India’s tourism minister, Kumari Selja has outlined new plans to increase tourism in India. Speaking at the World Travel Market she said that at last it seems that the decline in the number of foreign visitors to the country seems to be leveling out. She said that the year-on-year drop of 7 percent in the ten months to October was mainly due to the terror attacks in Mumbai and the global economic slow down. In 2009 4.2 million tourists visited India which was the first fall in numbers since the increase in tourists from 2.38 million to 5.3 million from 2002 to 2008.
Selja went on to point out that although the countries growth rate had dropped from a six year average of 14.5 percent to 5.6 percent over the last year the country was still ahead of the average drop to just 2 percent experienced by the rest of the world.
Looking ahead Selja announced that amongst a number of events and initiatives planned to stimulate growth in the tourist sector Delhi’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games next October would be one of the most important. She said that the country expected somewhere in the region of 100,000 people to visit the games and went on to say that India planned to supply an extra 30,000 hotel rooms for those doing so.
One of the other main plans to attract tourists is the development of travel to some of the countries more rural areas. She said that 150 sites had been singled out for development, 30 of which had already been promised aid from the United Nation’s Development Council.