World | India

Women avoiding India after sex attacks

Number of female visitors in the country has been down 35 per cent in the past three months

  • AFP
  • Published: 15:55 April 1, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • Two Indian men watch a tourist at a market in New Delhi. The number of foreign women tourists visiting India has dropped by 35 per cent in the past three months following a spate of sex attacks that have made global headlines, a survey has found.

New Delhi: The number of foreign women tourists visiting India has dropped by 35 per cent in the past three months following a spate of sex attacks that have made global headlines, a new survey has found.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) says overall tourist arrivals are down 25 per cent year-on-year, with holidaymakers opting instead to visit other Asian countries such as Malaysia and Thailand.

The fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old Indian student by six men on a bus in New Delhi in December sparked outrage at the country’s treatment of women, and since then there have also been other widely reported attacks.

A Swiss cyclist was gang-raped in Madhya Pradesh last month, while a South Korean tourist was allegedly drugged and raped in the same state in January by the son of the owner of a hotel where she was staying.

Such incidents have “raised concerns about the safety of female travellers to the country,” said DS Rawat, secretary general at ASSOCHAM, which surveyed 1,200 tour operators from different cities.

The figures contradict monthly estimates compiled by the Indian tourism ministry, which found an increase in foreign tourists arriving in early 2013, although figures for March were not yet available.

February saw arrivals increase by 1.6 per cent compared with last year, according to the ministry, still far lower than the 7.9-per cent growth logged in February 2012.

Gour Kanjilal, executive director of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, also questioned the scale of the drop in visitors reported by ASSOCHAM, but said some potential visitors had been in contact to discuss concerns.

“There is a decline whenever any such incident takes place. Tourism becomes the first casualty,” he said.

The ubiquitous “Incredible India” marketing campaign has helped raise the number of foreign visitors over the past decade to about 6.6 million in 2012 - albeit still far behind destinations such as China and Malaysia.

The concern over sex crimes and the lurid reporting of the crimes is a blow to government attempts to boost the tourism industry, especially during a period of lagging economic growth.

Rawat said deteriorating standards of safety and security were the main reasons for the apparent drop in tourists this year, although the global economic slowdown was also a factor.

Travel advisories from various countries stressing the need for their citizens to take care in India has “further aggravated” the situation, said the release from the industry body on Sunday.

If found nearly 72 per cent of tour operators had a number of cancellations in the last three months - usually a busy tourist season - especially by female visitors from countries such as Canada, the United States and Australia.

Comments (9)

  1. Added 16:03 April 2, 2013

    foreigners should be aware about the complexity of the sociopolitical issue in 3rd world countries...

    salim yusuf, abudhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 14:31 April 2, 2013

    Please stop blaming India. my advice to foreigners and who ever visiting some other country is, first know the culture of the visiting country and follow. This is the problem everywhere around the world not only in India.

    Srinivas Patel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 13:46 April 2, 2013

    Very bad. I'll never go to India.

    Ashley, Houston, United States

  4. Added 13:22 April 2, 2013

    Every country is safe for women, but the main issue is Govt. Govt should provide safety to women and men both in all aspects with strict penalties so that the criminals should think twice before committing a crime. No one can name any country where there is no rape and murder. As per my vision, no country is safe, should I stop moving?

    Syed Mujeeb, Hyderabad, India

  5. Added 12:00 April 2, 2013

    India is a Great country where billions of people reside. It's vastness in area and diversities in culture,climates,traditions and festivals are so amazing that a tourist will be attracted and experienced than any where else in the world. I don't think that some recent attacks towards the females would become a cause for the female tourist to avoid India. It is the tourist's responsibility to be vigilant while venturing out alone at late hours. Not only in India, any where in the world, if a female is out alone during the late hours,she needs to be careful. So blaming India is meanigless.

    B.BIJU, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 11:49 April 2, 2013

    We cannot blame the government.There is a deficit in sex ratio between male to female. Unfortunately one of the reasons is female infanticide. Indians usually are very welcoming people.There are worse countries when it comes to crime against women,In India you have a voice and our media is very strong.

    Mishra, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 10:35 April 2, 2013

    Even Indian women are not safe in Delhi/India. Indian government is not keen on this issue. Earning a very bad name for India.

    bala, bangalore, India

  8. Added 09:24 April 2, 2013

    This was going to happen, not only women foreigners are scared to visit India. Even we Indians staying abroad are scared. I love my county, but hate those who does these crimes.

    Nafisa, Ajman, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 09:21 April 2, 2013

    The male population that stays mute & does not respond to the cries of a suffering victim are equally a part of the crime. If the majority of mature males wakes up and takes an oath "I won't be involved in any kind of sex crimes in my life & would stop a crime when it came to my notice at any instance" these crimes would never happen. I come from a country where we respect woman as Goddessed, our culture is filled with instances to respect woman in every stage of our lives. Agreed some social evil elements have forgotten their ethos, but the majority of good males should take up steps to stop these crimes. All are welcome to my holy country India. These crimes that have happened are a sorry incident, but the majority has woken up. We won't let this happen again in our lives.

    Gopal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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