Reflective of India's growing popularity as a tourist destination, the country's earnings from foreign tourists has almost doubled between 2002 and 2005.
The foreign exchange earnings from inbound tourism, estimated at $2923 million (approx 13153.5 crore) in 2002 rose to $5731 million (approx 25789.5 crore) in 2005, showing a growth of 96 per cent in three years time, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni told Rajya Sabha in reply to a question.
Soni said her Ministry has taken several initiatives for promoting arrivals of foreign tourists and increasing earnings from tourism that include the 'Incredible India' campaign, creation of world class collaterals, centralised electronic media campaign, focusing on growth of hotel infrastructure and direct cooperative marketing with airlines, tour operators and wholesalers overseas.
Orissa: The Centre has identified the Bhubaneshwar-Dhauli-Puri-Konark circuit in Orissa for development as a major tourist draw.
Soni said the government has sanctioned Rs 720.09 lakh during 2005-06 for integrated development of the circuit.
In reply to another question, the minister said MoUs have been signed between the Orissa government and three hotel companies for setting up star hotels in the state.
Star hotels are proposed to be set up in places like Bhubaneshwar, Puri, Konark, Paradeep, Duburi, Jharsuguda, Satapda and Barakul within three years.
Soni also told the House that her ministry had prepared a 20-year perspective tourism plan for Orissa, which has been sent to the state government for their guidance.