India welcomes tourists on World Tourism Day

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Agra/Jaipur, Sept 27: Foreign tourists were accorded a traditional Indian welcome on their arrival here on Thursday as part of the World Tourism Day celebrations.

Men and women dressed in traditional Indian attire welcomed foreign tourists arriving at the Agra railway station with garlands and vermillion smears.

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The organiser of the programme said it was an excellent way to promote tourism in the city.

"Agra is a tourist hub and it is famous for its Taj Mahal which has now become the world's first wonder. So, ultimately the city will face a boom in tourism. We want them to go home with a good image of the country, thus multiplying tourist inflow," said Shamsuddin Khan, President of the Tourist Guide Association, Agra.

Tourists said they enjoyed the hospitality and the special treatment.

"It is just hoteliers and rickshaw pullers trying to arrest our attention and you feel safer and welcomed by them," said Rachel, a foreign tourist.

In Jaipur, residents were seen distributing sweets to the tourists.

"We are very happy that we are here. Everyone is very friendly and the sightseeing is great here. It is absolutely different from Europe," said Valentina, another foreign tourist.

Known for such attractions as the Taj Mahal, India has been running a campaign to woo tourists to its grand palaces, golden beaches, ancient temples and wildlife sanctuaries.

Since 1980, September 27 is celebrated by the World Tourism Organization as World Tourism Day.

The aim of the day is to display awareness that tourism is vital to the international community and to show how it affects the social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.



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