Tourism to India Continues After Mumbai Attacks

Tour operators and India's Ministry of Tourism report that, despite the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, tourists are following through on plans to visit regions of India and that there has not been any significant urgency among travelers to leave the country. Meanwhile, airlines such as Lufthansa, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Air France and British Airways have resumed normal air operations to and from the country.

In a statement released during the weekend, India's Ministry of Tourism announced that it received feedback from several American tourists who are already traveling in India. One couple braved the 22-hour ordeal in the Taj Mahal Hotel and still expressed their strong intention not to change their travel plans and to go ahead with the rest of their program in Rajasthan. The Rajasthan Tourism Department has announced that there has been no cancellation of its luxury train schedule for this current season and that hotels are reporting regular business. Other tourists have reported from Goa that they are feeling safe and see no reason to fly back home.

Sanjiv Vashist, the assistant director for India Tourism, told Travel Agent that the security update for Mumbai should only last a few more days and that "so many tours and travel are taking place in other parts of the country and are operating completely safe[ly]."

Edwin Choy, the general manager of GTS Globotours (which specializes in travel packages to India), echoed the sentiments of Vashist. "Some [clients] have requested changes to their itinerary due to disruptions but they are still traveling in Northern India," Choy told Travel Agent. "In fact, passengers just yesterday who are traveling from North to South India still intend to visit Mumbai but are going to call us a week before to check if they should do otherwise."

Max Ali, director of operations for Sita Tours, told Travel Agent that, in addition to there being no clients who have yet canceled future or current tours in India, only minor adjustments of some itineraries have been made. "Some clients have moved to stay at hotels other than Oberoi or Taj and others are leaving from Mumbai without staying an extra day," he said. "We talked with all of our clients and reassured them that the rest of the country is safe. many called to express their support and send a positive message. We're gratified by their reaction. We expect Mumbai to bounce back soon."

Although several tour operators are reporting positive feedback and little to no cancellations, it is easy to assume that not all travelers are following through with their plans. Pallavi Sha, chairperson of OurPersonal Guest Travel Agency in New York City, told Travel Agent that, while all of her clients currently in India will remain their until their tour is over, all of her customers who booked two-week tours from December through January have canceled their plans. "The State Department warning has made it imperative for these clients to cancel," she said.

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