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'Tourist inflow unaffected despite SARS scare'

April 08, 2003 15:26 IST

The tourist inflow in the country has not been adversely affected due to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the killer pneumonia virus, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

''We have no such cases. India is free from SARS and it is being properly publicised resulting in unaffected tourist inflow from other countries,'' Tourism and Culture Minister Jagmohan said in reply to a question.

In fact, he said the tourist sector had fared better during the past six months despite many impediments. The country had registered 14 to 16 per cent increase in tourist inflow, while the increase in foreign exchange earnings was about 17 per cent during this period, he said.

While replying to questions on the subject, Jagmohan said the country had 13 tourist offices in various countries and three new ones were being opened in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Tokyo.

He denied that unproductive expenditure was being incurred in the foreign offices. The expenditure on these offices was about Rs 16 crore (Rs 160 million) as against Rs 1500 crore (Rs 15 billion) received in foreign exchange annually, he said.

To a query, the tourism minister said the tourist offices abroad were coordinating with Air-India and Indian Airlines offices whenever there was some mart or road show to promote Indian tourism.

Even otherwise there had been a harmony between them, the minister said.

UNI