Foreign tourist arrivals to touch 10 million by 2010

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New Delhi, Oct 18 (UNI) The government today said foreign tourist inflow in the country is likely to more than double to 10 million from its present 4.4 million over the next three years.

''The number of foreign tourists which visited our country in 2006-2007 was 4.4 million, which will skyrocket to 10 million by 2010,'' Devesh Chaturvedi, Director in Tourism Ministry said on the sidelines of panel discussion organised by Yahoo India.

Foreign tourist arrivals are likely to touch six million in 2007-2008, he noted.

Emphasising on the role of online campaigning in the growth of tourism sector, Mr Chaturvedi said the government has earmarked Rs 40 crore for it.

Mr Chaturvedi also laid stress on the role played by websites in increasing the number of foreign tourists in the country and said the government was mulling of focusing on developing websites in other languages too.

''At present we have our websites in Japnese, Chinese and French but the government is serious on increasing the portfolio.'' He also said the government was focusing on tapping the age-group between 20-40 years as 60 per cent of the current tourist base consisted of this age group.

The tourist industry which is growing at a rate 20-25 per cent can be gauged from the fact that the forex earnings from tourism has shown a phenomenal growth of 14.6 per cent in one year from 5.73 billion dollars in 2005 to 6.56 billion dollars in 2006. Though foreign tourist arrivals recorded a double-digit growth, domestic travel is the backbone of Indian tourism industry, with 460 million Indians travelling last year.

UNI

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