Tourism in India

Tourism in India

India recorded a total of 18 million tourists in 2019, ranking 14th in the world in absolute terms.

The fact that larger countries regularly perform better in a comparison of the absolute number of guests is obvious. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of India, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.013 tourists per resident, India ranked 182nd in the world. In South Asia, it ranked 5th.

In 2020, India generated around 13.41 billion US dollars in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 0.42 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 78 percent of all international tourism receipts in South Asia.

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Back to overview: India

The most popular city in India for international travelers is Delhi. In 2021, it reached the 72nd place of the world's most popular cities.

Tourism in India

Development of the tourism sector in India from 1995 to 2019

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in India each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g., crew members of ships or flights are also not considered tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all 8 countries in South Asia.

Tourists per year in India

Revenues from tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 2.58 billion USD, or about 0.72 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 2.12 million tourists at that time and roughly 1,216 USD per person. Within 25 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased noticeably. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales were $31.66 billion billion, 1.1 percent of gross national product. Thus, each visitor spent an average of $1,767 on their vacation in India.

In 2020, tourist receipts plummeted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $31.66 billion billion (2019), only $13.41 billion billion remained. This is a 58 percent decrease in India.

Tourism receipts in India per year

All data for India in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
201917.91 m31.66 bn $1.1 %1,767 $
201817.42 m29.14 bn $1.1 %1,673 $
201715.54 m27.88 bn $1.1 %1,794 $
201614.57 m23.11 bn $1.0 %1,586 $
201513.28 m21.47 bn $1.0 %1,616 $
201413.11 m20.76 bn $1.0 %1,584 $
20136.97 m19.04 bn $1.0 %2,733 $
20126.58 m18.34 bn $1.0 %2,788 $
20116.31 m17.71 bn $0.97 %2,807 $
20105.78 m14.49 bn $0.86 %2,509 $
20095.17 m11.14 bn $0.83 %2,155 $
20085.28 m12.46 bn $1.0 %2,359 $
20075.08 m11.23 bn $0.92 %2,211 $
20064.45 m8.92 bn $0.95 %2,005 $
20053.92 m7.66 bn $0.93 %1,954 $
20043.46 m6.31 bn $0.89 %1,824 $
20032.73 m4.56 bn $0.75 %1,673 $
20022.38 m3.30 bn $0.64 %1,384 $
20012.54 m3.34 bn $0.69 %1,317 $
20002.65 m3.60 bn $0.77 %1,358 $
19992.48 m3.01 bn $0.66 %1,213 $
19982.36 m2.95 bn $0.70 %1,250 $
19972.37 m2.89 bn $0.69 %1,217 $
19962.29 m2.83 bn $0.72 %1,237 $
19952.12 m2.58 bn $0.72 %1,216 $

Our data on tourist numbers, revenues and expenditures are based on information from the World Tourism Organization. However, to ensure international comparability, the data for some years or countries were manually researched and corrected if they obviously included visitors without overnight stays. In these cases, the data were taken from the official communications of the respective national tourism authorities.

The World Tourism Organization additionally points out that in some countries, the number of tourists is only counted at airports, while in others they are also counted at border crossings or even hotels. A comprehensive and reliable indication is therefore hardly possible in any country.

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