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Sikkim top draw in NE tourist footfall

The mesmerizing beauty of Sikkim has succeeded in luring away tourists from the other North Eastern states. According to a report of the Union Ministry of Tourism, the Himalayan state surged ahead of Assam, thus far the biggest draw among seven sisters, by getting the maximum number of foreign visitors in 2009.

While the land of Brahmaputra saw 14,942 tourists last year, the figure was 17,730 in the land of the mighty Kanchenjungha. The visitor count in Sikkim has been steadily rising, with 2008 witnessing 19,154 footfall against Assam’s 14,426.

The count in sister states are much lesser with Meghalaya getting 4522 foreign tourists, Tripura 4246 and Arunachal Pradesh 3945. On the whole, NE states received 47,26,218 domestic tourists in 2007, while in 2008, it roses to 52,11,740 and 57,04,250 in 2009.

“ The eight NE states have seen a significant rise in tourist inflow, both domestic and foreign, between 2007 and 2009”, a tourism ministry’s marketing and research division stated.

According to report, in 2009 alone, Sikkim recorded 5,47,810 domestic visitors and foreign tourists, while Assam recorded 28,50,521 domestic and 14,942 foreign tourists. Meghalaya came second as far as domestic inflow was concerned with 5,91,398 visitors. The foreign tourist counts here was 4552. In Tripura, there was 3,17,541 domestic and 4246 foreign tourists.

Prodded by an increase in tourist flow in NE, especially Sikkim and Arunachal along the Chinese border, MHA has relaxed the foreign restriction policy in the two states. The relaxation means that the protected area permit ( PAP) for a period of 30 days can now be issued to foreign tourists in a group of two or more instead of the earlier mandate of four or more in Arunachal, where as for Sikkim, PAP is extendible by 30 more days for foreign tourists in a group of two or above with recognized travel agents, who would act as escorts.  

Courtesy : The Times of India

Posted on: 30 Oct 2010

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