Tourist inflow was up by 45,000 in Games' period: official

Khwaja, who was here to participate in a tourist expo told newsmen, that an estimated 4.87 lakh foreign tourists visited India in October, 2010  -- 45,000 more than those visited during the corresponding period last year.

He said: "India today is emerging as a major economy of the world with growth rate of more than 8 per cent per annum. The tourism industry in India is set to grow even at a higher pace". Indian tourism sector had expected a massive inflow of visitors during the October 3 to 14 event but the lead up to the Games was full of negative publicity of ill-preparedness and security issues.

Days before the Games, a bus carrying Taiwanese nationals was also attacked in Delhi, raising fears that tourists might not turn up for the big-ticket event. Khwaja said the international tourist arrivals to India has grown by around 10 per cent this year.

Khwaja also said that India is not only the recipient of world tourism today but also a major contributor to the export of tourism. India with its growing per capita income has become a big source market in the world, he said.

"When the whole world was facing slowdown and tourism industry showing signs of recession, it was India amongst others which led the tourism industry's remarkable recovery," he said. Later, speaking at a reception hosted in his honour by the Indo-European Business Forum, Khwaja said India offers destinations from the magnificent Himalayas in the north to the beautiful and serene backwaters of Kerala.

He said the world class heritage sites like Hampi in Karnataka, and the legendary forts of Rajasthan were all a major tourist draw. He pointed out that with four of the 10 best hotels in the world, India has become a luxury destination.

"Besides, fantastic cultural and heritage tourism products, India today offers a range of new products in adventure and sports tourism, both soft and hard. "India also offers world class medical and wellness services at very competitive rates to the advantage of all," he said. He also informed said Jet Airways would introduce a new direct flight to Milan from Delhi next month.

Vijay Goel, founder, IEBF suggested that India should take up with the European Union the problem faced by UK-based NRIs in getting visa to travel in Europe.

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