India’s Domestic Tourists increase by 16% crossing 1 Billion Mark

New Delhi: Bringing cheer to travel companies faced with a drop in foreign tourist arrivals in India last year, the government said domestic tourism crossed the one billion mark in 2012.

The tourism ministry, in a statement here Friday, said provisional figures showed there were 1,036.35 million domestic tourists during 2012 — which is a 16.5 percent increase over the 864.53 million recorded in 2011.

Initial estimates of foreign tourist arrivals in 2013 show a falling growth of around four percent, less than the five percent growth in 2012 when upwards of 20 million foreign tourists visited India.

Foreign exchange earnings from tourism in 2013 grew 2.2 percent to $18.1 billion — compared to a growth of 7 percent in previous years.

The drop in foreign tourists last year is attributed by both industry and government circles to concerns about women’s safety in the country, particularly with women making up 30 percent of foreign tourists to India.