Bihar registers seventh highest number of foreign tourists

A record 10.96 lakh foreign tourists visited Bihar last year - the seventh highest among the top ten states to have large number of visitors.

"This showcases the emergence of our state as a mainstream tourist destination ... It has been due to strenuous

efforts of the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar that our state has emerged as tourist destination in a big way," Bihar Tourism Minister Sunil Kumar Pintu said in the assembly while replying to the tourist department budget of Rs 105 crore for 2013-14.

The NDA government has not only substantially increased the budget of the tourism department over the years, but undertaken construction of infrastructure in the hospitality sector for comfort of the domestic and foreign travellers, he said.

A number of projects to develop tourist destinations under Buddhist, Sikh, Sufi, Ramayan and Jain circuits have been undertaken to woo visitors from across the country and world with a long-term goal to boost local economy and generate employment, Pintu said.

He said Bihar has the unique distinction of being the confluence of five religions - Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Sufi and Jain and has abundance of socio-cultural and religious heritage since ancient time.

"We have decided to put up multi-lingual signage in Japanese, Thai and Chinese languages to help tourists from these countries to locate tourist destinations in Bihar. It will be done across the state over the next two years," he said.

Pintu said his department has proposed to organise a number of tourism festivals called Mahotsavas, including Rajgir, Bodh Gaya and Vaishali Mahotsava to highlight tourist destinations in Bihar.