From a preferred destination to a most-avoided holiday spot – the downslide in the Indo-Australian tourism sector has come rather fast in the wake of the alleged racist attacks on Indians there. Indian tourists are cancelling plans to travel Down Under after watching the plight of Indian students there.
“We’ve just stopped selling Australia as a destination to our clients. We are instead asking them to go to Singapore etc,” says chairman of STIC travels, Subhash Goyal.
In March 2009 alone, as many as 30, 500 Indians had travelled to Austarlia. But that has changed now.
“We used to send at least 200 tourists to Australia in one month. It’s now come down to 40 or so. People are very worried about their safety and security. If it doesn’t stop, it will affect long term plans,” says another travel agent Inderpreet Singh Sodhi.
And while and even Tourism Minister Kumar Selja has cancelled her trip to the Oz land, the Indian Tourism Ministry is trying hard to play down the panic.
“We are saying go to Australia. These are isolated incidents. After all how did we project ourselves after 26/11? Things are fine,” says Tourism Secretary, Sujit Banerjee.
After all, Australians have been among the top five foreign tourists coming in to India.