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Foreign tourist arrivals in India yet to reach pre-Covid levels: Union minister

Foreign tourist arrivals in India are yet to reach the pre-COVID-19 levels, with 85.9 lakh of them visiting the country in 2022. According to the data of foreign tourist visits (FTVs) during the 2018-2022 period, which was presented in the Lok Sabha on Monday, 2.88 crore foreign tourists visited India in 2018 and the number increased to 3.14 crore in 2019.

However, in 2020, the footfall was 71.7 lakh and it further fell to 10.5 lakh in 2021. In 2022, 85.9 lakh foreigners visited the country.

The data was presented along with a written reply to a question by Union Tourism and Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy.

On whether the tourism ministry is contemplating to launch pilgrim tourism circuits in various parts of the country, Reddy said under its schemes, such as “Swadesh Darshan”, “Prashad’ (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive)” and “Assistance to Central Agencies”, the ministry provides financial assistance to the states and Union territories for the development of infrastructure at tourism destinations, including pilgrimage sites.

The projects under the schemes are identified in consultation with the state governments and Union Territory administrations or central agencies, and are subject to adherence to the relevant guidelines, availability of funds and the status of ongoing projects.

A total of 76 projects have been sanctioned under “Swadesh Darshan”, 46 under “Prashad” and 38 under the “Assistance to Central Agencies” scheme by the Ministry of Tourism, Reddy said. The ministry does not maintain data on pilgrims travelling across the states on religious visits, he added.

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