Tamil Nadu pips Goa to become most frequented state by foreign tourists

Going by the numbers released by the Ministry of Tourism, 2015 saw some major turn-around in state ranking in attracting foreign footfalls. Contrary to popular wisdom, neither Goa, nor Kerala is the most visited destination by foreign tourists. In a stunning development, Tamil Nadu has piped Goa to become the number one state in the country. What makes this development even more extraordinary is the fact that Chennai was devastated by floods that caused heavy damage to its infrastructure and revenue generation. As per the data released by the MoT, a total of twenty million foreign visitors came to India’s shore – which is a slight improvement of 4.4 percent compared to the previous year.
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu catered to a whopping twenty percent of the total international inbound, clocking an impressive figure of 4.68 million international visitors. Maharashtra followed with 4.41 million tourists, and Uttar Pradesh, probably single-handedly because of the Taj Mahal, raked up 3.1 million footfalls. West Bengal, Kerala, Rajasthan, Bihar and Karnataka, respectively, follow these three top performers. Incidentally, top ten states attracting international footfalls account for a massive 88 percent of nation’s total international inbound.
Many tourism experts believe that Tamil Nadu’s ascent as the Numero Uno state is intrinsically linked to its thriving automobile and service industry. Also, the state leads in attracting medical tourists from distant shores who swarm state’s healthcare facilities in search of quality medical treatment at affordable prices.
While Tamil Nadu has given India’s tourism industry plenty to cheer, some of the usually high-performing states like Jammu and Kashmir have slowed down considerably. Take a look at this: the state registered a steep fall in numbers as only 58,000 tourists visited the valley in 2015 – which is a decline of 32 percent from the previous year. Northeast, too, despite sincere attempts by the government to increase connectivity and infrastructure, has witnessed a slowdown in footfalls. Some of the other states that registered a southward movement include Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan and Sikkim.  
Much of India’s growth in overall international numbers come from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, followed by the United States, United Kingdom and Malaysia. Some other key markets for India in 2015 included Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Canada, Germany, Australia and France.

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