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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Indian tourism takes a hit
Foreign tourists at the Pushkar fair, Rajasthan
Foreign tourist bookings are down by as much as 70%
By Jyotsna Singh in Delhi

India's tourism industry is estimated to have lost more than $200m since the terrorist attacks in the United States.

Tourism officials say an urgent meeting has been called between industry leaders and the government next week.

The meeting will devise an action plan to offset any major setbacks during the peak season between October and March.

India's Director-General of Tourism, Vivek Duggal, told the BBC that the current situation was definitely bad news for the tourism industry but added that there was no cause for alarm.

He said the government was considering a proposal to boost domestic travel to minimise losses.

Bookings cancelled

The president of the Confederation of Indian Tourism, Subhash Goyal, said industry managers would discuss their key concerns with the government in next week's meeting.

Taj Mahal
The industry is turning its attention to domestic tourists
Mr Goyal said one of their main strategies would be to boost domestic travel and tourism from South-East Asian countries.

The confederation chief said nearly 70% of the bookings for the month of October from the United States and European countries had been cancelled.

The peak tourist season between October and March accounts for nearly 50% of the billion dollar industry's turnover.

The hotel industry has also been hit badly, with a rate of close to 30% cancellations by foreign visitors.

Officials have denied reports that some countries like Australia have advised their citizens against visiting India, and say they are taking all steps to reassure tourists that it is a safe destination.

See also:

24 Sep 01 | Business
World tourism faces uncertain future
21 Sep 01 | South Asia
War fears hurt Indian economy
17 Sep 01 | South Asia
Indian markets crash
21 Sep 01 | Americas
Tourism shaken to the core
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