Report released by Union Ministry of Tourism

Once again, Tamil Nadu has retained its second slot in the country in attracting foreign tourists for the year 2011, while it has moved to third place in receiving domestic tourists.

According to the latest report, Maharashtra topped the list in number of foreign tourist visits, followed by Tamil Nadu and New Delhi. While Maharashtra received nearly 4.8 million tourists, Tamil Nadu welcomed 3.4 million people and New Delhi played host to 2.2 million foreigners.

The statistics released by the Union Ministry of Tourism for 2011, says the contribution of top 10 States was about 90.1 per cent to the total number of foreign tourists visits in the country for 2011.

The percentage shares of top 5 States were Maharashtra 24.7 per cent, Tamil Nadu 17.3 per cent, Delhi 11.1 per cent, Uttar Pradesh 9.7 per cent and Rajasthan 6.9 per cent.

In the case of domestic tourists’ arrival, Uttar Pradesh has pushed Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu a step down by welcoming 155.4 million tourists. Andhra Pradesh received 153.1 million people and Tamil Nadu 137.5 visitors.

The other States that have found a place in the top 10 list includes Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Gujarat.

The percentage shares of top five States are Uttar Pradesh 18.3 per cent, Andhra Pradesh 18 per cent, Tamil Nadu 16.2 per cent, Karnataka 9.9 per cent and Maharashtra 6.5 per cent.

Talking to The Hindu, a Tourism Department official said that Uttar Pradesh was able to topple Andhra Pradesh as more number of people started visiting temple towns in northern States.

Varanasi is the latest addition to their list of pilgrimage centres that includes Tirupati and Madurai. It was time to focus more on pilgrimage tours to stay ahead in the race. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation was in the process of starting specialised package tours to three Amman temples in and around the city and 108 Amman temples in different parts of the State.

These would start within the next 10 days, the official said.

“We were able to retain our position in foreign tourist arrivals as we lay emphasis on medical tourism, leisure tours, beach tours, rural tourism and heritage tourism among others. As Tamil Nadu is an all season-destination our next goal is to reach the topmost slot in the country in terms of foreign tourists’ arrival and improve our ranking in domestic sector,” he said.

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