India expects to receive 20 per cent more tourists from the UAE this year and hopes the ongoing promotion drive in the region will boost the country's image as a travel destination.
Last year, 149,568 people from Arab countries visited India, an increase of 18 per cent from 2005, said Kamal Lochan Das, regional director of India Tourism for West Asia and Africa.
"We had about 55,000 visitors from the UAE in 2006. This year we are expecting 20 per cent more from this country," he said, adding that arrivals from other countries in the region also look optimistic.
There are an estimated 1,00,000 rooms in star-category hotels in the country. According to projections, India will need at least 1,00,000 additional hotel rooms in five years. The tourism sector contributes about six per cent to the country's gross domestic product.
Das said there is an increase of 16.2 per cent in foreign exchange earnings in the first three months of 2007 compared with the corresponding period in 2006.
The country has set a target of 10 million foreign visitor arrivals by 2010."India is a round-the-year destination with varied attractions to cater to all interests and age groups," Das said.