Foreign tourists are heading southwards.
With a record 2.37 million visitors, Tamil Nadu became the number one destination state for foreign tourists in 2009, accounting for 17.3 per cent of tourists who visited the country.
Tamil Nadu also became the third state to attract maximum domestic tourists, with 115.8 million visitors (almost 17.8 per cent of domestic tourism).
The lure: Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram, a town in Kancheepuram district that was a port city for the Pallava dynasty in the seve-nth century, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Figures compiled by the Ministry of Tourism found Andhra Pradesh retained its slot at the top for domestic tourism, for the fourth year running, with 157.5 million Indians visiting the state.
“The big draw is the Tirumala Tirupati shrine in Andhra Pradesh,” a ministry official told HT. “The state tourism department’s sustained promos of the Charminar and Golconda Fort also contributed to the domestic tourist inflow.”
The top 10 states attracting foreign tourists in 2009 were Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh.