Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Sex crimes hit Indian tourism hard

Fewer tourists are visiting India's colourful pagents in the wake of notorious sex attacks (AP)

Foreign tourists are shunning India in the wake of the New Dehli bus rape and murder followed by two attacks on women visitors.

A survey said the attacks have altered how tourists view India and led to a sharp fall in their numbers, especially of women travellers.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry said that in the first three months of the year the number of foreigners travelling to India dropped by 25%. The number of women tourists has dropped by 35%.

The gang rape of the 23-year-old university student on a bus in the heart of the Indian capital in December shocked a country often inured to such sexual violence.

Since then there have been two widely publicised incidents where foreign women travellers have been attacked.

Last month a Swiss woman was gang raped in central India as she and her husband camped in a remote forest. In the second incident a young British woman was forced to jump out of the window of her hotel room to avoid a sexual attack in Agra, the city that is home to the Taj Mahal.

According to the study, the three incidents have hurt tourism and nearly 72% of the tour operators said cancellations of holiday bookings came mostly from women tourists, most of them from Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia.

The study said that travellers planning trips to India had instead opted for other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. The winter months from November to March mark the peak tourist season in India.

The survey questioned 1,200 tour operators from across India.

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