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Economy, Services and Tourism

caves of Ajanta, pink city, Ellora, Khajuraho, Taj Mahal

In 2000 service industries, including transport, trade, banking and insurance, real estate, and public administration and defense, accounted for 48 percent of the GDP. Retail and wholesale trade are important to India’s service economy. Major cities, such as Mumbai and Kolkata, are centers of such trade. Government service is also very important. India’s government provides many social services to its population, particularly in the fields of education, health, and public administration.

Tourism is another significant part of India’s service economy. In 2000, 2.6 million tourists visited the country. Foreign exchange earnings from tourism were more than $3.3 billion that year. The bulk of India’s tourists come from Bangladesh and Pakistan. Other major countries of origin include the United Kingdom, the United States, Sri Lanka, Germany, France, and Japan. Among India’s attractions are the more than 20 locations designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as World Heritage sites. Most foreign tourists visit a few tourist sites, such as the Taj Mahal and other monuments in Agra; the “pink city” of Jaipur, known for its pink-hued architecture; and Delhi, with its magnificent Red Fort and many museums. Other tourist destinations include the rock-cut caves of Ajanta and Ellora, the temples at Khajuraho, and the beaches in Kerala, as well as cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi, Varanasi, and Udaipur.

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