism sector is one of the largest service sectors in India, accounting for a significant share of the country's GDP in the following ways:

  • Direct revenue: The sector generates direct revenue from the spending of tourists on accommodation, food, transportation, activities, and shopping. 
  • Indirect revenue: The sector also generates indirect revenue through its impact on other sectors of the economy, such as transportation, hospitality, and retail. For example, the tourism sector supports the Indian aviation industry, which in turn employs over 1 million people.
  • Tax revenue: The tourism sector generates tax revenue for the government from the taxes paid by businesses in the sector and by tourists themselves. 
  • Employment: The tourism sector is a major employer in India, supporting over 37 million jobs. These jobs are spread across a wide range of industries, including hospitality, transportation, food and beverage, and retail. The tourism sector also creates jobs in rural and semi-urban areas, where it can help to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods.


Domestic and international tourism

India is a popular destination for both domestic and international tourists. In 2022, the country received over 6.19 million foreign tourists and 1,036.35 million domestic tourists. 

  • Top Five Inbound Tourist Markets for India

Bangladesh: Proximity and cultural ties make Bangladesh a significant source of inbound tourism for India. Tourists from Bangladesh visit India for religious pilgrimage, historical sites, and cultural experiences.

United States: The United States is a key contributor to India's inbound tourism. Travellers from the U.S. explore India's diverse offerings, from its rich heritage and spirituality to its scenic landscapes and vibrant cities.

United Kingdom: Historical connections between India and the United Kingdom continue to drive British tourists to India. They are drawn to India's iconic landmarks, colonial history, and diverse cuisine.

Canada: Canada is another important source of tourists for India. Travellers from Canada seek India's cultural diversity, spirituality, and natural beauty, with popular destinations including the Golden Triangle and Kerala.

Nepal: The proximity of Nepal to India and the shared Himalayan region attract tourists from Nepal. They explore India's northern regions for adventure tourism, spiritual experiences, and cultural immersion.

  • Top Five Domestic Tourist Destinations in India

Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu is known for its rich cultural heritage, historic temples, and beautiful beaches. The state attracts domestic tourists with its vibrant festivals and culinary delights, making it a top choice for travellers.

Uttar Pradesh: Uttar Pradesh boasts iconic destinations like the Taj Mahal in Agra and Varanasi's spiritual aura. These attractions draw millions of domestic tourists seeking cultural and historical experiences.

Maharashtra: Maharashtra is a diverse state offering everything from the bustling city of Mumbai to serene hill stations like Mahabaleshwar. Tourists come for the Bollywood allure, historic sites, and natural beauty.

Karnataka: Karnataka's attractions range from the tech hub of Bangalore to the heritage sites of Hampi and the natural beauty of Coorg. The state offers a mix of urban experiences and outdoor adventures.

Rajasthan: Known as the "Land of Kings," Rajasthan captivates domestic tourists with its magnificent palaces, forts, and desert landscapes. The state's rich history and royal heritage make it a favourite for cultural exploration.

Types of tourism in India

India offers a wide range of tourism products and experiences, including:

  • Cultural tourism: India is home to a rich and diverse culture, with a wide range of historical monuments, religious sites, and festivals. Cultural tourism is one of the most popular types of tourism in India.
  • Adventure tourism: India's diverse landscape offers a variety of opportunities for adventure tourism, such as trekking, mountaineering, rafting, and wildlife safaris.
  • Medical tourism: India is a global leader in medical tourism, offering high-quality healthcare services at affordable prices.
  • Wellness tourism: India is also a popular destination for wellness tourism, with a wide range of spas and yoga centres offering holistic treatments.
  • Ecotourism: India has a rich biodiversity and a number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Ecotourism is a growing segment of the Indian tourism industry.

Government initiatives

The government is committed to promoting tourism in the country. The Ministry of Tourism has launched a number of initiatives to attract more tourists to India, including:

  • Incredible India campaign: This campaign aims to promote India as a global tourist destination and to showcase its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty.
  • e-Tourist Visa scheme: This scheme makes it easier for foreign visitors to obtain a visa to India.
  • Investment in infrastructure development: The government is investing in developing tourism infrastructure, such as roads, airports, and hotels.
  • Improvement in the quality of tourism services: The government is working to improve the quality of tourism services in the country, such as tour guide training and customer service.

Future outlook

The travel and tourism sector in India is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. The World Travel and Tourism Council forecasts that the sector will contribute more to the Indian economy by 2031. The WTTC also forecasts that India will become the third most popular tourist destination in the world by 2030.

Future outlook


The growth of the travel and tourism sector will be driven by a number of factors, including:

  • Rising incomes: India's middle class is growing rapidly, and people are spending more money on travel and leisure.
  • Increased urbanisation: India is becoming increasingly urbanised, and people in cities are more likely to travel.
  • Improved infrastructure: The Indian government is investing in infrastructure development, such as new roads, airports, and hotels. This will make it easier for people to travel to and within India.
  • Relaxed visa restrictions: The Indian government is relaxing visa restrictions for citizens of some countries. This will make it easier for people from these countries to visit India.

Challenges facing the travel and tourism sector in India

The travel and tourism sector in India faces a number of challenges, including:

  • Lack of Infrastructure

India's tourism infrastructure, encompassing transportation networks, roads, airports, and accommodations, requires substantial improvements to meet the demands of an expanding tourism industry. Inadequate infrastructure can hinder tourists' experiences and deter them from returning.

  • Visa Restrictions

Some tourists perceive India's visa regime as restrictive, which may deter potential visitors. Simplifying and streamlining the visa application process could enhance India's appeal as a tourist destination.

  • Safety and Security Concerns

India has witnessed high-profile incidents of crime and terrorism in the past, which can raise concerns about safety among travellers. Ensuring the safety of tourists through effective security measures and public awareness campaigns is crucial.

  • Sustainability Concerns

The Indian tourism industry must prioritise sustainability to minimise its environmental impact and support local communities. Sustainable tourism practices, such as reducing plastic waste and conserving natural resources, are vital for the long-term health of the sector and the preservation of India's natural and cultural heritage.

Popular tourist destinations in India

India's tourist destinations, such as the Taj Mahal, Kerala's backwaters, and Varanasi, offer diverse cultural, historical, and natural experiences, making India an enriching travel destination for all interests.

  • Taj Mahal in Agra

The Taj Mahal stands as a timeless testament to love and artistry. Built over two decades by Emperor Shah Jahan, it is an architectural masterpiece adorned with intricate marble inlays and semi-precious stones. The symmetrical gardens, reflecting pools, and the mausoleum's ethereal white marble make it a photographer's paradise and a place of profound beauty.

Taj Mahal in Agra

  • Backwaters of Kerala

Kerala's backwaters, an intricate network of waterways, are a tranquil escape. Travelling in traditional houseboats, you can drift along palm-fringed canals, watch traditional village life unfold, and witness mesmerising sunsets over the water. It's a serene immersion into Kerala's natural beauty and cultural heritage.

  • Historical Places in Jaipur

Jaipur, Rajasthan's capital, is a captivating blend of history and royalty. The City Palace, a stunning complex of palaces, courtyards, and museums, showcases the opulence of the Rajput rulers. Amber Fort, a hilltop fortress, offers panoramic views and a chance to explore its ornate chambers. Hawa Mahal, with its distinctive honeycomb facade, served as a royal women's viewing gallery, while Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observatory with fascinating instruments.

Historical Places in Jaipur

  • Spiritual Destinations - Varanasi and Bodh Gaya

Varanasi, the spiritual heart of India, is a city of ghats along the Ganges River. Pilgrims come to cleanse their souls in the sacred waters, and the Ganga Aarti ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat is a mesmerising spectacle. Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment, is a place of deep contemplation. 

Varanasi and Bodh Gaya

  • Goa's Beaches

Goa's beaches, lining the Arabian Sea, are a tropical paradise. From the bustling shores of Baga and Calangute to the serene sands of Palolem, there's a beach for every mood. Goa's unique blend of Indian and Portuguese influences is evident in its architecture, cuisine, and vibrant festivals.

Goa's Beaches

  • Himalayan Regions

The Himalayas offer a world of adventure and natural splendour. Manali and Shimla, in Himachal Pradesh, provide respite with their lush landscapes and snow-capped peaks. Leh-Ladakh, in Jammu and Kashmir, is an adventurer's dream, with high-altitude desert landscapes, monasteries, and challenging treks.


What is the significance of the Travel and Tourism sector in India's economy?

The Travel and Tourism sector is a vital contributor to India's economy, providing employment opportunities to millions of people and contributing significantly to the country's GDP. It encompasses a wide range of services and activities, including hospitality, transportation, and tourist attractions.

What are some popular tourist destinations in India?

India offers a diverse array of tourist destinations. Some well-known places include the Taj Mahal in Agra, Jaipur's historical places, the backwaters of Kerala, the Himalayan regions, Goa's beaches, and spiritual destinations like Varanasi and Bodh Gaya.

What challenges does the Travel and Tourism industry face in India?

The industry faces challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, including roads and utilities, regulatory issues, marketing and promotion gaps, and the need for skilled human resources. Security concerns and taxation issues also impact the sector.

Are there opportunities for startups in the Travel and Tourism sector?

Yes, there are ample opportunities for startups in this sector. They can innovate in areas like virtual tourism, sustainable travel, niche tourism experiences, and technology-driven solutions for travellers and service providers.

How can travellers ensure their safety when visiting India?

 Travellers should follow safety guidelines, research destinations, and stay informed about local customs and regulations. It's advisable to use reputable travel agencies, maintain proper hygiene, and stay updated on travel advisories from their respective countries.

What are some of the recent trends in the Indian Travel and Tourism sector?

Recent trends include a growing interest in sustainable and eco-friendly tourism, a focus on experiential travel, increased use of technology such as virtual reality and mobile apps for travel planning, and a preference for offbeat and rural destinations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *