Over 68,800 foreign tourists arrived in India on e-tourist visa in September, an increase of 116.9 per cent as compared to the same period last year.
Out of the countries availing the e-tourist visa facility, the UK grabbed the top spot, followed by the US and China.
"68,809 foreign tourists arrived in September on e-tourist visa as compared to 31,729 during the month of September last year, registering a growth of 116.9 per cent," a statement said.
Launched on November 27, 2014, the facility was available for citizens of 113 countries arriving at 16 airports in India till February 25. It was extended for citizens of 37 more countries from February 26.
Among the top 10 source countries availing the facility in July, the UK share was maximum with 15.5 per cent, followed by the US (12.4 per cent), China (9 per cent), Australia (6 per cent), Germany (4.8 per cent) and France (4.3 per cent).
The share of Spain was 3.6 per cent, while that of Canada was 3.1 per cent, the UAE 2.6 per cent and Malaysia 2.6 per cent.
During January-September, a total of 6,75,302 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 2,01,705 during January-September 2015, recording a growth of 234.8 per cent.
"This high growth may be attributed to introduction of e-tourist visa for 150 countries as against the earlier coverage of 113 countries," the statement said.
Among the top 10 ports, where tourists availing online facility arrived, New Delhi Airport share was highest with 51.71 per cent, followed by Mumbai Airport (21.06 per cent), Bengaluru Airport (6.44 per cent), Chennai Airport (6.27 per cent), Kochi Airport (3.50 per cent) and Hyderabad Airport (2.45 per cent).
The share of Kolkata Airport was 2.34 per cent, while that of Trivandrum Airport (1.35 per cent), Amritsar Airport (1.18 per cent) and Dabolim (Goa) Airport (1.11 per cent).
Promotion of computerisation in tourism would also help the IT services industry in a win-win situation, Sheth said. Like it happened in the IT industry, entrepreneurship needs to grow in tourism industry for the sector to grow, he said. "Think about making that unbranded street food, package it, promote it like 'Haldirams'. You are going to be millionaire. And, also serve the society well... So, we need to just upgrade the way you do businesses," he said. Citing the example of China, Sheth suggested that hosting mega conventions would attract more tourists. "China is hosting mega conventions...
Event based tourism is what Singapore has done. Not just meant for Singaporeans, but everybody comes there... That is a big thing. For which, you need to build an infrastructure," he said. "So, all major cities of the world have gone from typical small group tourism to more convention-style tourism. Because, then you can sustain a large convention bureau, a hotel structure etc," Sheth said. The state tourism boards need to take good care of tourists from the moment they land till they leave, he said. Noting that the IT industry grew in the country as governments took steps, like establishing Special Economic Zones and engineering colleges, he said tourism can become more organised. Hospitality industry is organised, but the tourism sector as a whole needs to get more organised in different aspects, he added.