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India sees 25 per cent decline in foreign tourists arrivals: ASSOCHAM

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Foreign tourists inflow into India have registered a significant drop of 25 per cent in the last three months which are the busy tourists season after unfortunate rape incidents reported internally in India, according to quick random survey undertaken by ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF).

The acts took place specially in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh in December last year and has impacted the tourism industry not only in NCR region but also in other major cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahemdabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Dehradun, Agra etc. ASSOCHAM surveyed 1,200 tour operators from different cities and revealed that there was a fall in tourism business to the extent of 25 per cent.

Releasing the ASSOCHAM survey on ‘Trends in Tourists inflow in the last three months’, D S Rawat,  secretary general, ASSOCHAM said that the industry has primarily been impacted due to deteriorating standards of safety and security. The inbound foreign tourists have opted other Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, etc. The situation has been further aggravated by the advisory issued by various countries to their citizens visiting India to be cautious and avoid India.

The survey further highlights that from December 2012 onwards the inflows of women foreign tourists to the country have gone down by 35 per cent and the overall tourism being affected by 25 per cent. There has been adverse impact on tourism industry, revealed ASSOCHAM. “The reflection of Delhi gang rape is now visible and more pronounced in other metros and large townships,” added Rawat.

He pointed out that last year over six lakh tourists had visited various tourists destinations such as Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Kashmir valley, Goa, Mysore and Thiruvananthapuram  in the  winter seasons. But this season, there was a substantial fall of tourist arrival in India compared to last year. It has seriously impacted the inflow of foreign tourist to the Maha Kumbh.

During last winter season, Goa, Jaipur, Agra, Kerala happened to be highly congested tourist spot but due to recent incidents in India, there has been substantial fall in the tourist traffic, mentioned companies and tour operators. The ASSOCHAM survey revealed that safety and security which has frightened the female tourists the most.

” India attempts to enhance its image in the eyes of foreign tourists, a brutal rape case in Delhi and recent incident of Swiss woman in Madhya Pradesh, or to the young British woman who had jump out of the window in Agra to avoid a sexual attack has raised concerns about the safety of female travellers to the country. The crime and woman’s subsequent death generated international attention,” opined Rawat.

Nearly 72 per cent of the tour operators said that there has been number of cancellation of booking taken place especially from women tourist in the last three months from UK, USA, Canada, Australia etc, according to tour operators.

Majority of the tour operators said some tourists have e-mailed in asking whether it would be safe to travel and some have changed their mind about travelling to India this year. Those who are determined to visit India are taking extra precautions and avoiding affected areas.

However, travel agencies routinely recommend specific safety measures for female tourists in India and tour operators always recommend that female travellers exercise vigilance and visit tourist spots within certain hours.

According to tourism ministry data, in 2012 about 6.6 million international tourist visited India and the country earned US$17.74 billion. The ministry has set the goal of increasing foreign tourist arrivals by 12 per cent a year so as to double foreign exchange earnings by 2016.

Rawat also said that the recent crimes against women could impact inbound tourism in long term. So, security needs to be further strengthened at major tourist places and a programme to sensitise the importance of tourism and respect for tourist be continuously held across the country.

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