Uttar Pradesh (UP) accounted for almost 20 per cent of India’s foreign and domestic tourist visits in 2022. And Varanasi alone had nearly a five per cent share.
Over 318 million people visited UP in 2022 (chart 1). It was 540.6 million in 2019. But the 2019 figure included 240.5 million people who had visited it for the Kumbh Mela, which happens every few years. This year’s number would therefore be higher than the 300 million (after subtracting Kumbh Mela visitors) seen in 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged the increase in tourists to Varanasi in the recent edition of his Mann ki Baat and said that the tourist footfalls to Varanasi had crossed 10 crore or 100 million a year. He