An increase of 16 per cent from 2009: Palace Board
The city of palaces has registered a major milestone as the tourist traffic here crossed the 3-million mark, reinforcing its position as one of India's top tourist destinations.
As against nearly 2.69 million tourists who visited Mysore during January-December in 2009, the number was 3.15 million during the same period in 2010 — an increase of nearly 16 per cent.
The figures are based on statistics computed by the Palace Board based on the sale of tickets for entry into the Mysore palace. The board reasons that first-time visitors to Mysore make it a point to visit the palace and hence the number of tickets sold is a barometer of the tourist arrival.
The actual number of tourists visiting Mysore is higher, as most weekend-visitors from Bangalore skip the palace. Pilgrims to Chamundi Hills and Nanjangud tend to bypass the conventional places of interest as well. Hence it can be safely surmised that the number of tourists visiting Mysore is high, according to deputy director of the Palace Board P. Awaradhi.
He told The Hindu that the statistics compiled by the Palace Board included the nationality of the tourists, and this clearly indicates that the tourism sector in Mysore is entirely driven by domestic tourists, while foreign tourists constitute only a fraction.
There has been a steady growth in the number of tourists visiting the city. The target is to achieve the 5 million mark by 2020.
A study of the statistics compiled by the Palace Board underlines the fact that tourist flow never dropped below the one lakh mark at any time during the last two years. Nearly 3.96 lakh tourists visited the palace in December 2010, as compared to 3.88 lakh people who visited during the same period in 2009. The only drop in tourist flow in 2010 was in March when the numbers dipped to 1.6 lakh, but rose to 2.58 lakh again in April.
A domestic tourism survey conducted by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, a few years ago indicated that Mysore, along with Bangalore, was listed among the most popular places visited.
According to statistics (2009 figures) uploaded by the Ministry of Tourism, Taj Mahal continues to be a top draw with nearly 3 million people visiting, while Red Fort drew about 2.37 million and the Qutub Minar attracted 2.15 million tourists. Mysore Palace, although not in this list, may be considered only second to the Taj Mahal in this regard.
The completion of the track doubling work between Mysore and Bangalore, and introduction of more flights to the city could add to these tourist numbers to the city.