While the state received 23602 tourists in 2011, the figures were 26489 in 2012 and 31698 in 2013 respectively, a press release issued by the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front quoting the latest figures of the Tourism Ministry issued by the Centre said.

Sikkim is followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura respectively, the release said.

Tourism development has been the "priority" of the SDF government and the state government has been working for tourism development for a long time creating "world class tourism infrastructure in the state", the SDF release said.

The release said the state has already been recognised as the best place to visit, in the world famous travel guidebook 'Lonely Planet'.

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