With Tirupati temple attracting hordes of visitors, Andhra Pradesh has become the top tourist destination in India recording 155.8 million domestic tourists last year.
Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu settled at second and third positions respectively with 144.8 million and 111.6 million domestic tourists, according to the data available with Tourism Ministry.
"Tirupati temple in Andhra attracts maximum tourists. In fact, the number of domestic tourists visiting the state is more than Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra which have Taj Mahal and Ajanta Ellora respectively," a senior Tourism Ministry official said.
The footfall at domestic tourist destinations across the country witnessed a surge touching 740 million in 2010, an increase of 10.7 per cent than the previous year. The number of domestic tourist visits to the states and Union Territories was 669 million in 2009 and 563 million in 2008.
"The growth in domestic tourist visit in 2010 was about 11 per cent in comparison against the previous year," said the official.
The other states in top ten category were Maharashtra (48.5 million), Karnataka (38.2 million), Madhya Pradesh (38.1 million), Uttarakhand (30.2 million), Rajasthan (25.5 million), West Bengal (21.1 million) and Gujarat (18.9 million).
The contribution of top 10 states was about 85.5 per cent to the total number of domestic tourist visits during 2010.
The number of foreign tourist visits during 2010 was 17.9 million as compared to 14.4 million in the previous year, registering a growth of 24.2 per cent.
Maharashtra becomes the top state in attracting 5.1 million foreigners in 2010 followed by Tamil Nadu (2.8 million) and Uttar Pradesh (1.7 million).
The other states and Union Territories which attracted foreign tourists in significant number are Delhi (1.9 million), Uttar Pradesh (1.7 million), Rajasthan (1.3 million), West Bengal (1.2 million).
Those states and Union Territories which attracted less than a million tourists in 2010 were Kerala (0.66 million), Bihar (0.64 million ), Himachal Pradesh (0.45 million) and Goa (0.44 million).