New Delhi, Jul 19 (PTI) The number of foreign women tourists visiting India has increased by almost 10 per cent in 2016 over the previous year, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

In 2015, 32 lakh women tourists visited India while in 2016, their number rose to 35 lakh, Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply.

According to tourism ministry data, around 25 lakh women tourists had arrived in 2012 in India, which increased to about 28 lakh in 2013 (an increase of 11.6 per cent) and 31 lakh in 2014 (registering a lower 9.7 per cent increase).

In 2015, a total of 32,67,043 women tourists arrived in India while in 2016, their number rose to 35,74,591, registering an increase of 9.41 per cent.

“The ministry of tourism has also launched social awareness media campaigns with the objective of sensitising stakeholders in the tourism industry as well as the masses and general public about the importance of good conduct and behaviour towards tourists and to reinforce the spirit of ‘Athithidevo Bhava’,” Sharma said in his reply.

The minister also said that while the ministry does not maintain data on crimes committed on women foreign tourists separately, according to the National Crimes Record Bureau, there were seven cases of rape in 2015, 14 (provisional) in 2016, as compared to 21 in 2014.

Sharma said that the ministry of tourism has launched a 24×7 toll free multi-lingual tourist “infoline” in 12 languages including 10 international languages in February 2016.

It is available for both domestic and foreign tourists, and it provides support services in terms of information relating to travel in India and also provides guidance to tourists in distress while travelling in the country.

The infoline so far has received 2,87,988 queries between February 2016 and June 2017, Sharma said, adding that so far no complaints regarding the helpine has been made by tourists.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.