Tourism arrivals to India grew by 2.1% year-on-year from January to August 2019 to a figure of 6.89 million following the introduction of India’s new e-visa, the country’s Ministry of Tourism has revealed.
The e-Visa, launched in August 2019, is now available in 169 countries and is valid for entry through 28 designated airports and five seaports.
Speaking to TTG at WTM London, Rupinder Brar, assistant director general for the Government of India Ministry of Tourism, said the Government of India had recently reduced the e-Visa fee to $10 for 30 days to boost arrivals during the low season months of April to June.
Outside of those months, costs are $25 from July to March for 30 days of travel.
Brar also noted that tourists are starting to move away from the Golden Triangle route for their trips.
“People are moving into the interior of the country to experience India in different ways,” she said, adding that many are favouring stays in small B&Bs and homestays.
Increasingly popular states include Uttarakhand, Kerala and north-eastern states such as Manipur. Brar added that the north-eastern states were becoming particularly popular with the country’s emerging adventure market.
To capitalise on this and on the trend for trekking in particular, the Indian government recently opened 137 mountain peaks for mountaineering and trekking.
The state of Gujarat, home of Mahatma Ghandi, is experiencing “huge footfall” this year, partly due to activity surrounding the anniversary of his birth 150 years ago on 2 October.
“It is becoming a major tourism destination, with some very interesting tour operator itineraries emerging,” Brer added.