The good news is that tourists are flocking in bigger number to the Taj Mahal in Agra than earlier. That is more pronounced at Delhi’s historic Red Fort. The concerning news is that the tourist numbers are dipping at what was earlier the second-most visited monument in India – the Qutub Minar in Delhi.
In fact, the Red Fort has now overtaken the Qutub Minar at the second-most visited monument in the country in 2018-19 behind only the Taj Mahal, as per government data reviewed by ET.
The Tourism Ministry is still to put out the detailed tourism numbers for year 2018 but the Culture Ministry has provided to Parliament on Monday details of the number of visitors to 116 ‘Centrally Protected Monuments’ which are ticketed and the revenue earned there in. Overall visitors to all these monuments rose to 5.3 Cr from 5.1 Cr in 2016-17.
The data has some interesting pointers. Like nearly 6.9 million people visited the Taj Mahal in 2018-19, up an impressive 6 per cent from the previous year when the number stood at 6.4 million. This is a steady increase over the last three years as 6.08 million visitors came to the Taj Mahal in 2016-17.
The monument earned almost Rs 78 Crore in ticket sales in 2018-19. This monument ran into some controversy in 2017 being under attack from certain BJP leaders before UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath intervened to say Taj Mahal was UP’s pride.
For the Number Two spot, there has been a swap now between the Red Fort and Qutub Minar. Visitors at Red Fort rose almost 13 percent from 3.1 million in 2017-18 to 3.6 million last year while those visiting Qutub Minar dropped from around 3.2 million to 2.9 million in 2018-19. The 73-meter tall Delhi monument in got 3.4 million visitors in 2016-17, showing there has been a steady decline in footfalls over the last three years. The visitors at Red Fort have on the other hand been rising, almost 20 percent from 2016-17 when they stood at 3 million.
The Agra Fort with nearly 2.5 million visitors continues to be the fourth-most visited monument in the country, ahead of the Konark’s Sun Temple which got almost the same number of visitors (2.4 million) as earlier. The twin monuments in Hyderabad, the Golconda Fort and the Charminar, are seeing contrasting fortunes too in terms of visitor numbers.
They rose to 1.8 million from 1.6 million in case of the former but dropped from 1.37 million in 2017-18 to 1.25 million in 2018-19 in case of the Charminar. The latter has also reported a steady footfall decline as 1.57 million people went to see Charminar in 2016-17.
The Culture Ministry does not have a break-up of foreign and domestic tourists. The UP government, citing its own figures, however says Taj Mahal got 8.83 lakh foreign tourists while Agra Fort got 5.26 lakh foreign tourists in 2018.
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