The tourism outlook for India is going from strength to strength with India’s Ministry of Tourism reporting that foreign tourist arrivals have significantly increased in the last few years, along with an 11.8% growth in visitor figures in August this year from 2015.

India Tourism UK is now looking to further improve these numbers by inspiring returning travellers to visit new ‘hidden gems’ of India. For instance, for those who have enjoyed the Golden Triangle and are eager to return to the country for their next adventure, the Ministry is hopeful that the lesser-known, off-the-beaten track regions will be their next port of call.

North East India in particular, where culture and wildlife can be found in abundance, will be a special focus for the tourism board in the UK, which expects to see a number of the 870,000 UK travellers who visited the country last year book a trip to Assam, Meghalaya or Manipur in 2017.

Luxury is also a key component for the tourist office’s plans for next year, in addition to highlighting the destination’s exceptional customer service and value for money. The Indian luxury portfolio stretches even further than the royal fortresses, with destinations such as Goa and Kerala well placed to offer ‘barefoot’ luxury.

The ministry has also identified cruise tourism and MICE as two of the niche products available in India for 2017 – both products are rapidly growing areas of travel to the country. Further to this, new flight routes from Manchester and increased airlift from Birmingham will enable more travellers to access the country.

The e-Tourist Visa (eTV), introduced to 113 countries globally in August last year, will be further promoted by the tourist office as a major incentive for travel in 2017. The scheme allows travellers to visit India up to twice in a calendar year and has simplified the application process, in turn encouraging tourism throughout the country. Costing £45, figures shared by the India Tourism Office London in September this year show that the eTV has accounted for almost a quarter of e-visas issued worldwide in the last year, with the UK representing the strongest market. In fact, in the last three years, growth from the UK market is up by nearly 100,000 visitors.

Meanwhile, India’s long-standing relations with the UK will be the focus of much festivity in 2017, the year marking the 70th anniversary of Independence. Further details will be announced in due course but are set to include some of the famous faces in Britain who are known for their love of India and are looking to share the messages of India Tourism UK.

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