New Delhi: Terrorist attacks and global economic slowdown have resulted in a fall in the number of tourists travelling to India since October last year, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, tourism minister Ambika Soni said 5.08 million tourists visited India in the year 2007, recording a growth of 14.56%.
The growth rate was better than the world average of around 6%.
However, since October last year, there has been some reduction, she said. “This is not just because of terrorist attacks but also due to economic recession in source markets like the US and western Europe.”
In December 2008, foreign tourist arrivals were 521,990, which were 12.5% lower than the number of arrivals in the corresponding month of the previous year. Similarly, January saw a 17.6% drop to 487,262.
Soni said the Ministry of Tourism provides central financial assistance to the state governments for infrastructure development in rural sites having tourism potential under the Scheme of Product/Infrastructure Development for Destination and Circuits.
The Ministry sanctions Rs50 lakh for infrastructure development and Rs20 lakh for capacity building for each rural site, she added.
“So far, 139 rural projects in 27 states have been sanctioned including 36 rural sites where United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has provided support for capacity building,“ the Minister said.
Ministry of Tourism promotes and publicises all tourism products including rural tourism sites, through print, electronic and internet media under the ‘Incredible India´ campaign and has included rural eco-holidays in the ‘Visit India 2009´ promotion.
“Information is also disseminated through the website and through India Tourism Offices in the country and abroad,” Soni added.