A worldwide fear of travelling due to the Swine flu pandemic did not deter domestic and foreign tourists from visiting Tamil Nadu, which has reported a whopping 31.3 per cent increase in arrivals from April to June, compared to the same period last year.

The huge increase, particularly in June, is notable as the spread of A(H1N1) virus had reportedly intensified that month in the state. So far, three people have died of swine flu in Tamil Nadu.

Notwithstanding this factor, a total of 2,09,97,022 tourists chose to visit the state during this period, compared to 1,59,85,655 last year, a 31.3 per cent growth, as per the statistics of the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department.

Interestingly, foreign tourists numbered 5,14,738, an increase of 13.78 per cent, compared to the same period last year when 4,52,374 tourists had come to the state.

Chennai is the most preferred destination for tourists in the state, followed by Udhagamandalam (Ooty) and Madurai. The city, which celebrated its 370th birthday last month, accounted for a total of 36,37,476 tourists during April-June, compared to 28,69,788 in the same period last year, a leap of 26.75 per cent.

Sri Lankans, Britishers and the Americans were the ones who most frequented the state among foreign tourists. A total of 47,276 Sri Lankans visited Tamil Nadu in April, May and June compared to the previous year’s 42,088, registering a growth of about 12 per cent. A distant second were those from the U.K., 29,929 of who came to the state, compared to 23,140 during the corresponding period last year, a 7.7 per cent growth. U.S. tourist arrivals saw a 10 per cent growth over last year, with 22,140 Americans deciding to visit Tamil Nadu, compared to 20,144 over the April-June period last year.