World News

Study: Female Tourists Avoiding India After Sexual Assaults

A new survey has found that the number of foreign women visiting India for tourism has dropped by more than a third in the past three months, following several sexual assaults that gained international attention.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India says in its report released this week that overall, the number of tourists coming to India is down 25 percent.

The study surveyed 1,200 tour operators from across the country, who said that safety concerns and the global economic slowdown are factors for the smaller numbers of tourists. Most vacationers are opting to visit other Asian countries, such as Malaysia and Thailand, instead of coming to India during what is normally a busy tourist season.

More than 70 percent of tour operators also reported a number of cancellations in the last three months, especially by female travelers from the United States, Canada and Australia.

The fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old Indian university student on a bus in the middle of New Delhi in December sparked outrage over the country's treatment of women and led to thousands of people to take to the streets in protest.

Since then, there have been two widely publicized incidents of foreign women being attacked.



Last month, a Swiss cyclist was gang-raped in central India, while a British woman said she was forced to jump out of her hotel room window to avoid a sexual attack in Agra, the city that is home to the Taj Mahal.

India's Tourism Ministry says about 6.6 million international tourists visited India in 2012, earning the country $17.74 billion.

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