New Delhi: Foreign tourists coming to India, numbers suggest, have disregarded the anti-CAA protests that have been happening in various parts of the country since the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed in the second week of December last year. In fact, details collated by the Bureau of Immigration suggest that the number of foreign nationals coming to India has seen an increase in December 2019 and January 2020 compared to the corresponding period in December 2018-January 2019.
As per government records, in December 2019, the number of foreign travelers who came to India was 12,26,304, whereas the corresponding figure for December 2018 was 11,959,46, an increase of 2.5%.
Similarly, in January 2020, the number of such travelers recorded was 11,18,275. The corresponding figure for January 2019 was 11,11,040. The increase in the number of foreigners visiting India, ignoring the negative news that the passing of the CAA has generated, especially in the US, has come as a shot in the arm for government policymakers who have been maintaining that the “campaign” that is being carried out in the foreign media against the Modi government is “manufactured”.
The number of foreign travelers coming to India crossed 1 crore for the first time in 2017 when 1 crore 40,000 tourists visited India. In 2018, that number rose to more than 1 crore 56 lakh and in 2019, it crossed 1 crore 89 lakh.
The number of foreign travelers coming to India had registered a negative growth in 2009 in the wake of the November 2008 Mumbai attack and the resultant atmosphere of insecurity and vulnerability. According to officials, if all goes well, the number of foreign tourists coming to India in 2020 is likely to touch 2.50 crore. “Apart from Bangladesh (which account for maximum foreign tourists coming to India), around 30% of our foreign tourists come from the US (around 15%), United Kingdom (11-12%) and Canada. With US President Trump visiting India soon and the increased bilateral cooperation, the result of which will be visible on the ground, we expect that the number of foreign travelers from these three countries will see a rise this year. The recent numbers clearly show that foreign nationals have ignored the negative sentiments that were and is being spread across various platforms. We are working very diligently to make India a tourist-friendly place and the increasing numbers bear a testimony to our efforts,” a senior IAS official with the ministry of tourism, not authorised to speak to the media, said. The country got $27.31 billion as earnings from foreign tourists in 2017 which rose to $28.58 billion in 2018.