India is among one of the highest growing tourist economies in the world in 2017.There was more than 14.0% growth in number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India in 2017 over 2016 along with a 19.2% increase (in US dollar terms) in the Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism for the same period. In 2017, Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism was Rs. 1, 77, 874 crores and India ranks 26th in the world in arrivals of global tourists.
Ministry of Tourism under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan- Integrated development of theme based tourist circuits and PRASHAD- National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive provides central financial assistance to State Governments/UT Administrations/Central Agencies for development of tourism infrastructure in the country. Under Swadesh Darshan scheme, fifteen thematic circuits have been identified for development, namely, North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Heritage Circuit, Tirthankar Circuit & Sufi Circuit and sanctioned 69 projects worth for Rs.5711.79 Crore to 29 States/UTs under the scheme. Under PRASHAD Scheme, 26 sites in 19 states for development has identified and 24 projects have been sanctioned for Rs.727.16 Crore under the scheme.
Viability Gap Scheme for Revenue Generating Tourism Projects’ promotes Public Private Partnership (PPP) in tourism infrastructure development in case of Revenue Generating Tourism Projects which include Tourist Trains, Inter-Island/ Intra-Island/ Inland Waterway Ferries, Sea Cruise Vessels, Convention Centre’s, Rope-ways/Cable Cars/Funicular Rail, Theme Parks, Amusement Parks, Ski-Cable, Heli-Tourism, Spas. At present there is no project where PPP model is used to develop tourism under this Scheme. The “Adopt a Heritage Project” of Ministry of Tourism also envisages collaborating with the private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for development of tourist amenities at the various natural/cultural heritage sites, monuments and other tourist sites to make them tourist friendly.