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Tourism in Rajasthan takes a hit after rape incidents

JAIPUR: Following several incidents of rape, tourism in Rajasthan, the ‘Incredible State of India’, has seen a steep decline in the number of foreign visitors in the last season.

Even bomb blasts, agitations, 26/11 outrage or for that matter swine flu, advisories issued by different countries could not do any damage to the tourism industry to the state but rape incidents have tarnished the image of the state in the worst possible manner that made the visitors stay away from coming here. Moreover, India is no longer seen as a safe country for women tourists and Western countries are forewarning their women travelers to India, leading to a drop of 25% in the number of tourists to Rajasthan.

“Foreign nationals who frequented the state on a regular basis also cancelled their trips this year citing security as a serious concern. In the wake of the latest gang rape incident involving a Swiss female tourist, various Western countries have issued travel advisories to their women travelers, leading to a drop in the number of tourists. Last season, hotels and tour operators only survived on weddings,” was the plaint of tour operators in the state. “We do have the Tourism Assistance Force (TAF) and they should be trained to adequately deal with any untoward incident involving the visitors,” a tour operator said.

As for instance, United Kingdom has warned its women from travelling to India by saying, “Women should use caution if travelling alone in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women and young girls are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. British women have been the victims of sexual assault in Goa, Delhi, Bangalore and Rajasthan and women travelers’ often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment by individuals or groups of men.”

Similarly a US advisory states, “Women should observe stringent security precautions, including avoiding use of public transport after dark without the company of known and trustworthy companions, restricting evening entertainment to well-known venues, and avoiding isolated areas when alone at any time of day.”

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, a total 24,206 rape cases were registered in India in 2011. The statistics drew a grim picture of a new rape case every 20 minutes. The latest estimate suggests slightly less at a new case every 22 minutes.

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