TOUR operators in India are concerned about the spate of travel advisories issued recently by major inbound travel markets against the destination in the wake of high-profile rape cases in the country.
So far the UK, US, Germany, Australia and Switzerland have urged female travellers to exercise caution when travelling in India.
Amaresh Tiwari, managing director, AT Seasons & Vacations Travel, said: “We have already seen five to six cancellations from individual women travellers. Since the recent incident in Madhya Pradesh (where a Swiss tourist was gang-raped), I have been flooded with emails from clients who are asking whether it is safe to travel to India.
“Even our overseas associate consultants have started expressing apprehension over female safety in India. Markets like Germany, France, the UK and US have been affected.”
Tour operators are also worried that India's inbound tourism will be hurt in the long run.
“Presently, there is a lot of negative publicity, especially in the international media. Cancellations are bound to happen, considering that a large number of FITs may now be worried about travelling alone in India this summer,” said Vijay Thakur, managing director, India Vision Tours & Travels.
However, some tour operators remain optimistic. “Such incidents are unfortunate, but the media is exaggerating the issue. We have experienced no cancellations and don’t expect such incidents leading to a decrease in the number of foreign tourist arrivals,” said Lally Mathews, managing director, Vacations Travels & Tours.
Similarly, Lajpat Rai, managing director, Lotus Trans Travel, said that the Japanese market remained positive and he had not received any cancellations.
Meanwhile, Tiwari encouraged travellers to book tours with recognised tour operators, which would “ensure their well-being”.