Domestic tourism up 20 percent

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) Domestic tourism grew by about 20 percent in 2012 while foreign tourist arrivals saw a rise of six percent, the Ministry of Tourism said here as it released the statistics for 2012 Tuesday.

"The number of domestic tourist visits to Indian states and union territories registered an increase of 19.87 percent in 2012 as compared to an increase of 15.6 percent in 2011," said a statement issued by the ministry.

"In 2012, the number of domestic tourists was 1,036 million as compared to 865 million in 2011 and 748 million in 2010," added the statement.

Andhra Pradesh was the most preferred destination among domestic tourists with 206.8 million people visiting the southern state followed by Tamil Nadu, which got 184.1 million visitors and Uttar Pradesh at 168.4 million.

Tamil Nadu moved from the third to the second slot in 2012 while Uttar Pradesh dropped from first to third.

"The number of foreign tourist visits registered a growth of 6.33 percent during the year 2012 over 2011 while the number of arrivals was 20.7 million in 2012 as compared to 19.5 million in 2011 and 17.9 million in 2010," said the statement.

Maharashtra was the most sought after destination with 5.1 million foreigners visiting the state followed by Tamil Nadu, which was visited by 3.6 million tourists and Delhi with 2.3 million visitors.