New Delhi, Jan 17: Indian tourism industry boomed in 2017 as foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) touched a new high crossing 1 crore mark, and the earnings touched a whopping $27 billion. Also Read - Union Minister KJ Alphons, Shashi Tharoor File Nominations in Kerala

Union tourism minister KJ Alphons was upbeat with the number. He said that these numbers must increase dramatically because India was an incredible place and had everything for tourists. He informed that the sector was contributing 6.88 per cent to India’s gross domestic product and was employing 12 per cent of total employment. Also Read - Photo Twisted as Selfie to Defame me, Says Union Min KJ Alphons Over 'Selfie' at Pulwama Martyr Funeral

Due to these splendid numbers, India made to the list of top 40 countries on the Tourism Competitive Index– it was 65th on the list last year. The sources in the ministry said that the government’s focus in infrastructure development and the Swadesh Darshan scheme may have contributed to the success. An official told TOI that 11 projects had been sanctioned in 2017-18. The way forward would be to develop the Buddhist pilgrimage circuit. Also Read - Sabarimala Row: 68 People Taken Into Custody, KJ Alphons Says 'Situation Worse Than Emergency'

India was also planning to develop the north-eastern states from the perspective of tourism. India’s lush golf courses are also featured in government’s ‘Incredible India’ campaign. With this, the government intends to attract foreign golfers in the country. Efforts are on to popularise women’s Polo as well. The tourism ministry said that the Manipur polo team, which recently performed really well in the international circuit, will be roped in for this.