Tourist arrivals up despite global meltdown, terror attacks

January 12th, 2009 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) The global meltdown and the terror attacks, especially the 26/11 Mumbai strike, has had no impact on foreign tourists’ arrival in India as an estimated 5.37 million travellers came to the country in 2008, a statement issued by the tourism ministry said Monday. According to the latest tourism ministry figures, an estimated 5.37 million tourists came to India as compared to 5.08 million in 2007.

“Inspite of global financial meltdown and terrorist activities, the number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) has increased in 2008 as compared to 2007,” the statement said.

In fact, the ministry said the impact of the Mumbai terror attack Nov 26 that left killed 173 people, including police officials and foreign nationals, was not felt as it was feared, as the number of tourist arrivals in December 2008 went up slightly as compared to November.

“The number of foreign tourist arrivals in December 2008 has risen to 522,000 as compared to 521,000 in November 2008,” the statement added.

The ministry compiled the figures on the basis of data received from major airports.

The officials said the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has predicted a growth rate of two to three percent for international tourist arrivals in the world during 2008.

They, however, said that India has seen a growth rate of 5.6 percent, which is much better than the world scenario.

UNWTO is a specialised agency of the United Nations and is the leading international organisation in the field of tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and practical source of tourism knowhow.

The ministry said that the foreign exchange earnings (FEE) from tourism also went up from Rs.440 billion in 2007 to over Rs.500 billion in 2008.

The foreign exchange earnings in December were higher than in November 2008.

“Foreign exchange earnings in December 2008 were Rs.50.83 billion as compared to Rs.49.35 billion in November 2008. In December 2007, the foreign exchange earnings was Rs.50.79 billion,” the statement said.

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