New record : 150,000 Bangladeshis travelled to India in one week

- A Monitor Report Date: 02 May, 2024

New Delhi : A staggering number of 150,000 Bangladeshis travelled to India from Bangladesh by road, air and train from April 8 to 14, said the Indian Bureau of Immigration.

10,000-12,000 Bangladeshis travelled from Bangladesh to India through the Benapole-Petrapole border alone each day in this one-week timeframe, setting a new record.

Thousands more travelled by air or through other land borders like Hili, Dawki and Akhaura, from Bangladesh to India's Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai, further mentioned the bureau.

Bangladeshis usually visit India throughout the year for different purposes including tourism, medical treatment or shopping. However, this was the first time such a massive influx of travellers from Bangladesh to India was witnessed in seven days.

Reports cited an official of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs saying, as the number of visa applications from Bangladesh had increased long before Eid, "we predicted that there would be a rush of tourists during the Eid and [Bangla] New Year holidays".

"Officers at our missions in Dhaka, Chattogram and Rajshahi processed all these applications working round the clock, and perhaps we have never approved such a large number of visas in such a short period ever before," reports also cited the Indian government official saying.

It may be mentioned here that Bangladesh had overtaken the US as the leading source country of foreign tourist arrivals in India before the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2019, approximately 1.8 to 1.9 million Bangladeshis journeyed to India, with many making repeat visits. The subsequent years, 2020 and 2021, witnessed a slight decline in numbers due to pandemic-induced lockdowns. However, by 2022, there was a resurgence, and by 2023, tourist arrivals had rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

It is estimated that roughly 1.9 million Bangladeshi nationals will go to India in 2024, almost 8 per cent (around 150,000) travelled in the aforementioned one-week period alone.

Bangladeshi tourists usually prefer to visit destinations like Delhi, Agra and Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Rajasthan. However, Kashmir, Ladakh, Darjeeling and Sikkim have also gained popularity in recently. Nevertheless, Kolkata retains its crown as the most alluring destination for Bangladeshi travellers.

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