Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) to India increased despite travel advisories issued by several countries and attempts by some groups to create “a bad perception” of the situation in the country, said Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel on Friday. Also Read - Heavy Snowfall in Himachal Pradesh: Tourists Advised Not to Visit Shimla, Manali

Just after the government announced the abrogation of Article 370 in J-K on August 5, many countries across the world including Singapore, the United Kingdom, Germany, UAE and Australia issued travel advisories asking their citizens to be cautious or avoid tourist trips to the region. Also Read - UAE Launches Multi-Entry Tourist Visas Valid For 5 Years For All Countries

On August 3, during the peak tourist season and the then-ongoing Amarnath Yatra, the Ministry of Home Affairs had ordered all tourists and pilgrims to leave the Valley due to security reasons. This advisory was withdrawn on October 10. Also Read - Indian Tourists Can Now Travel To Malaysia Visa-Free, All Year Round In 2020

However, according to the data released by the Tourism Ministry, from June to December 2019, there was a 4.2 percent increase in FTAs to India and a 12 percent increase in Forex as compared to the same period in 2018.

Overall, in 2019, till December, there has been a 43 percent increase in tourists availing e-visa, Forex has grown by almost 19 percent and the increase in FTAs is around 8 per cent as compared to the same period in 2018.

“I think the data makes clear to those trying to create a bad perception of the country in a planned manner that they have failed in comparison to the attempts made by the prime minister to showcase this country. The data shows India is stable, peaceful and definitely worth seeing,” said Patel when asked about the effects of the protests against CAA, NRC, NPR on the tourism industry.

According to the tourism ministry data, FTAs grew by 4.3 percent in September 2019, a month after the abrogation of Article 370, as compared to the same period in 2018.

Similarly, Forex grew by 11 percent during the same period.

In December, when protests against CAA and NRC began, FTAs grew by 3 percent and Forex by 16 percent, the data said.