Qutub Minar, one of the three World Heritage Sites in Delhi has emerged as top revenue earner by way of entrance fee for 2009 and also the only monument among the three to witness an increase in number of visitors over last year.
With earnings of Rs 10.42 crore by way of entrance fee, Qutub Minar comes a close second after Taj Mahal with nearly Rs 15 crore revenue while Agra Fort come third in the list with Rs 9.25 crore for 2009.
The revenue earned by Red Fort in the same duration is Rs 5.5 crore while that collected at Humayun’s Tomb is nearly Rs 4.9 crore, according to data released by the Ministry of Culture, the nodal Ministry for the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) that protects and maintains the heritage monuments.
Revenue earned by entrance tickets is a direct reflection of the number of visitors.
Explaining the drop in visitors at the Red Fort, ASI Director (Monuments) A K Sinha said the number of visitors at any given monument is governed by several factors like economic slowdown. “However, for Red Fort, the main problem is lack of parking facility. We have got many complaints for it from various quarters.”
A new parking site on the south side of the monument is almost complete and said Sinha,
Another factor that affected the number of visitors at the heritage sites was the overall decrease in tourists’ arrival in India last year, specially soon after Mumbai’s terror attack, the Ministry of Tourism had said earlier.
Ratish Nanda from Aga Khan Trust for Culture, which has partnered with ASI for the conservation of Humayun’s Tomb pointed out: “Humayun’s Tomb is the only site in India that receives higher foreign visitors compared to Indian visitors. So overall drop in number of foreign tourists to India is possibly the reason in decline in number of visitors there.”