Chandigarh expects a tourist boom in 2008

September 28th, 2008 - 2:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Sep 28 (IANS) Nearly one million tourists visited Chandigarh in 2007 and tourism officials feel the number in 2008 will easily surpass that milestone.According to tourism officials here, 954,726 tourists visited the centrally administered city in 2007. Of these, 928,159 were domestic tourists and 26,567 foreigners.

This figure was almost 225,000 more than the number of tourists visiting the city in 2006.

Nearly 629,275 tourists have visited the city in the first eight months of this year itself. Out of these 607,892 are domestic tourists and 21,383 foreigners, according to the data compiled by the tourism department here.

“Tourist traffic in city beautiful is increasing every year; especially the number of foreign tourists has increased considerably. The praise for all this goes to the administration and the tourism department that have continuously evolved one innovative way or the other to enhance tourism here,” Vinod Kalia, deputy director tourism, told IANS.

Figures of the last few years clearly show an increase in the flow of tourists to the city, considered a gateway to Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab.

In 2005, nearly 638,000 tourists visited the city while in 2006, nearly 730,000 tourists visited.

“The Chandigarh tourism action plan 2008 aims at promoting the city as a world class tourism destination. We are steadfast to make it the most tourist friendly and the safest city in the world,” said Vivek Atray, director of tourism.

“We have already started many schemes and are about to launch some more. We have recently launched a bed-and-breakfast scheme where tourists can stay with local families and get to know the culture of the city,” stated Atray.

The department Saturday launched the Chandigarh city card for shopping and eating, and also started a separate tourism police to strengthen the security cover of tourists.

A city card will cost Rs.100 and will be valid for one person for three days from the date of purchase. It will entitle the card holder to avail himself of various discounts at the city’s tourist destinations and at select hotels, restaurants and shops, said an official of the tourism department.

The official added that the tourism police would guide the tourists about local law and order, security measures, places of medical help, on matters relating to passport, visas, residential permits, exchange of currency and on immigration issues.

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