Chennai: There has been an increase in foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) to India during the first half of this year and Chennai is third among the metros in offering maximum number of visas on arrival (VoA). Last month, the country welcomed 5.69 lakh foreigners, which is 16.9 per cent higher than the previous year and TN, which emerged second in the country in terms of receiving foreigners during 2013, too had registered an increase in arrivals.
According to sources, about 2,318 visas were issued at the Chennai airport during January-August of 2014. The highest number of VoAs were issued at New Delhi airport: 8,009, followed by Mumbai 3,320, Chennai 2,318, Bengaluru 1,214, Kolkata 1,120, while god’s own country Kerala had issued 526 and 184 at Kochi and Trivandrum airports, and Hyderabad 429.
A majority of tourists visiting TN were from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, UK, Spain, Scandinavia, Russia and Malaysia. Encouraged over receiving 39.9 lakh foreigners last year, the tourism department has worked out a plan to welcome 1.5 crore foreigners in the next decade. “Inbound tourism has been showing a remarkable improvement of late. This growth trend has reflected in forex too. During August this year, the foreign exchange earnings through tourism is Rs10,254 crore, up 22.8 per cent from the corresponding period last year,” a top tourism official said.