Increase in crime caused dip in foreign tourist arrival at Taj, says government
Rise in crime against foreign tourists has led to a dip in the arrival of offshore guests at the Taj Mahal, said the government. Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Dr Mahesh Sharma told Parliament on Wednesday, raising concern over fall in number of foreign tourists visiting the Taj due to rising crimes, giving figures of reduction.
“From number of foreign tourists visiting the Taj Mahal in 2012 which was 7,43,256, the number dipped to 6,95,702 in 2013 and further this number fell to 6,48,511 in 2014,” said the Tourism Minister. This indicates a substantial dip with a decrease of nearly 10,000 foreign tourists visiting the world famous monument in three years (2012-2014).
Sharma added in his written reply to Rajya Sabha, “No market study has been done to pinpoint the reasons for fall in footfalls of foreign tourists to Taj Mahal. However, some of the factors determining international tourist arrivals in any tourist destination, including Taj Mahal (Agra) are: the prevailing travel trends, economies of the tourism source markets, connectivity, availability of reasonably priced hotel accommodation, good tourism infrastructure etc.”
The government had recently said that the latest and the only data available regarding registered cases of crime against foreign tourists in India is 384 during 2014.
Speaking to Millennium Post earlier, Sharma had said, “There are primarily three strengths or weakness of ours when it comes to tourism in India –cleanliness, security and hospitality. We, as a country, have been always known for our hospitality. When the issue of security of foreign tourists comes up for discussion, and whenever any such incidents of rape or sexual assault on them are reported, it immediately takes us several years back.”
Speaking on the measures to curb such incidents, the minister said, “The Ministry of Tourism has launched the 24x7 Toll Free Multi-Lingual tourist helpline in 12 international languages including Hindi & English on February 8, 2016. This service is available on the toll free number 1800111363 or on a short code 1363 and operational 24x7 in a year offering a “multi-lingual helpdesk” in the designated languages to provide support service in terms of providing information relating to Travel & Tourism in India to the domestic and International tourists and to assist the callers with advice on action to be taken during times of distress while travelling in India and if need be alert the concerned authorities,” said Sharma.
Year Number of foreign tourists at Taj
Only data regarding registered cases of crime against foreign tourists in India is 384 during 2014
(Source - National Crime Records Bureau)