Bangladesh has topped the tourists arrival chart in India, followed by the US and the UK. According to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Tourism, 7,32,105 Bangladeshis visited India in September 2014, which is 14.79 per cent of the total foreign tourist arrivals of 4.95 lakh in September. It is followed by the US (11.88 per cent) and the UK (8.33 per cent)
In the past two years, tourists arrival from Bangladesh is on the rise. In 2012, about 4,87,397 tourists visited India and it rose to 5,24,923 in 2013. In both these years Bangladesh was third in the list of source countries for foreign tourist arrivals to India consisting of 7.41 and 7.63 per cent respectively. During the period, the US and the UK topped the chart.
Tourism experts point out that this is an unusual trend and needs to be studied. The surge in number of tourists from Bangladesh will not have any monetary benefit to the tourism sector as they are not likely to spend more here.
“In all probability these people come either for medical treatment or pilgrimage. Even though the number is large, in terms of tourism benefit, it stands negated. The major tourism markets for India are the US and the European countries. Interestingly, in my knowledge, India had not done any tourism promotional activities in Bangladesh,” said Jose Dominic,Managing Director, Casino Group and a tourism expert.
Foreign tourist arrivals during September 2014 was 4.95 lakh as compared to 4.54 lakh in September last year and 4.12 lakh in September 2012. Forex earnings from tourism in September 2014 were Rs 8,810 crore compared to Rs 7,811 crore in September last year and Rs 6,652 crore in September 2012.
“From pilgrimage to visiting their relatives in India Bangadeshis’ purpose of visit varies. We had a five-member delegation from Bangladesh in the recently concluded Kerala travel mart as well,” said Riaz Ahmed, Managing Director, Abad Hotels and Resorts.
India earned Rs 86,160 crore in January-September 2014 against Rs 76,369 crore in the same period a year ago.