The image of Incredible India has taken a beating. Thanks to a spate of recent rapes, murders and drugs incidents, tourists worldwide think India is no longer a safe destination to include in their itinerary.
India has finished an abysmal 117 among 130 countries in the 2008 Travel and Tourism Competitive Report, which was released worldwide on Tuesday. The report was compiled by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.
According to the report, even African countries such as Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia scored better in safety and security standards. Only countries such as Pakistan, Russia, Nepal, Bangladesh and South Africa were worse than India.
This new emerging threat perception has contributed rather poorly to India’s overall rank in the international tourism circuit. Though India has been placed at 65 — same as last year — when the survey was instituted, but it has scored 3.99, worse than last year’s 4.14 on a scale of 7. In the latest report, Switzerland, Austria and Germany occupied the top three slots respectively.
“Infrastructure and deteriorating safety and security levels have harmed the tourism prospect of the country a lot. The recent cases of rape of foreign tourists, murders and incidents of robbery have further tainted India’s image,” said President of Travel Agent’s Association of India (TAAI) CV Prasad.
An official in the tourism ministry, on condition of anonymity, claimed that the ministry’s plea to the states for a dedicated tourism police has largely fallen on deaf ears. “Law and order is a state subject after all,” he said.
The UK, US, Canada and Australia have already issued warnings to its citizens.