Six out of top 10 popular Indian monuments visited by foreign tourists in FY22 were from Tamil Nadu, according to a report ‘India Tourism Statistics 2022’ released by the Union Tourism Ministry recently. The statistics are for ticketed monuments managed by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
According to the report, the group of monuments in the coastal town of Mamallapuram had the highest number of foreign visitors in FY22. The UNESCO World Heritage site, located close to Chennai, had 1.45 lakh foreign visitors in the previous fiscal, accounting for 46 per cent of the total foreign visitors to the top 10 most popular centrally protected ticketed monuments.
The Mamallapuram group of monuments even trumped the Taj Mahal, an iconic symbol of India and a major tourist attraction among foreigners. The white-marble monument saw only 38,922 foreign visitors accounting for 12.21 per cent of total foreign tourist visitors.
Tiger-headed Rock cut temple and two other monuments at coastal hamlet of Salavankuppam, Gingee Fort (Viluppuram district), Vattakottai Fort (Kanyakumari), Thirumayam Fort (Pudukkottai), Rock-cut Jain Temple in Sittanavasal (Pudukkottai) are the other monuments from Tamil Nadu among the top 10 most popular monument destinations.
Agra Fort (Uttar Pradesh), Qutub Minar, and Red Fort from Delhi are the other monuments among the top 10 list across the country.
Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had the highest numbers of foreign tourist visits with 1.26 million and 1.23 million, respectively. However, the report stated that the number of foreign tourist arrivals during 2021 de-grew by 45 per cent to 1.52 million from 2.74 million in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Domestic Tourism surge
On the other hand, domestic tourist visits grew more than 11 per cent to 677.63 million in 2021 against 610.22 million in 2020. The two states with the most domestic tourists visiting are Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, with 140.65 million and 86.12 million, respectively.