August 8, 2016
Thanjavur: The influx of domestic tourists to Thanjavur, the world renowned tourist place, has registered a steady increase over the years, while the number of foreign tourists to the city has been on the decline, especially after the end of the ethnic war in Sri Lanka.
Post the ethnic war in Sri Lanka, foreign tourists prefer the island as their tourist destination, because they feel it is less expensive compared to Thanjavur, sources said.
According to the statistics available at the Art Gallery in Thanjavur, there has been a steady decline on the influx of foreign tourists to Thanjavur, since 2009, when the ethnic war in Sri Lanka ended. A total of 27,627 foreign tourists visited the art gallery in 2008, which was all time high. The figure came down to 23,298 in 2009, and 23,140 in 2010. The numbers stood at 23,266 in 2014, and further came down to 20,510 in 2015.
Only 11,592 foreign tourists have so far visited the Art Gallery till July this year. However, there has been a steady increase in the influx of foreign tourists to art gallery during the past few days, an Art Gallery official said.
In 2009, foreign tourists stayed away due to the swine flu scare. “The last time when the influx of foreign tourists was so dramatically affected was in 2005, due to the tsunami scare. All other years, we had a steady influx of foreign tourists,” the official said.
A total of 20,970 foreign tourists visited the art gallery in 2004. It came crashing down to 16,058 in 2005, due to tsunami scare. However, it picked up in 2006 with the influx of 21,971 foreign tourists. Then, there was no going back. A total of 25,807 foreign tourists visited in 2007, while the numbers climbed to 27,627 in 2008.
On the contrary, domestic tourism has seen a steady growth. The influx of domestic tourists stood at an all-time high in 2010. Over 1.70 lakh domestic tourists visited the art gallery that year. The sudden rise in the influx of domestic tourists was due to the millennium celebration of the Thanjavur Big Temple. The figure stood at 1.88 lakhs in 2014, and 2.36 lakhs in 2015. A total of 1.36 lakh domestic tourists have visited the art gallery till July this year.