"Growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13 percent, India's foreign exchange earnings from the tourism sector are likely to reach USD 26 billion by 2015 from the current level of USD 20 billion," the chamber said in a statement.
    
Besides, the arrival of foreign tourists in India is likely to cross 80 lakh mark by 2015 from 70 lakh at present, with a CAGR of seven percent, according to an analysis conducted by Assocham, ahead of the World Tourism Day on Friday.
    
The state-wise analysis revealed that Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are the top five destinations for foreign tourists and comprise 70 percent of the total number of foreign tourists visiting India.
    
Maharashtra tops the list with a share of 25 percent, followed by Tamil Nadu (17 percent), Delhi (11 percent), Uttar Pradesh (10 percent) and Rajasthan (seven percent).
    
"The Centre should further push India's tourism industry as its contribution to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) is about 6.6 percent while its contribution to the total workforce is about 7.7 percent and accounts for six percent of the total investments," Assocham secretary general DS Rawat said.
    
The foreign exchange earned through tourism is critical to combat the rising current account deficit (CAD) and the government should look to boost foreign tourist inflow by easing the visa regime and enter into agreements with various countries' to strengthen tourism cooperation, he added.
    
With over USD 17 billion earnings, tourism has emerged as India's fourth biggest foreign exchange earner after exports of petroleum at USD 60.8 billion, gems and jewellery (USD 43.3 billion) and transport equipments (USD 18.3 billion), the chamber said.
    
"In terms of growth in international tourism receipts, India has clocked a CAGR of 12.9 percent which is higher as compared to 9.5 percent at Asia-Pacific level and 6.1 percent globally," according to the analysis.
    
Tourists from the US constitute about 16 percent share in the total arrival of foreign tourists across India, followed by the UK at 11.9 percent.
    
Besides, Bangladesh at seven percent, Sri Lanka (4.5 percent share) and Canada (3.8 percent share) are among the top five countries with maximum foreign tourist arrivals in India.

(Agencies)

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