New Delhi: 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.