Contrary to popular opinion, neither Goa, nor Kerala or even Jammu and Kashmir is the most popular tourist destination in India for foreign travellers. India's most popular state with foreign tourists is Tamil Nadu.
According to data published by India's Ministry of Tourism, Tamil Nadu contributed almost 20 percent of the total foreign visits to India in 2015. The state remains popular despite the tragic floods the state endured in 2015.
Last year, India saw 23 million foreign visitors, as compared to 22 million in 2014 and registered a growth of 4.4 percent.
The most frequented states (number of visits in millions) were Tamil Nadu (4.68), Maharashtra (4.41), Uttar Pradesh (3.1), Delhi (2.38), West Bengal (1.49), Rajasthan (1.48), Kerala (0.98), Bihar (0.92), Karnataka (0.64) and Goa (0.54) and these have been the consistently top ranked states in the country in terms of tourism. Maharashtra contributed 18.9 percent of the visits, Uttar Pradesh contributed 13.3 percent and Delhi contributed 10.2 percent of the total visits.
The top 10 states contributed about 88.4 percent to the total number of foreign tourist visits in the country during 2015. These states also house some of the major cities of India where tourists usually arrive, before they go on to explore other parts of the country.
States like Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have emerged as winners with a perceptible rise in the number of foreign visitors. The two states are steadily becoming popular with travellers from across the globe, with Jharkhand seeing an increase in popularity by 72.6 percent and Andhra Pradesh saw a rise by 70.8 percent.
Other fast-growing destinations in India are Bihar, Haryana, Gujarat, Kerala, Puducherry and Telangana, where each of the state governments is facilitating ease of travel for foreign tourists.
The unrest in Jammu and Kashmir seems to have resulted in the decline foreign visitor numbers. Compared to 2014, the tourism in the state went down by 32 percent with only 58,568 foreign tourists visiting the state.
Other states that saw a decline in tourism were Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan and Sikkim.
Data suggests that the western states are most visited by foreign travellers, while North Eastern states are facing a steady decline in the number of visitors.
Bangladesh contributes the highest number of foreign tourists
In the year 2015, India the highest number of foreign visitors belonged to Bangladesh followed by the United States, United Kingdom and Malaysia. India is a popular destination with tourists from countries like Sri Lanka, China, japan, Canada, Germany, Australian and France.
According to reports, tourists from Bangladesh to Indian has increased by 133 percent in the last four years. No other country has seen such a high increase. The number of visitors in 2015 were 1,133,879.
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Updated Date: Jul 22, 2016 15:29:54 IST