`International tourist arrivals on the rise'

NEW DELHI SEPT. 26. International tourist arrivals in the country have shown an increase by 14 per cent this year so far though the global tourism scenario was marred by factors such as the Iraq war, outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and threat of terrorism. Room occupancy in various hotels has increased by 27 per cent and inflow of foreign currency has gone up by 31 per cent in comparison to last year's figures.

The Union Tourism Minister, Jagmohan, told the fifth International Travel and Tourism Mart (ITTM) 2003 he inaugurated that the Government was trying to promote Indian tourism in the global market.

The country had been regularly participating in various travel and tourism marts, in Japan, U.K. and other European countries.

ITTM has drawn participation from Croatia, Malaysia, Macau, Tanzania, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Taiwan, Russia, Britain, Canada and Tunisia apart from all the State tourism departments, airlines and transport sectors and hotel industry. Tourist arrivals in India during June this year registered an increase of 27.5 per cent over June 2002.

During January to June this year more than 12.55 lakh tourists visited India compared to 11.25 lakh visitors in the corresponding period of 2002.

"Our endeavour in any case is to make India a hub of modern tourists. We have been developing various tourists spots accordingly,'' the Minister said. He said that several hubs such as Mahabalipuram, Hampi, Kumbalgarh, Srinagar, Gaya, Kolkata and Guwahati had been developed to promote tourism.

He hoped that new initiatives to attract tourists would include developing infrastructure by synthesising elements of culture, tourism and a clean civic life. The PHDCCI said tourism should be made a mass movement and recognised as a prime mover for promoting entrepreneurship, poverty reduction, and cooperative development.

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