Egypt travel advice: Tourists tell of safety fears as UK tour

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Tourists tell of Egypt safety fears as UK tour operators continue to fly to Red Sea resorts

Published: 11:39 GMT, 19 August 2013 | Updated: 16:19 GMT, 19 August 2013

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Worried British tourists who cancel their trips to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts will not get a refund from their tour operator because the British Government has not yet extended its advice against ‘all but essential travel’ to the country’s east coast.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising against all travel to North Sinai and all but essential travel to Egypt but the warning excludes the Red Sea resorts in South Sinai and the Egyptian mainland.

These include the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab.

Business as usual: The FCO has not extended its warning to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, including Sharm el Sheikh, which is popular with British holidaymakers

However other European countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, France and Belgium, have advised their citizens not to travel to the Red Sea resorts.

The US has also issued an alert for the whole of Egypt and Thailand is preparing to evacuate 2,000 of its nationals.

If the British Government follows suit and issues a warning telling British holidaymakers not to travel to the resorts, tourists will be able to claim a refund on their booking.





31/12/2017

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Is India safe for tourists? #discount #travel #insurance

#india travel
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Is India safe for tourists?

Several recent incidents, including a British tourist s report of a threatened sexual assault at her Agra hotel earlier this week, have raised concerns among would-be visitors to Indian attractions such as the Taj Mahal. (Photo: Laura Bly/USA TODAY)

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UPDATE, April 2: In the wake of several highly publicized sexual attacks, women travelers are canceling or avoiding trips to India, a New Delhi-based business association says.

In a new survey of 1,200 tour operations across India, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India found that the number of inbound tourists has dropped 25% since December. The inlux of female travelers is down 35%, particularly from the USA, Canada, Australia and Britain, local businesses told the group. Many operators said tourists had sent them emails wondering whether traveling in India was still safe, and “those who are determined to visit India are taking extra precautions and avoiding affected areas,” they reported.

“India attempts to enhance its image in the eyes of foreign tourists,” D.S. Rawat, secretary general of the association, said in a statement. Instead, the reported attacks have “raised concerns about the safety of female travelers to the country.”

ORIGINAL POST: The India tourism office’s popular “Incredible India” marketing campaign, which recently featured The Mentalist co-star Patricia Malone as a woman traveling the country solo, has helped boost the number of foreign visitors to about 6.6 million a year.

But a recent series of incidents — December’s gang-rape and subsequent death of an Indian student on a bus in New Delhi, the March 16 gang-rape and robbery of a Swiss tourist biking through central India with her husband, and Tuesday’s report that a British tourist jumped out of a third-floor hotel room in Agra to avoid what she said was a threatened sexual assault from the hotel manager — has raised alarms among would-be visitors, particularly solo women.

Britain’s foreign office updated its advisory for India on Tuesday, warning female tourists to “exercise caution when travelling in India even if they are travelling in a group.” The U.S. State Department’s website asks female travelers to “observe stringent security precautions” and “avoid travelling alone in hired taxis, especially at night,” while a Swiss foreign ministry advisory, issued before last week’s attack, urged men and women visiting India to travel in large groups and with guides, notes AFP.

At the Delhi office of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, executive director Gour Kanjilal told AFP it was unfair to portray India as dangerous.

“Our industry is the first casualty when crime against foreigners is reported in India, but the reporting does not always reflect the truth,” he said. “Tourists should be responsible. They should follow some do’s and don’ts.”

In a travel briefing issued in response to the alleged rape of the Swiss woman, the global risk consultancy firm Control Risks said that “although the incident is serious, violent crime against foreigners remains relatively rare in India,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“India remains generally safe for female travelers and most women will experience, at worst, unwelcome attention from men,” the firm’s report added, while cautioning tourists against traveling alone or in small groups.

Indeed, writes Toronto-based travel blogger and India expert Mariellen Ward of Breathedreamgo.com, “when it comes to India, I always encourage first-timers to join a group or go with a knowledgeable friend. There is a learning curve to being in India, no doubt about it. I have felt mostly safe over the 17 months I have travelled there; and have only minor incidents to report in all that time.”

“But what I REALLY feel is that India is no different than anywhere else,” she continues. “It is certainly getting a lot of publicity, and I’m glad these things are coming out in the open. The truth is the world is not safe for women anywhere. Rape stats in the USA, in South Africa and many other places are alarming and appalling. for example, Sweden is on many lists of safe places to travel (but) has a higher rate of rape, and a lower rate on the happiness index, than India.”

I, too, have traveled alone in India — albeit only for a 26-hour stint t hat included a late-night drive to Agra’s Taj Mahal — and returned with my husband for a two-week trip the following year. I often felt overwhelmed, but never questioned my personal safety.

Readers, what about you? Have recent events made you less likely to visit India?

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26/08/2017

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Ten tips for New York tourists. #portugal #travel

#new york travel
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Don’t be intimidated by the big crowds and bigger buildings. New York can be a friendly and manageable city for visitors if you heed some of this time-tested advice.

1. Don’t be afraid to wander. Start spreading the news: New York is the safest big city in the United States. Gone are the days when people were warned not to venture into Alphabet City or the Lower East Side. Pretty much nowhere in Manhattan is off-limits though it’s still an urban area, so do use your common sense (for instance, you may not want to walk around at 3 a.m. by your lonesome). Most of Manhattan, with the exception of a few downtown neighborhoods like the West Village, the Lower East Side and Battery Park, is laid out on a grid system with very few hills, making it extremely easy to find your way around. In fact, a highlight of your trip will likely be strolling the streets gazing at the fascinating people, buildings and sights that pop up on every corner.

2. Take the ‘A’ (and the ‘B’ and the ‘C’ ) train. Though the New York subway system is ancient the first underground line started running in 1904 the trains are well-marked and surprisingly fast, often a better bet than cabs if you’re trying to cross the city from east to west or vice versa, or traveling during the morning or evening rush hours. The subways do run 24 hours a day, but if you’re alone, you may feel more comfortable taking a taxi after midnight, though you’ll find many people still riding the rails. Try HopStop.com to figure out which subway line will help you reach your destination fastest, but keep in mind that there can be a lot of routes re-routed or closed for maintenance, especially on weekends, so also check the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s website for the latest subway route updates. Tip: The 7-day unlimited ride MetroCard is usually a good deal so you don’t spend $2 on MetroCards each time you hop on the train.

3. Eat dinner early or late. When New Yorkers eat out, they like to take their dinner between 8 and 10 p.m. If you want to eat at the same places they do, it’s best to make a reservation in advance at least a week ahead of time for most places and a full month ahead for perpetually booked favorites such as Daniel, Babbo and Le Bernardin and to go for an evening between Sunday and Wednesday rather than the always-crowded Thursday through Saturday. But if you’ve left things till the last minute, try calling a day or two ahead and reserving a table either for before 7 p.m. or after 10:30 p.m. which exponentially increases your chances of getting seated, even at the hottest spots in town. Of course, this tactic won’t work at the handful of trendy restaurants that don’t take reservations in advance, like Momofuku, Boqueria and Bar Jamon. There, you’ll have to queue up with the rest of the ravenous foodie masses.

4. The world on a menu. New York City houses so much diversity of cuisines that it’s a shame to stick to tourist neighborhoods or chain restaurants you probably have at home. Travel to some of the city’s ethnic enclaves to sample delicious, cheap and authentic fare. In Queens, an easy subway or cab ride from Manhattan, there’s renowned Indian food in Jackson Heights (the area’s Jackson Diner is regularly rated some of the best Indian food in NYC) and hard-to-find Egyptian cuisine in the “Little Cairo” neighborhood of Astoria. Astoria is also home to many old-time Greek restaurants, primarily situated on Broadway or Ditmars Blvd. You can have a more authentic Italian meal on Arthur Ave. in the Bronx than in the tourist-clogged streets of Manhattan’s Little Italy, and it’s hard to beat the soul food found in Harlem, including the famed, family-run Sylvia’s. Consider expanding your boundaries with a guided neighborhood food tour, such as one offered by Savory Sojourns and run by Addie Tomei, mother of Marissa.

5. Scout out the smaller shops. It’s nearly impossible to visit one of the fashion capitals of the world and not drop some dough on clothes, shoes and other goodies (unless you have a lot of willpower!). But don’t just confine yourself to the shopping meccas of SoHo and Fifth Avenue, though each does have its own New York charm SoHo for its beautiful 19th-century cast iron buildings and Fifth Avenue for its elegant department stores and proximity to Central Park. Head to the Lower East Side to check out intimate boutiques that feature local designers as well as trendy new and vintage pieces that you can’t find anywhere else. You’ll also find special shops sprinkled throughout the downtown neighborhoods of the West Village, the East Village and Nolita, as well as across the East River in artsy Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

6. Buy-buy Broadway. With the opening of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein last year, the top price of a Broadway ticket reached $450 for the first time ever. Though this is an extreme case, it’s difficult to find a seat at a popular Broadway show for less than $100 nowadays. A couple of options can save you money: Sign up for the free discount ticket listings at www.theatermania.com and www.playbill.com. which offer savings on advance ticket purchases for select Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Or get in line at a TKTS Discount Booth on the day you want to see a performance to save up to 50% on a variety of plays. (Tip: The South St. Seaport location is usually a lot less busy than the Times Square one, and only there can you purchase tickets the day before for matinees.) That said, if there’s a particular Broadway show you’ve set your heart on, buy tickets as far in advance as possible (and be prepared to spend top-dollar). If your show’s sold out, check out the online ticket brokers such as www.stubhub.com or www.razorgator.com. where people sell extra seats or re-sell ones they won’t be using.

7. Hear the music. It’s tough to claim boredom in New York. Every night of the week you can listen to world-class musicians of all types in venues across the city, from classic settings like Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall to gritty downtown (or, increasingly, Brooklyn) rock clubs to traditional jazz bars (though the era of the traditional smoky bar is over, since smoking was banned at bars and clubs in 2003). You can find indie rock events listed at www.ohmyrockness.com. classical music events at www.classicaldomain.com and jazz at www.gothamjazz.com. Best of all, some of these concerts are free of charge, especially in the summer months.

8. Pack your running shoes. On the weekends, Central Park closes to traffic and becomes a huge open-air running (and biking and inline skating) track. Enjoy the prime people-watching as you exercise, or opt for other scenic paths along Riverside Park on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, along the Hudson River heading downtown to Battery Park, on a trail next to the East River, or across the Brooklyn Bridge. Though it’s more comfortable to run in the spring or fall, you’ll find many hardy New Yorkers braving the extreme heat and humidity of summer or the bitter chill of winter for their outdoor fitness fix.

9. Don’t crowd yourself out. A lot of tourists (and relatives visiting local family members) who come to NYC can’t get over how crowded the city is. The crazy secret about New York is that many locals can’t stand crowds which is why they stay away, at all costs, from Macy’s anytime except weekday evenings, holiday store windows and Rockefeller Center between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Times Square whenever humanly possible (except when they must venture over there to work or to catch a show). While you may want to see these iconic parts of New York City, consider planning your visit so that you’re not hitting the big department stores, say, the week before Christmas unless you think that braving hordes of pushy people is part of that old-fashioned New York City charm. (And it really isn’t!)

10. Mind your city etiquette. Unfortunately, tourists have a reputation for doing a few things that drive New Yorkers crazy: taking up the entire sidewalk so that other walkers can’t pass; coming to a complete stop at the top or in the middle of the subway stairs, thus blocking the way down; looking over a shoulder or down at a guidebook while ambling straight ahead, thus sideswiping people walking toward them. New Yorkers like to walk quickly with a purposeful strut and are often in (or appear to be in) a hurry. Respect their sense of purpose and be mindful of the space around you and you’ll win renewed respect for tourists from the world over! On the other hand, if you need directions or if you drop something on the subway or sidewalk, New Yorkers will be the first to run after you, offering their assistance. They really are nice folk, after all.

Liz Humphreys is the author of USATODAY.com’s New York City Guide .





15/07/2017

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Travel in Canada, for Canadian Tourists, winter, cottage, resort, inn, lodge,

#travel canada
#

Travel Canada.net is a Canadian website that provides Travel hints and suggestions on Where to Stay in Canada.

Here are some examples:

Discover the Westwind Inn. a hidden treasure you will promise to return to for years to come. An easy drive just 1.5 hours north east of Toronto, this private getaway is located in the heart of the Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario, Canada and offers a tranquil escape from the everyday hustle and bustle of city living. With all the natural beauty of the Muskoka Lakes region, without the traffic or commercialization. You will find every inch of Westwind naturally beautiful, the perfect environment for a romantic interlude, quiet retreat or gruelling conference. Whether it’s an extended stay, a weekend trip or corporate retreat, we are just what you are looking for and so much more!

Spectacular setting for a romantic wedding or group retreat.

Celebrate your special occasion at Westwind Inn . Treat your sweetheart to a romantic weekend away. Soft music, fine wines, superb dining, incredible grounds, comfortable accommodations and friendly staff. Your package includes superb multi course dinners, full country breakfasts, full use of resort facilities, hot tub, sauna, pool and so much more! See our rates page for room descriptions and pricing. Wonderful romantic honeymoon suites perfect for your anniversary!

Westwind Inn is proud to offer full service dining with a beautiful lake view. Our all inclusive Modified American Plan includes a superb multi course dinner and full country breakfast each day. There are many towns to explore and restaurants in the area where you can have lunch. If you prefer to stay on site a packed lunch is available when ordered at breakfast time.

Westwind Inn is situated on 60 private acres featuring over 1/4 mile of private shoreline with breathtaking lake views and our own forest with a spring fed pond in a wilderness setting. discover the peaceful sounds of earth. observe wildlife in it’s natural environment. take photos, explore an artists haven. We are surrounded by thousands of acres of natural forest with so many wonderful activities available to experience and enjoy.

Ruby’s Cottage Resort is the ultimate family Ontario resort vacation and cottage rentals destination in Haliburton Highlands of Ontario. Ruby’s Cottage Resort is a four seasons destination with numerous trails in Haliburton County for hiking, biking, ATVing, snowmobiling, skiing.

Ruby’s Cottage Resort is a great place in the off season for romantic couples to escape for a weekend. Relax in a hot tub or curl up in front of a woodstove.

Fishing in spring, summer, fall winter is ideal at our Ontario cottage resort in Haliburton Highlands.

I rwin Inn (Lakefield, Stoney Lake) Spectacular Stoney Lake setting, exceptional dining, year round comfort. Rooms, cottages, luxury fireplace suites with whirlpool, hot tub or pool. Summer programs, seasonal packages, golf, tennis, beach, pool, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, mountain bikes, nature trails, horseback riding.

  • lakefront Studio Cabins, 1, 2, 3 and 4-bedroom housekeeping cottages
  • clean and comfortable cottages with full kitchens, gas BBQ’s, colour TV, electric heat and inspected by the Canada Select Accommodation rating program
  • some cottages are handicap accessible
  • facilities on-site include boats, motors, dockage, canoes, kayaks, pedal boat, life jackets, store, spa services
  • family oriented, with optional organized family activities mid-June to mid-September
  • safe, sandy beach, volleyball, shuffleboard, playground, waterskiing and wakeboarding lessons, and tubing
  • lakefront tea room featuring our home-made jams and home baking
  • mature trees with plenty of shade on well-kept spacious grounds
  • quiet, relaxed, family atmosphere
  • moderate weekly rates July and August
  • Spring and Fall, there are midweek specials, weekend and weekly rates
  • pets: As of 2001, only pets of regular, returning, Scotsman Point guests will be permitted. We no longer accept new pets.
  • conference and retreat facilities
  • 18-hole golf course right next door that is well maintained, and three others nearby
  • VISA, MasterCard, Debit Card, personal cheques accepted
  • we are members of Resorts of Ontario, Peterborough and the Kawarthas Tourism, Lakefield Chamber of Commerce, Buckhorn District Tourist Association and the National Canada Select Accommodation Rating Programme
  • Broadband Internet connection is available for guests with suitably equipped laptop computers.




    13/07/2017

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  • Ten tips for New York tourists. #travel #rebublic

    #new york travel
    #

    Don’t be intimidated by the big crowds and bigger buildings. New York can be a friendly and manageable city for visitors if you heed some of this time-tested advice.

    1. Don’t be afraid to wander. Start spreading the news: New York is the safest big city in the United States. Gone are the days when people were warned not to venture into Alphabet City or the Lower East Side. Pretty much nowhere in Manhattan is off-limits though it’s still an urban area, so do use your common sense (for instance, you may not want to walk around at 3 a.m. by your lonesome). Most of Manhattan, with the exception of a few downtown neighborhoods like the West Village, the Lower East Side and Battery Park, is laid out on a grid system with very few hills, making it extremely easy to find your way around. In fact, a highlight of your trip will likely be strolling the streets gazing at the fascinating people, buildings and sights that pop up on every corner.

    2. Take the ‘A’ (and the ‘B’ and the ‘C’ ) train. Though the New York subway system is ancient the first underground line started running in 1904 the trains are well-marked and surprisingly fast, often a better bet than cabs if you’re trying to cross the city from east to west or vice versa, or traveling during the morning or evening rush hours. The subways do run 24 hours a day, but if you’re alone, you may feel more comfortable taking a taxi after midnight, though you’ll find many people still riding the rails. Try HopStop.com to figure out which subway line will help you reach your destination fastest, but keep in mind that there can be a lot of routes re-routed or closed for maintenance, especially on weekends, so also check the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s website for the latest subway route updates. Tip: The 7-day unlimited ride MetroCard is usually a good deal so you don’t spend $2 on MetroCards each time you hop on the train.

    3. Eat dinner early or late. When New Yorkers eat out, they like to take their dinner between 8 and 10 p.m. If you want to eat at the same places they do, it’s best to make a reservation in advance at least a week ahead of time for most places and a full month ahead for perpetually booked favorites such as Daniel, Babbo and Le Bernardin and to go for an evening between Sunday and Wednesday rather than the always-crowded Thursday through Saturday. But if you’ve left things till the last minute, try calling a day or two ahead and reserving a table either for before 7 p.m. or after 10:30 p.m. which exponentially increases your chances of getting seated, even at the hottest spots in town. Of course, this tactic won’t work at the handful of trendy restaurants that don’t take reservations in advance, like Momofuku, Boqueria and Bar Jamon. There, you’ll have to queue up with the rest of the ravenous foodie masses.

    4. The world on a menu. New York City houses so much diversity of cuisines that it’s a shame to stick to tourist neighborhoods or chain restaurants you probably have at home. Travel to some of the city’s ethnic enclaves to sample delicious, cheap and authentic fare. In Queens, an easy subway or cab ride from Manhattan, there’s renowned Indian food in Jackson Heights (the area’s Jackson Diner is regularly rated some of the best Indian food in NYC) and hard-to-find Egyptian cuisine in the “Little Cairo” neighborhood of Astoria. Astoria is also home to many old-time Greek restaurants, primarily situated on Broadway or Ditmars Blvd. You can have a more authentic Italian meal on Arthur Ave. in the Bronx than in the tourist-clogged streets of Manhattan’s Little Italy, and it’s hard to beat the soul food found in Harlem, including the famed, family-run Sylvia’s. Consider expanding your boundaries with a guided neighborhood food tour, such as one offered by Savory Sojourns and run by Addie Tomei, mother of Marissa.

    5. Scout out the smaller shops. It’s nearly impossible to visit one of the fashion capitals of the world and not drop some dough on clothes, shoes and other goodies (unless you have a lot of willpower!). But don’t just confine yourself to the shopping meccas of SoHo and Fifth Avenue, though each does have its own New York charm SoHo for its beautiful 19th-century cast iron buildings and Fifth Avenue for its elegant department stores and proximity to Central Park. Head to the Lower East Side to check out intimate boutiques that feature local designers as well as trendy new and vintage pieces that you can’t find anywhere else. You’ll also find special shops sprinkled throughout the downtown neighborhoods of the West Village, the East Village and Nolita, as well as across the East River in artsy Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

    6. Buy-buy Broadway. With the opening of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein last year, the top price of a Broadway ticket reached $450 for the first time ever. Though this is an extreme case, it’s difficult to find a seat at a popular Broadway show for less than $100 nowadays. A couple of options can save you money: Sign up for the free discount ticket listings at www.theatermania.com and www.playbill.com. which offer savings on advance ticket purchases for select Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Or get in line at a TKTS Discount Booth on the day you want to see a performance to save up to 50% on a variety of plays. (Tip: The South St. Seaport location is usually a lot less busy than the Times Square one, and only there can you purchase tickets the day before for matinees.) That said, if there’s a particular Broadway show you’ve set your heart on, buy tickets as far in advance as possible (and be prepared to spend top-dollar). If your show’s sold out, check out the online ticket brokers such as www.stubhub.com or www.razorgator.com. where people sell extra seats or re-sell ones they won’t be using.

    7. Hear the music. It’s tough to claim boredom in New York. Every night of the week you can listen to world-class musicians of all types in venues across the city, from classic settings like Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall to gritty downtown (or, increasingly, Brooklyn) rock clubs to traditional jazz bars (though the era of the traditional smoky bar is over, since smoking was banned at bars and clubs in 2003). You can find indie rock events listed at www.ohmyrockness.com. classical music events at www.classicaldomain.com and jazz at www.gothamjazz.com. Best of all, some of these concerts are free of charge, especially in the summer months.

    8. Pack your running shoes. On the weekends, Central Park closes to traffic and becomes a huge open-air running (and biking and inline skating) track. Enjoy the prime people-watching as you exercise, or opt for other scenic paths along Riverside Park on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, along the Hudson River heading downtown to Battery Park, on a trail next to the East River, or across the Brooklyn Bridge. Though it’s more comfortable to run in the spring or fall, you’ll find many hardy New Yorkers braving the extreme heat and humidity of summer or the bitter chill of winter for their outdoor fitness fix.

    9. Don’t crowd yourself out. A lot of tourists (and relatives visiting local family members) who come to NYC can’t get over how crowded the city is. The crazy secret about New York is that many locals can’t stand crowds which is why they stay away, at all costs, from Macy’s anytime except weekday evenings, holiday store windows and Rockefeller Center between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Times Square whenever humanly possible (except when they must venture over there to work or to catch a show). While you may want to see these iconic parts of New York City, consider planning your visit so that you’re not hitting the big department stores, say, the week before Christmas unless you think that braving hordes of pushy people is part of that old-fashioned New York City charm. (And it really isn’t!)

    10. Mind your city etiquette. Unfortunately, tourists have a reputation for doing a few things that drive New Yorkers crazy: taking up the entire sidewalk so that other walkers can’t pass; coming to a complete stop at the top or in the middle of the subway stairs, thus blocking the way down; looking over a shoulder or down at a guidebook while ambling straight ahead, thus sideswiping people walking toward them. New Yorkers like to walk quickly with a purposeful strut and are often in (or appear to be in) a hurry. Respect their sense of purpose and be mindful of the space around you and you’ll win renewed respect for tourists from the world over! On the other hand, if you need directions or if you drop something on the subway or sidewalk, New Yorkers will be the first to run after you, offering their assistance. They really are nice folk, after all.

    Liz Humphreys is the author of USATODAY.com’s New York City Guide .





    25/05/2017

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    Is India safe for tourists? #hayes #travel

    #india travel
    #

    Is India safe for tourists?

    Several recent incidents, including a British tourist s report of a threatened sexual assault at her Agra hotel earlier this week, have raised concerns among would-be visitors to Indian attractions such as the Taj Mahal. (Photo: Laura Bly/USA TODAY)

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    UPDATE, April 2: In the wake of several highly publicized sexual attacks, women travelers are canceling or avoiding trips to India, a New Delhi-based business association says.

    In a new survey of 1,200 tour operations across India, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India found that the number of inbound tourists has dropped 25% since December. The inlux of female travelers is down 35%, particularly from the USA, Canada, Australia and Britain, local businesses told the group. Many operators said tourists had sent them emails wondering whether traveling in India was still safe, and “those who are determined to visit India are taking extra precautions and avoiding affected areas,” they reported.

    “India attempts to enhance its image in the eyes of foreign tourists,” D.S. Rawat, secretary general of the association, said in a statement. Instead, the reported attacks have “raised concerns about the safety of female travelers to the country.”

    ORIGINAL POST: The India tourism office’s popular “Incredible India” marketing campaign, which recently featured The Mentalist co-star Patricia Malone as a woman traveling the country solo, has helped boost the number of foreign visitors to about 6.6 million a year.

    But a recent series of incidents — December’s gang-rape and subsequent death of an Indian student on a bus in New Delhi, the March 16 gang-rape and robbery of a Swiss tourist biking through central India with her husband, and Tuesday’s report that a British tourist jumped out of a third-floor hotel room in Agra to avoid what she said was a threatened sexual assault from the hotel manager — has raised alarms among would-be visitors, particularly solo women.

    Britain’s foreign office updated its advisory for India on Tuesday, warning female tourists to “exercise caution when travelling in India even if they are travelling in a group.” The U.S. State Department’s website asks female travelers to “observe stringent security precautions” and “avoid travelling alone in hired taxis, especially at night,” while a Swiss foreign ministry advisory, issued before last week’s attack, urged men and women visiting India to travel in large groups and with guides, notes AFP.

    At the Delhi office of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, executive director Gour Kanjilal told AFP it was unfair to portray India as dangerous.

    “Our industry is the first casualty when crime against foreigners is reported in India, but the reporting does not always reflect the truth,” he said. “Tourists should be responsible. They should follow some do’s and don’ts.”

    In a travel briefing issued in response to the alleged rape of the Swiss woman, the global risk consultancy firm Control Risks said that “although the incident is serious, violent crime against foreigners remains relatively rare in India,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

    “India remains generally safe for female travelers and most women will experience, at worst, unwelcome attention from men,” the firm’s report added, while cautioning tourists against traveling alone or in small groups.

    Indeed, writes Toronto-based travel blogger and India expert Mariellen Ward of Breathedreamgo.com, “when it comes to India, I always encourage first-timers to join a group or go with a knowledgeable friend. There is a learning curve to being in India, no doubt about it. I have felt mostly safe over the 17 months I have travelled there; and have only minor incidents to report in all that time.”

    “But what I REALLY feel is that India is no different than anywhere else,” she continues. “It is certainly getting a lot of publicity, and I’m glad these things are coming out in the open. The truth is the world is not safe for women anywhere. Rape stats in the USA, in South Africa and many other places are alarming and appalling. for example, Sweden is on many lists of safe places to travel (but) has a higher rate of rape, and a lower rate on the happiness index, than India.”

    I, too, have traveled alone in India — albeit only for a 26-hour stint t hat included a late-night drive to Agra’s Taj Mahal — and returned with my husband for a two-week trip the following year. I often felt overwhelmed, but never questioned my personal safety.

    Readers, what about you? Have recent events made you less likely to visit India?

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    20/04/2017

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