Dr. Sharma said that the implementation of Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) enabled Visa on Arrival, for 43 countries, is showing excellent results and the Government is hopeful that this facility will be extended to all remaining countries in the near future. He informed that as on 21 January 2015, (less than 2 months from the launch of this facility) 41,114 TVOAs have been issued. Expressing happiness over positive growth of both international and domestic tourism, he said Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during 2014 were 74.62 lakh with a growth of 7.1% as compared to the FTAs of 69.68 lakh in 2013.
The Minister underlined that the true potential of the country is much more. A target of increasing the tourist arrivals to 10 million in near future has been setup. Dr. Sharma said that the airlines sector is an important part of the supply chain for Make in India in Tourism sector. He said over 90 percent international tourists arrive in India by air. The Minister added that the growth of aviation depends on good commercial decisions, and on the quality and capacity of Indias airports, and the other highly visible infrastructure associated with aviation.
The delegates from airlines and tourism industries deliberated on various issues concerning promotion of tourism and increasing connectivity. The issues raised included better airport infrastructure, security measures including womens safety, increasing immigration counters, cleanliness, e-visa facility etc. Dr. Sharma assured that whatever issues were discussed during the interaction will be addressed within a definite time frame.