Agra despairs over Western advisory

October 26th, 2011 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Agra, Oct 26 (IANS) Tourism industry in the Taj Mahal city of Agra fumed Wednesday that it will be badly hit following advisory from five Western nations asking tourists to avoid India during the festive season.

Industry leaders demanded that the Indian government take urgent steps to counter the statements from the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand which cited terror threats in India.

Rajiv Tiwari, president of the Federation of Travel Associations, said the Indian government should assure these countries of the changed security ambience.

“We on our part are telling visitors to Agra that everything is normal and the ambience is perfect for a great tourist season,” Tiwari told IANS.

A group of hoteliers, travel agents and emporia owners here interacted with foreign tourists and assured them that Agra was safe — and full of warmth.

“They all said they enjoyed the ambience and were not at all alarmed,” Tiwari said. “Rather, they found Agra to be a very safe and exciting place to visit.”

The advisory cited heightened terror threats during the festival season in India. One Agra tourism industry leader felt: “The damage has already been done.”

Rakesh Chauhan, president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association, added that the industry in Agra was telling tourists that they were most welcome “and they should feel fear free”.

The majestic, 17th century Taj Mahal in Agra is India’s biggest tourist draw. Any derailment of the Indian tourist industry has a major fallout on Agra, located about 200 km south of New Delhi.

Many of the foreigners who flock to Agra are Americans and Britons. This is what is worrying the Agra industry.

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