New Delhi: Tourists have given India a miss this year. Tourism, which is the highest foreign exchange collector for the Government of India, has registered an 8.6 per cent decline in the year 2009. This decline is the worst drop in the last one decade. “It is bad, in fact it is the worst possible. November to December it has never been so bad,” says chairman STIC Travel Group, Subash Goyal. The Ministry of Tourism blames it on global recession and 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. In the year 2007, tourism was up by over 14 per cent - the best in the decade. The World Tourism Organisation projected an eight per cent growth for 2008 but 26/11 clipped it at 5.6 per cent. Global financial slowdown and the H1N1 fear caused a further damage in the year 2009, pushing tourism down by 8.6 per cent. “Compare 2007, 2008 and 2009 and there is a steady decline. We are losing a lot of revenue because there is a 15-20 per cent decline each and every year,” says assistant manager Marlin Travels, Rahul Bhardwaj. However, the Ministry of Tourism is sure that the worst will be over soon. Counting on the Commonwealth Games 2010, it has already begun work on attractive incentives to woo foreign tourists. “I am definitely hopeful. Things would turn for better. It will change,” says Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Tourism, Kumari Selja.