US government’s advisory to its citizens about possible terrorist attacks in India will not impact foreign tourist arrivals, say tour operators. The US is the number one source market for Indian tourism. In 2015, over 1.2 million US citizens visited India, accounting for 15 per cent of India’s foreign tourist arrivals.
“We do not see much impact due to the advisory. Those who have booked months in advance will not cancel their trips, though there could be some deferrals. Overall, the impact of the advisory will not be more than one-two per cent,” Subhash Goyal, chairperson of Stic Travel, said.
Inbound tourism is expected to grow 10 per cent this year, with strong growth from Asian markets, said Goyal. Arrivals from the US too are increasing, he added.
According to Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox & Kings, “Tourism to India has been on an upswing and such advisories do not change the perception of India being a safe destination. In the past 12 months, there have been terrorist attacks in Europe but it has not deterred travelers from visiting the continent. Compared to them, India has been incident-free and we expect the same momentum in tourist arrivals.’’ According to the tourism ministry, India is expected to receive a record nine million foreign tourists in 2016, up over 12 per cent of the eight million visitors last year.
The government’s e-visa initiative is said to have contributed to the growth.
On Tuesday the US embassy in New Delhi issued a security message to American citizens in India on Tuesday to be vigilant following reports that Islamic State may be planning to attack targets there.
“Recent Indian media reports indicate ISIL’s desire to attack targets in India,\,” the advisory said, warning of an increased threat to places frequented by Westerners such as religious sites, markets, and festival venues.
ISIL is an acronym for the jihadist organization, which has seized territory in Iraq and Syria.
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