PM’s foreign visits have boosted tourism: Mahesh Sharma

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visits to other nations have led to a rise in foreign tourists travelling to India, union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said on Wednesday.

Addressing the gathering of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), the minister said that after Modi’s visits, there has been a 10.3 percent increase in tourists from the US, 13.7 percent rise from Brazil, 5.7 percent rise from Germany, 7 percent rise from Canada, 49 percent rise from Uzbekistan, and 30 percent rise from Myanmar.

“It has been the vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see tourism as the backbone of the economy of the country,” Sharma said, adding that a tourism proposal will soon be put forth, which will boost tourism further.

The minister said that at the 31st annual IATO convention in Indore on August 20-23, any changes to the tourism proposal that would be suggested by the convention will be incorporated.

Sharma also said the IATO, the national association of tour operators, plans to develop tourism in Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep.

“Domestic tourism has also been progressing in the country — eco-tourism, medical tourism and niche tourism are all being promoted equally well,” he added.

Tourism secretary Lalit Panwar said the growth in the sector has been possible with e-visa which has been implemented in 76 countries so far.

IATO president Subhash Goyal said the association has given an assurance to Nepal, after the devastating earthquake, to promote tourism in the Himalayan nation among Indians.

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