New Delhi – Even as India continues to remain on a high alert, a number of countries, which had issued grim travel advisories to their citizens in the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks in Mumbai, have begun revising and moderating these warnings.
In the last few days, the United States, Britain and Australia have all softened their warnings issued while Mumbai was suffering from India’s worst ever terror attacks late last month. These countries continue to advise their nationals to exercise caution while visiting India, but the tone of these advisories is significantly milder. Canada and the Netherlands have even taken off their regional warnings for Mumbai.
The softening of the travel warnings is a welcome sign for the Indian tourism industry, which has already been experiencing a downturn because of the global economic meltdown. The month of October had seen a sharp decline in the growth of foreign tourist arrivals as compared to the same month in the previous years. Fears are being expressed that India might lose 10-15 per cent of its expected tourists in the coming months because of the Mumbai terror attacks.
The current advisories by these countries inform their citizens about the heightened security concerns in India and urge them to exercise caution while traveling in India but do not advise against visiting the country.
In its latest travel alert for India, the US has advised its nationals that in view of the fact that American citizens were among specific targets of the terrorists, there was need to keep a low profile and maintain a high level of vigilance.
“The Department of State advises Americans planning to travel to Mumbai in the aftermath of the November 26 terrorist attacks to recognise that it may be some time before all public infrastructure and services return to normal. Emotions are running high and there are possibilities of demonstrations that could turn violent,” the advisory said.
“Prudent security measures include maintaining a high level of vigilance, avoiding crowds and demonstrations and keeping a low profile by not calling attention to one’s nationality. Americans throughout India should be vigilant about security at all times,” it said.
Such advisories are not binding on travelers but are a significant factor in their decision to undertake a trip. In fact, India has been urging the developed countries to use these advisories more judiciously and not issue warnings after every terrorist act or isolated incidents of crime as these have an adverse impact on the tourism industry of the destination country.