On Tuesday, the Indian Government gave a tough reaction against the
five countries ‑ New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Canada and
Australia ‑ who had issued an advisory for their citizens asking them not to
travel to India during the holiday season on account of terror threats.
security of various tourist locations in India has been increased fourfold in
recent past as the reports of possible militant attacks have been doing rounds
within the media circuit. It is believed that the Indian Government's reaction
came in a bit too late as the number trail has been already hitting a low in
many of the tourism spots in terms of bookings and hotel reservations.
If sources are to be believed, the sense of negation that has come in
from the governments of these five countries seems to have affected the inbound
tourism. A small talk with the managing director of Le Passage to India, Arjun
Sharma, reveals that the possibilities of acquiring any fresh bookings from
these five countries has become almost negligible but thankfully there has been
no cancellations for the bookings already made.
Arjun was also quoted as saying
that ‘Our season starts post-Diwali and we hope
things get sorted out at the start of the season. If the situation continues as
it is, new bookings will take a huge hit’.
Alarming Reports of Possible Terrorist
Attacks in India
On October 18 2011, the local consulates of New Zealand,
United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia issued a travel advisory that
held a statement of pure caution for their citizens, alarming them against the
possible terror strikes during the festival season in India. The consulates
were expected to continue this advisory until January 2012.
The US Consulate released a statement regarding this issue,
which read ‘The Department of State reminds US citizens of the continued
possibility of terrorist attacks throughout India and urges citizens to pay
particular attention to their personal security during the Indian holiday
season, which includes Hindu, Islamic, and other religious and secular holidays
between October and January’.
Dispelling the Fears
However, the Indian set of ministers seems to a have a
different view on this issue. According to the Tourism minister Subodh Kant
Sahay, the advisory is nothing more than scaremongering, which will hit the
tourism industry hard during the peak of overseas business season. In a
statement to a media agency, Mr. Sahay said ‘I have taken
it up with the External Affairs Ministry and asked them to persuade these
countries to withdraw the travel advisories immediately’.
The facts that the tourism ministry data reveals add to the
already built-up tension levels. According to the recorded data, of all the
tourists that visit India every year, 4.3% come from Canada, 13.5% hail from
Britain, 16% from the US, and 4.9% come from Australia. If the advisories are
not lifted soon, then the Indian tourism industry might face its darkest days
S.M. Krishna, External Affairs Minister, India, is in talks with his
counterparts in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He has been attending the
CHOGAM Foreign Ministers' meeting and has been discussing this issue in detail on