Tourism in India not affected by global economic slowdown: Ministr

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New Delhi, Oct 10 (UNI) Despite fears of global economic slowdown, the tourism sector in India continues to witness encouraging trends with foreign tourist arrivals and the foreign exchange earnings recording enviable growth in the first nine months of this year, it was officially announced today.

The resilience of Indian tourism sector was also evident from the fact that while the growth rate of foreign tourist arrivals worldwide has been 5 per cent in 2008 and the average growth rate of Asia Pacific has been 6.9 per cent, the foreign tourist arrivals to India have grown at a rate well above 10 per cent, the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) said.

In fact, foreign tourist arrivals touched 3.87 millions till September this year, recording an increase of 10.4 per cent over the corresponding period previous year.

It is significant that percentage of increase in foreign tourist arrivals of 2007 over 2006 for the month of September was only 1.3 per cent. However, the increase in 2008 has been as high of 9.6 per cent.

The foreign exchange earnings to India in tourism sector touched Rs 36,464 crore by September, which was a 17.8 per cent increase over the previous year for the corresponding period. The increase in 2007 over 2006 for the same period was 13.7 per cent.

Interestingly, in September 2007, there was a negative growth of foreign exchange earnings over 2006. However, the trend has been reversed and there has been 21.2 per cent increase in FE earnings in September 2008 as compared to 2007.

''India continues to be a long duration and high spending destination for foreign travellers,'' a statement issued by the MoT said.

In this context, it cited the statistics received through the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, which indicate that the foreign exchange earnings per foreign traveller coming to India has been 2112 US dollars in the year 2007, which is more than twice the foreign exchange earned per foreign traveller worldwide (which is 948 US dollars) as well as Asia Pacific (which is 1027 US dollars).

In fact, most of the major Asian countries like China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand earned much less foreign exchange per foreign traveller as compared to India.

UNI SH PK NS1412

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