Series of promotional activities launched to increase the number of foreign tourists to India

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NEW DELHI – The Indian government has initiated several programs to woo foreign tourists following a sharp decline in the number of foreign tourists arriving in the country in the first quarter of the year, said the Indo-Asian NewsService on Thursday.

The news service quoted Indian Tourism Minister Kumari Selja assaying that her ministry, through its India tourism offices overseas, has launched a series of promotional activities to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTA).

Selja told the Parliament that the promotions including advertising, participation in travel fairs, exhibitions, road shows, India evenings, workshops, food and cultural carnivals, publication of brochures, inviting media personalities, tour operators and opinion-makers, said the report.

A “Visit India 2009” scheme has also been announced by the tourism ministry, while a Marketing Development Assistance Scheme of the ministry has been expanded to provide financial assistance to service providers for the promotion of medical and convention and conference tourism in the country, the report quoted the minister as saying.

The number of tourist arrivals between January-June 2009 in India stood at 2.47 million, which was 9.3 percent of the number for the corresponding period in 2008, which registered a 5.6 percent increase in the number of FTA over 2007.

Financial meltdown in the Western countries and Mumbai terror attacks last November are considered two major reasons for the sharp decline of FTA in India.