The industry body has made the projection in a recent study on tourism in UP, titled 'Realising tourism potential in UP'.

"Increased thrust on tourism sector development by the state government through steps like enhancing air connectivity, development of heritage sites, better management of pilgrimage places and others can create about 10 lakh direct and indirect jobs in UP alone," the study said.

"UP has become a prominent tourist hub for foreign visitors and is just behind India's top cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai in attracting foreign tourists, earning foreign exchange and creating direct and indirect employment opportunities," said national Secretary General of ASSOCHAM D S Rawat said.

Also, growth and development of tourism sector in UP could mobilise investments in hospitality sector from both private and public sources and also attract indirect revenue like tax collections thereby filling state's coffers, he said.

Registering a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of about eight percent, UP had attracted over 20.5 lakh foreign tourists in 2013 and the state had ranked fourth with just over 10 percent share in total number of about two crore foreign tourists that visited India during this period, the study revealed.
Agra (59 percent), Allahabad (18.5 percent) and Sarnath (17 percent) were top three most-visited destinations by foreign tourists. Overseas travellers' visit to Allahabad had increased by a whopping 265.5 percent from about one lakh in 2012 to about four lakh in 2013, while Lucknow registered about 21 percent increase in attracting foreign visitors.
The study pointed that number of travellers visiting Agra from abroad had declined by about eight percent during the same period.

"Total tourist arrival in UP had increased by over 34 percent from a level of about 17 crore in 2012 to about 23 crore in 2013," the study said.

UP had ranked as second most-visited destination for domestic travellers as over 22.6 crore Indian tourists visited the state in 2013 thereby accounting for almost 20 percent share in total number of over 114.5 crore domestic tourist visits made throughout India.

It said that Buddhist tourism was another emerging concept in UP as the state houses four popular places like Sarnath, Kushinagar, Sankasia, Kaushambi and Sravasti.

ASSOCHAM has suggested that UP holds tremendous potential to further increase in-flow of tourists, both domestic and foreign, however the state needs to open up its tourism sector to attract investments from private sources from within and outside India through steps like conducting road-shows, offering incentives to private investors for  tourism development like land allotment on priority basis, offering significant interest subsidy on hotel projects and other such measures.
It has further suggested that improved tourist facilities, better connectivity with destinations, maintenance of heritage sites and developing places of pilgrimage by providing requisite infrastructure through public private partnership (PPP) mode are certain key focus areas for UP to boost its hospitality sector.

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