The City of Joy has witnessed the highest growth in foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) between April-December, 2019, among all the metro cities in the country. Kolkata has witnessed 13.3% growth followed by much-fancied global IT hotspot Bengaluru, which has achieved the second highest growth at 12.5%. However, the FTA growth in Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai was in the negative. Chennai reported only 2.1% growth in welcoming foreign tourists.
The latest figure also shows that the gap in absolute number of FTA is narrowing down between Kolkata and Bengaluru. The total foreign tourist registered in West Bengal has also gone up and it has now climbed to 6th spot overtaking Kerala. Just five states — Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, UP, Delhi and Rajasthan — are currently ahead of Bengal.The principal secretary of state tourism department, Nandini Chakraborty, said that the government has checked with the figures of Airport Authority of India (AAI) and it is really encouraging. She pointed out that tourism now contributes 12.6% of the gross state domestic product (SGDP) while in the national level, the average is 4%. She was at the launch of this edition of Destination East, jointly organised by CII and the department of tourism in Bengal to showcase the state as a tourism destination. The foreign tourists coming to Bengal are mainly from Russia, Germany, South Korea, Thailand, China, Turkey, South Africa, Japan apart from Saarc and Aesan countries.
The capital of Bengal had seen 20.3 lakh foreigners’ arrivals compared to 32 lakh of Bengaluru. “Kerala is behind us now,” Chakraborty added.
Debjit Dutta, chairman, West Bengal chapter, Indian Association of Tour Operators, pointed out that the real number for FTA in Bengal would be at least 10%-15% more because the number of international flights operating from Kolkata is still less compared to even Bengaluru and Chennai, forget Delhi or Mumbai. “Lot of passengers coming to Bengal are doing this through Delhi or Mumbai so the immigration is done there,” he added. Dutta also feels that event like this should be followed by strategic brand positioning campaign in specific foreign source market.
Earlier, Chakraborty said, the arrival was 12.19 lakh in 2012. “We have come a long way from there,” she added.
According to her, there has been a considerable increase in airlines movement also in the last five-six years. “The domestic airlines movement has gone up by 74.4% while that of international is 67.86%.”
Source: Times of India