Should a single digit growth in tourism be highlighted?

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India Tourism
New Delhi, April 3: Even as recent surveys have pointed out to the falling number of foreigners visiting India, Minister of State for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi on Wednesday contradicted reports saying that the 'figures were positive'.

Foreign tourist arrivals in the first two months of 2013 has been 13.87 lakh which is equal to a growth of 2.1%. Last year, during the same time frame there were 13.59 lakh arrivals, which was equal to a growth of 8.7%.

While a single digit growth of 2.1 % is no number to highlight, the minister finds these number 'encouraging'.

According to experts, this number will remain the same through the year. There has been a drastic fall from the previous years with growth being at 12- 14 % earlier. "Growth this year is down to single digits, from 12-14% earlier and is likely to remain the same in 2013," an expert was quoted as saying.

However, Chiranjeevi is quick to deny it. "The growth of foreign tourists in January and February (2013) has been positive and not negative, as reported by the media," Chiranjeevi defended.

"Arrivals (of foreign tourists) have grown by 2.1 percent in these two months, and the foreign exchange earnings rose by 19.8 percent in terms of rupees and 11.4 percent in terms of (US) dollars... This is very encouraging," he said.

Claiming that the issue of safety of foreigners has been discussed , Chiranjeevi said, "We will take care (of the foreign tourists) to the maximum." Besides safety concerns, the waiting period for an Indian visa in some European countries makes people choose less cumbersome locations.

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