India’s international tourism ranking has risen sharply, following a change in the way the country records its visitor arrivals.
When it compiles its data for international visitor arrivals, the UNWTO comprises two elements – foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) and non-resident arrivals (NRAs). Until now however, India’s government had only counted its FTAs.
Under a new process, the country’s Ministry of Tourism said it would now start to compile data for NRAs, which, given the size of the Indian diaspora, would significantly increase the inbound visitor count.
The total number NRAs to India in 2015 was 5.26 million. Combined with FTAs, this means that India actually welcomed a total of 13.28m overseas visitors that year, instead of the eight million previously published.
This has boosted India’s global UNWTO ranking, in terms of international visitor arrivals, from 40th to 24th in the world. It also means that India has now achieved its pre-stated aim of welcoming 1% of total global visitor arrivals.