Top 10 destination States for foreign tourists in 2003 were Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, UP, West Bengal, Delhi, Rajasthan, AP, Goa, Kerala and Karnataka. In 2004, about 550 million domestic tourists visited various tourist locations compared to 236 m in 2001. In 2004, 6.2 million Indians visited abroad as tourists. India’s share in the world tourism is 0.44% in 2004 compared to 0.37% in 2001. Tourism has very high job generation potential, estimated direct and indirect employment during 2003-2004 is 20.45 million direct and 27.81 million indirect employments.
Tourism is presently the third largest foreign exchange earning sector in India. Proper growth of this industry can augment the availability of foreign balanced development of a number of regions in the country. The approach to tourism in the Ninth Plan has been to concentrate on development of selected centres and circuits through effective co-ordination of public and private efforts So as to achieve synergy in the development of this sector.
The state will have to focus on development of basic infrastructure such as transport facilities and civic amenities, and to play a facilitating role in the provision of accommodation and other facilities for all classes of tourists, both domestic and international. Attention will also have to be paid to the development of manpower and to the conservation of sites and preservation of the environment.