Andhra Pradesh, especially because of the temple town of Tirupati, coastal Vishakhapatnam and busy Hyderabad, attracts the most domestic tourists in India. While 15.75 crore Indian tourists visited AP in 2009, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu received 13.48 crore and 11.57 crore visitors respectively.
In distant fourth, fifth and sixth places were Karnataka (3.27 crore), Rajasthan (2.55 crore) and Maharashtra (2.37 crore), respectively. Maharashtra’s domestic tourist base has steadily grown, from 1.92 crore in 2007.
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Steady increase in tourists of Karnataka/Rajasthan
Interestingly, while most states saw a steady increase in tourists, Karnataka saw a huge dip from 3.78 crore in 2007 to 1.28 crore in 2008. But bounced back in 2009. Rajasthan has had a see-saw ride, going from 2.59 crore to 2.83 crore and 2.55 crore in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively.
These figures contrast starkly with states known for being popular tourist haunts. Himachal Pradesh, with attractions like Shimla, Kullu and Manali, had just 1.1 crore Indian tourists in 2009. Kashmir had 92.35 lakh, Kerala 77.89 lakh and Goa 21.27 lakh.
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Young people travelling a lot (facts and figure)
Goa bucked the general trend by not seeing a steady rise in domestic tourists 22.09 lakh (2007) and 20.2 lakh (2008). Jayesh Ranjan, tourism secretary of Andhra Pradesh, said, “The maximum number of visitors come to bow in front of Lord Balaji in Tirupati, and they are followed by those who come for a holiday and mostly head to Vishakhapatnam, one of the few cities that has the sea and hills in close proximity.
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The third most-visited city is Hyderabad, which mostly sees corporate tourists because of the presence of so many Fortune 500 companies.” All this catapulted AP to the first rung 14 years ago, said Ranjan. And the state has stayed there ever since.
Welcome to Andhra tourism
In 2009 alone, Andhra raked in Rs 400 crore from tourism. The heads of most state tourism development corporations said that they have been offering travelers a smorgas board of experiences, bundled together in packages.
Tourists are invited to experience the real essence of India, undertake a journey to feel ‘one’ with their maker, avail of spa, wellness and health services, dig into what the hinterland has to offer—in short, go on the adventure of a lifetime.
On the face of it, most travel lures look similar, whether you go to the tourism office in Chhattisgarh or Chennai. That is probably why only religious tourism or work-related visits have Shirdi, Pandharpur Are Popular in Maharashtra “lustration: 3hagvan Das THE INDIAN TRIP
States that get the most domestic tourists; figures in crores:
Pulled domestic tourists to places like AP and Tamil Nadu, or for that matter, even Rajasthan or Maharashtra. A C Mohandoss, director of the Tamil Nadu tourism department, said that while his tourism corporation had several attractions lined up for visitors, most travel Many Indians also visit Maharashtra to go to Ajanta and Ellora.
A new trend has seen people visiting Goa and then travelling north to beaches in Maharashtra from the north, particularly from Gujarat, came to visit Rameshwaram. “We now have direct trains from North India to several important destinations.
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Moreover, we are also the first in medical tourism. An equal number of domestic (mostly from the north east) and international visitors come to our mission hospitals,” he said, With TN realizing the economic potential of tourism, it is now planning to start winter festivals to boost numbers.
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Dances of India
“For instance, this December, we are showcasing the dances of India in Mahabalipuram, ‘ ‘ said Mohandoss. In Maharashtra, too, most tourists head to Shirdi, followed by Pandharpur, which sees a lot of visitors from south India, said Kiran Kurundkar, managing director of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation.
“Then we also see lakhs of visitors go to the Ajanta and Ellora caves. A recent phenomenon is that a lot of tourists land up in Goa and travel north to spend time on Maharashtra’s beaches in Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri,” he added.
Rajasthan, a dyed-in-the-wool tourist destination, has witnessed a slight drop in domestic and foreign footfalls. The number of foreign visitors fell from 14.781akh (2008) to 10.731akh (2009). “But the fall was in line with the overall trend that the country witnessed in case of foreign tourists.
We realize the potential of domestic tourism, and we are now portraying Rajasthan as a hub for holding marriages with a touch of royalty. Religious and desert tourism, too, are popular with domestic visitors,” said a senior officer in the state’s tourism office.