Britons top India's tourist arrival list

Union Tourism Minister informed Rajya Sabha that 538,750 British tourists arrived in India in 2005.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 17:36 IST

The British backpackers made up the highest number of foreigners flocking to India last year followed by American and French tourists, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni told the House that Immigration Bureau records showed that 538,750 British tourists arrived in India in 2005.

The number of American tourist arrivals to India last year was 521,789, French 138,130 and Canadians 133,191, she said in her reply.

Immigration Bureau figures put Nepalis at the bottom of the country-wise tourist arrival list, with 72,031 people visiting India from Nepal.

Australian arrivals were a bit higher than from Nepal, with 81,625 tourists turning to India from Down Under last year.

In a separate reply, Soni said India recorded an estimated 11.7 per cent increase in total foreign arrivals in 2005-06 compared to those in 2004-05.

Also, the country earned $4,789 million in foreign exchange from tourism between April, 2005 and January this year, 20.1 per cent more than the foreign tourism revenue in 2004-05, the Minister added.

Medical Tourism

India has introduced a medical visa category for foreigners intending to visit the country for health treatment, Soni said in another reply, adding efforts were on to promote medical and health tourism.

As part of those efforts, guidelines have also been issued for accreditation of ayurvedic and panchkarma centres across the country.

First Published: Mar 07, 2006 16:59 IST