India is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 ranks India 65th out of 144 countries overall. The report ranks the price competitiveness of India's tourism sector 20th out of 144 countries. It mentions that India has quite good air transport (ranked 39th), particularly given the country’s stage of development, and reasonable ground transport infrastructure (ranked 42nd). Some other aspects of its tourism infrastructure remain somewhat underdeveloped however. The nation has very few hotel rooms per capita by international comparison and low ATM penetration. The World Tourism Organization reported that India's receipts from tourism during 2012 ranked 16th in the world, and 7th among Asian and Pacific countries. [WIKIPEDIA]

The tourism industry of India is economically important and is growing rapidly. The World Travel & Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated INR6.4 trillion or 6.6% of the nation's GDP in 2012. It supported 39.5 million jobs, 7.7% of its total employment. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.9% from 2013 to 2023. This gives India the third rank among countries with the fastest growing tourism industries over the next decade. India has a large medical tourism sector which is expected to grow at an estimated rate of 30% annually to reach about ? 95 billion by 2015. According to provisional statistics 6.29 million foreign tourists arrived in India in 2011, an increase of 8.9% from 5.78 million in 2010. This ranks India as the 38th country in the world in terms of foreign tourist arrivals. Domestic tourist visits to all states and Union Territories numbered 1,036.35 million in 2012, an increase of 16.5% from 2011. The most represented countries are the United States (16%) and the United Kingdom (12.6%). In 2011, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi were the most popular states for foreign tourists. Domestic tourists visited the states Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu most frequently. Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Agra have been the four most visited cities of India by foreign tourists during the year 2011. Worldwide, Chennai is ranked 41 by the number of foreign tourists, while Delhi is ranked at 50, Mumbai at 57 and Agra at 65 and Kolkata at 99. India requires citizens of most countries to have a valid passport and apply for a visa at their local Indian embassy or consulate, before they travel. They can apply directly by mail or in person, or through their local travel services company. India has recently implemented an online method for citizens of 40 countries to apply and receive pre-approved visa on arrival. [WIKIPEDIA] .

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