'Drastic fall seen in foreign tourist arrivals'

The double whammy of the global economic slowdown and the deteriorating law and order situation in some parts of the country led to a 25 per cent decline in foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) towards the latter part of the tourist season from January to March this year, according to a survey by Assocham Social Development Foundation (ASDF).

The survey said that from December 2012, the arrival of women foreign tourists to India declined 35 per cent.

Two separate incidents of rape at New Delhi and Madhya Pradesh in December last year had their impact on FTAs across many Indian cities, according to the approximately 1,200 tour operators who participated in the survey titled “Trends in tourist Inflows in the last three months”.

Nearly 72 per cent of the tour operators said that many bookings were cancelled, especially from women tourists in the last three months, mainly from the UK, the US, Canada and Australia, the report quoted the operators as saying.  Releasing the survey, Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said, “Foreign tourists opted other Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. The situation has been further aggravated by the advisory issued by various countries to their citizens visiting India to be cautious and avoid India.”

He pointed out that last year over 6 lakh tourists visited Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Kashmir valley, Goa, Mysore and Thiruvananthapuram during winter. But this season, there has been a substantial fall.  According to Rawat, the two incidents, though isolated, could have long-term implications for India’s flourishing inbound tourism industry. Foreign exchange earnings from 66.48 lakh FTAs in calendar year 2012 were $17.74 billion (Rs 94,487 crore), up from $16.56 billion from 63.09 lakh FTAs.

While 7.50 lakh foreign tourists arrived in December 2012, the number dropped to 6.99 lakh in January and 6.88 lakh February this year, according to the Union Tourism Ministry.

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