World Bulletin/News Desk
Although recent rape cases in India seem to have taken a toll on the number of foreign tourists visiting the country, the number of tourists from Turkey does not seem to have been affected as tour operators continue to arrange trips to India at full capacity. Turkey is not one of the countries to have issued travel advice against traveling to India, unlike many others. A survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) released in March highlights that nearly 72 percent of Indian tour operators stated that tourists had canceled bookings, particularly female tourists, in the last three months, mainly from the UK, the US, Canada and Australia.
However, Turkish tour operators agree that they have not yet received any complaints about sexual violence or rape. Kaan İşçil, the chairman of the executive board of Kappa Tour, noted that Turkish people are very interested in India as they wish to discover countries with different cultures.
Kansav Arslan, head of Tempo Tour's outgoing tour department, underlined that tourists may face problems if they do not know about India and its street life, yet the majority of their clients are pleased with their choice. He added that since Turkish Airlines (THY) increased its flights to India and because the country offers many tourist attractions, many Turks are opting for India for their holidays. Arslan said no tourists visiting the country with his company had reported any incidences of rape.
India has been struggling with rape and sexual violence recently and some tourists have been subjected to brutal rapes as well as local women. One of the incidents that caused worldwide protests was the rape of a student on a bus in December. In the aftermath of the case, protesters called for more strict rape laws.
Another example was an American tourist who was gang-raped in northern India in June. The woman was on her way back to her guest house when three men picked her up in their truck in Manali. She had reportedly been visiting friends and tried hitch-hiking when she could not find a taxi.
The ASSOCHAM survey further reveals the adverse effects of the rape cases that have taken place in India. According to the report, from December 2012 until March, the number of foreign female tourists to the country went down by 35 percent and overall tourism is being affected by 25 percent.
Indian Tourism Ministry data shows that in 2012 about 6.6 million international tourists visited India, which earned the country $17.74 billion. The ministry reportedly aims to increase foreign tourist arrivals by 12 percent a year and to double foreign exchange earnings by 2016.Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Ağustos 2013, 10:58