Tamil Nadu (TN) has topped the popularity charts for both domestic and foreign tourists for the second year in a row upsetting Maharashtra, Goa and Kerala.
In 2015, the number of foreign arrivals was at 4.68 million foreign tourists a tad higher than 4.66 million in 2014, making the state the most popular tourist destination in the country.
Domestically, the state continued its winning streak since 2013 with 333.5 million Indians visiting in 2015.
"TN's rise as a top-ranker for Indian and foreign travellers is surprising and could possibly be attributed to Indians working and studying abroad and non-resident Indians coming to visit family and relatives,'' an industry source said.
As per the tourism ministry data, the contribution of top 10 states was about 88.4% to the total number of foreign tourist visits in the country during 2015.
In 2015, the number of foreign tourist visits to states increased to 23.3 million as compared to 22.3 million in 2014 registering a growth of 4.4%.
To these states, the domestic tourists by far overshadowed the foreign tourists' flow with over 1,430 million tourists in 2015 as compared to around 1,280 million in 2014 registering a growth of 11.63%.
Tamil Nadu has some of the most remarkable temple architecture in the country, and a living tradition of music, dance, folk arts and fine arts. The state is well renowned for its temple towns and heritage sites, hill stations, waterfalls, national parks, local cuisine and the fabulous wildlife and scenic beauty.
Besides TN, the top 10 states that Indians travelled to include Uttar Pradesh with 204.9 million tourists, Andhra Pradesh with 121.6 million, Karnataka with 119.9 million, Maharashtra with 103.4 million and Telangana with 94.5 million tourists. Madhya Pradesh (78 million), West Bengal (70.2 million), Gujarat (36.3 million) and Rajasthan (35.2 million) are the other states in the top 10. The contribution of top 10 states was about 83.62% to the total number of domestic tourist visits during 2015.