India sees drop in arrivals of foreign tourists

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The number of tourists visiting India since last October has been falling due to economic slowdown, reported the semi-official Press Trust of India news agency on Tuesday.

The news agency quoted a government official as saying that the Mumbai terror attacks have further reduced the number of tourist arrivals in December and January.

Tourism Minister Ambika Soni said 5.08 million tourists visited India in the year 2007, which was a record growth of 14.56 percent over the previous year.

However, foreign tourist arrivals were 521,990, 12.5 percent down from the same month of the previous year, while January saw a 17.6 percent fall to 487,262.

The official said the Ministry of Tourism is providing financial assistance to local governments for infrastructure development in rural sites with tourism attractions.

The Ministry sanctions 5 million rupees (100,000 U.S. dollars) for infrastructure development and 2 million rupees (40,000 U.S. dollars) for capacity building for each rural tourism site, said the official.

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