Taj Mahal sees 15% drop in tourist visits
New Delhi: It seems like Taj Mahal, the world famous white-marbled monument of love, is fast losing its sheen, at least among foreigners. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of tourists to the monument has seen a dip of more than 10 per cent, Uttar Pradesh Tourism Minister Om Prakash Singh said on Wednesday.
While replying to a question in the state Assembly on Wednesday, Singh said the number of foreign tourists, who visited Agra and stayed there in 2012 was a little over 4.50 lakh. This number came down to about 4.04 lakh in 2013.
And the current year is no better - 2014 has already seen a dip of more than 15% till date, the minister admitted.
Reports suggest that nearly among the 80 lakh tourists who visit Agra every year, over 8 lakh come from foreign countries but they face problem because of unsafe and haphazard traffic.
Hotel owners and others associated with the tourism industry in Agra have been complaining about the poor infrastructure, which has badly hit the inflow of tourists in the city. Tourism is not only the biggest revenue source in Agra but also provides employment to thousands of people.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to start an e-ticketing system to visit the World Heritage site.
The management of Taj Mahal is carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The Supreme Court in December 1996 had put a ban on use of coal and coke in the Taj Trapezium Zone which comprises of 40 protected monuments, including the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.