"We expect at least 17-18% growth in the arrival of foreign tourists in this year over eight million recorded in 2016. The numbers may touch 10 million this year", said Pronab Sarkar, president, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), the apex body of travel trade in the country.
"The atmosphere in India is very good other than the Doklam issue with China. Now, the issue has been defused, things will be better now", he added.
From January to July this year, India has registered a growth of over 15.7% in foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs). About 5.67 million foreign tourists have visited during the first seven months of 2017 compared to 4.9 million guests recorded in the corresponding period of 2016.
In July, the number of FTAs were 0.78 million compared to 0.73 million recorded in Jul 2016, an increase of 7.4%. The highest number of tourists arrived during July were from Bangladesh (20.12%), followed by the US (16.26%), the UK (10.88%) and France (3.01%).
About 1000 delegates including tour operators and travel writers will attend the annual event. Newly appointed Union tourism minister K J Alphons is slated to inaugurate the event where 16 states have agreed to participate.
"More than 12 million people are visiting Odisha every year and the numbers are growing by 9 to 10% annually. Ecotourism, MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) tourism, ethnic tourism are gaining momentum. Around 1,000 IATO members and other stakeholders will be deliberating on issues, which can lead to accelerated growth of tourism sector in the country and the inclusion of Odisha in their business plan will definitely lead to increase in tourist arrivals in our state", Mona Sharma, principal secretary, (tourism), Odisha government told media persons.