Arrival of foreign tourists rising: Chiranjeevi

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Arrival of foreign tourists in India grew by 2.3 percent in the first three months of 2013 despite the Delhi gang-rape and cases of sexual assaults on foreign tourists, the parliament was informed Friday.

In a written reply to a question, Minister of State for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi informed the Lok Sabha that 20.27 lakh foreign tourist arrived in India from January to March 2013 as compared to 19.81 lakh in the same period in 2012, an increase of 2.3 percent.

“The Ministry of Tourism has posted its advisory on the website indicating that India remains a safe destination for international visitors including women tourists,” Chiranjeevi said.

Speaking on the precautions taken to ensure safety of tourists, Chiranjeevi said that the tourism ministry had written to all the chief secretaries of state governments and union territory administrations to take immediate and effective steps for ensuring conducive and friendly environment for all tourists.

“They have also been requested to publicise the steps being taken/proposed to be taken to increase the sense of security amongst the present/prospective visitors as also to counter the negative publicity,” he said.

The minister was reacting to a survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) which said that there was a decrease of 25 percent in foreign tourist inflow and a decrease of 35 percent in women foreign tourist inflow in India since December 2012 after the brutal Delhi gang-rape.

The ministry has proposed to reduce the information required to be filled in the embarkation and disembarkation cards by tourists with a view to provide comfort to them.

Under the new procedure, the cards would have to be filled by arriving foreign nationals and departing Indian nationals only, the minister informed the Lok Sabha.

Chiranjeevi said an inter-ministerial meeting was held to discuss the proposal and comments and suggestions were being considered before taking a final decision.

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