NATIONAL

Foreign tourist arrivals looking up

New Delhi Nov. 9. There has been an improvement in the foreign tourist arrivals in the post-September 11, 2001 phase, marking a recovery from recession.

For the first time since then, the number of foreign tourists in October recorded an increase of 16.8 per cent. The total number of arrivals was 212191, in comparison to last year's arrivals of 181605. Figures available with the Ministry of Tourism reveal that the increase of 16.8 per cent in October is high, though not as high as the pre-September 11 period.

The travel and tourism sector had been hit the hardest because of a chain of events following the terror attack on the World Trade Centre in the U.S. This was followed by the December 13 terrorist attack on Parliament House in New Delhi and the subsequent prolonged tension with Pakistan, with speculations of a war.

But what hurt tourism sector the most was the Travel Advisories issued by most developed countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., against travel to India.

However, the travel, tourism and aviation sectors are slowly coming out of recession experienced last year.

Holding of some significant international tourism events and a world tourism mart in India seem to have paid off and arrivals are picking up.

Besides, the Ministry is focussing on improving its product.

The total arrivals in 2000, between January and October, was 20,45835. In 2001 it was 20,73053 and in 2002 it is 18,29548.

The foreign exchange earnings during January-October this year are Rs 10,559.41 crore, as against Rs 11,698.08 crore.

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