With Tirupati Balaji temple attracting visitors in hordes,Andhra Pradesh has become the top tourist destination in the country recording 206.8 million domestic tourists last year.
Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh stood at second and third positions respectively with 184.1 million and 168.4 million domestic tourists,as per data available with Tourism Ministry.
The Lord Venkateswara temple is situated in the hill town of Tirumala near Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh,around 600 km from state capital Hyderabad.
The 10th century Hindu temple attracts more tourists than domestic visitors to Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra which boast of Taj Mahal and Ajanta-Ellora respectively,a senior Tourism Ministry official said.
The footfall at domestic tourist destinations across the country witnessed a surge touching 1,036 million compared to 865 million in 2011 — an increase of 19.87 per cent. It was 748 million in 2010.
According to the data,the top ten states in terms of number of domestic tourist visits (in millions) during 2012 are: Andhra Pradesh (206.8),Tamil Nadu (184.1),Uttar Pradesh (168.4),Karnataka (94.1),Maharashtra (66.3),Madhya Pradesh (53.2),Rajasthan (28.6),Uttarakhand (26.8),Gujarat (24.4) and West Bengal (22.7).
These states accounted for 84.5 per cent of the total number of domestic tourists during 2012.
The number of foreign tourists visiting the country too registered a growth of 6.33 per cent during the same year.
Maharashtra emerged as the most favoured destination of foreign tourists with 5.1 million people from abroad visiting the state in 2012 followed by Tamil Nadu with 3.6 million.
Delhi remained at the third spot with 2.3 million foreigners,while Uttar Pradesh with two million visitors occupied the fourth position.
The number of foreign tourists was 20.7 million in 2012 as compared to 19.5 million in 2011 and 17.9 million in 2010.
The top ten most sought after states by foreign tourists (in millions) during 2012 were Maharashtra (5.1),Tamil Nadu (3.6),Delhi (2.3),Uttar Pradesh (2.0),Rajasthan (1.5),West Bengal (1.2),Bihar (1.1),Kerala (0.8),Karnataka (0.6) and Himachal Pradesh (0.5).
These states together accounted for 90.1 per cent of the total number of foreigners visiting the country in 2012.