London: Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma pitched for India as a tourist destination, saying the country has a rich and diverse natural, cultural, and religious heritage which provides a unique opportunity for tourism.
Addressing the 'World Travel Market (WTM) 2016' in London, he said, "the architecture of India's temples, palaces, forts, the grandeur of its sculptures, and the beauty of its paintings, all offer an unparalleled experience."
Besides, he said, "the desert circuit in Rajasthan, snow-bound Himalayas, backwaters of Kerala, and the beaches of Goa are very popular with international tourists".
India has 35 World Heritage Sites including cultural properties and bio-geographical zones, he added.
"India has a rich and diverse natural, cultural, and religious heritage which provides a unique opportunity for tourism," the minister said.
'World Travel Market (WTM)' is one of the largest international events of the travel and tourism industry.
India is the official Premier Partner at WTM 2016 with the theme ? 'India - The Land of Eternal Heritage'.
Around 42 co-exhibitors and partners including state and union territory tourism departments, tour operators, hoteliers, resort owners, Air India, IRCTC, ITDC, and other stakeholders are present at the India Stand, to showcase their diverse tourism products and services.
Sharma said the Indian tourism outlook is "certainly very promising" with an upswing in the growth of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India in the recent years.
The minister said that India has set a target to achieve one per cent of international tourist arrivals through a multi-pronged approach, including proactive marketing strategies in partnership with the tourism stakeholders.