India hopes to boost Gulf tourism numbers

Wish you were here... sites like the Taj Mahal in Agra will lure Gulf tourists.

India, an attractive destination for Gulf tourists, is hoping to further boost tourist arrivals from the region this year.

"Tourism is a major contributor of foreign exchange for the country. Favourable foreign exchange rate, proximity and old cultural and trade links are key factors in luring tourists to India from this region," says Gour Kanjilal, regional director, India Tourism, Dubai.

"Gulf holidaymakers like the casual and informal atmosphere in India. Nowhere else one can find such an extensive mix of art, culture, nature, adventure, leisure, shopping and the human touch as in India. The country offers top-of-the-line accommodation at chain hotels, unique heritage hotels as at also simple lodges at affordable prices.

"Then there is the unique holiday comprising bazaars with live cooking, people in ethnic dress from specific regions of India; food festivals; fashion shows etc. These are a huge attraction for tourists, as are tourism-oriented festivals and cultural events that go on throughout the year. Moreover, there are a host of adventure activities on offer - water sports, trekking, safaris are available for the adventure seekers," says Kanjilal.

"The Gulf and Middle East are a prime market for India. We want to achieve a year-on-year growth of minimum 10 per cent in tourist arrivals from the Gulf market."