So much has changed in a year. While terror continues to bleed India, perhaps more than ever; nature, too, hasn’t been kind — flood fury in Bihar and Orissa, and the economic outlook is all but gloom. No wonder the tourism industry is expecting a rather moderate season.
Last September, tour operators were flooded with phone calls and e-mails from inbound tourists, looking for holiday bookings for destinations as varied as Taj Mahal and Ranthambore.
These days the operators are an anxious lot. Terrorists have been striking at will and their business has taken the hit. Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad…, no part of the country has been spared. The Wall Street meltdown has only added to the anxiety.
And, the foreign media’s coverage of local events hasn’t helped.
“Take Bihar floods for instance. A section of the foreign media reported the catastrophe as floods in north India,” said an official from a travel firm requesting anonymity.
“We’re expecting a 10 per cent dip in international travellers. Luckily, none of the foreign consulates have issued a security advisory. That would dry up the numbers even further,” said Anup Kanuga, chairman, western region, Travel Agents’ Association of India.