Shimla: Compared to last year, Himachal Pradesh recorded a sharp increase of 32000 foreign tourists, who made Himachal Pradesh as their favourite destination in the year 2011-12. It was estimated that nearly 4.85 lakh foreign tourists arrived in 2011-12 in the state in comparison to last year’s 4.53 lakh.
According to Tourism Department, UK, USA and France were the top three contributors of foreign tourists to Himachal, followed by Australia.
These four countries alone contributed about 1.60 lakh foreign tourists in 2011.
Shimla, Manali, Dharmshalal, Mcleodganj, Kasauli Chail, Dalhousie, Keylong, Palampur remained the top most visited hill stations by an estimated four lakh international tourists during the year 2011.
Shimla remained the favourite destination among the British tourists who visited the queen of seven hills the most in comparison to other foreign tourists.
The State Tourism Department hopes that the arrival of international tourists will exceed five lakh in the current year.
Dr. Arun Sharma, Director Tourism, said that many new travelers are coming from the expanding middle class of emerging economies who are looking to purchase exceptional tourism experiences.
With the increasing inflow of international tourists, the hotel industry is doing brisk business generating additional growth, income, and employment for the locals.
Besides this, state artisans, enterprises and private sector are also benefiting from the surge in tourist inflow as demand for Kullu shawls, Chamba rumal, Kangra paintings and Himachali woolen products has increased many folds.
Sharma added that events like mountain biking, paragliding, vintage car rally, skiing, river-rafting etc. are being organized in the state from time to time to attract more foreign tourists. (ANI)