Swine flu scare may hit Rajasthan's tourism industry

Rajasthan's tourism industry, a major revenue earlier, is worried as the swine flu scare could see a 10-15 percent drop in arrivals.

Jaipur: Rajasthan's tourism industry, a major revenue earlier, is worried as the swine flu scare could see a 10-15 percent drop in arrivals.

"Total deaths reported due to swine flu till Monday evening are 387 while the number of positive cases were 6,241," a health department official told IANS. He said the maximum 72 deaths have been reported from Jaipur followed by Ajmer (41) and Jodhpur (33).

The tourism season in Rajasthan is mainly from October to March. However, low budget tourists, backpackers and domestic tourists usually travel in the lean period due to availability of cheaper accommodation and holidays in schools and colleges.

According to the enquiries of tourists, travel agents have got an indication that the arrivals may decline this year.

"We may not be able to meet our average tourist arrival figures mainly on account of swine flu scare," Karan Singh, a city-based tour operator, told IANS.

"I feel that this would drop by 10-15 percentover last year's figure," he added.

Around 1.2 million foreign tourists and 250 million domestic tourists visit the state every year.

According to estimates, each foreign tourist spends, on an average, about Rs.10,000 ($160) per day, though no official figure is available to quantify the size of the state's tourism market.

"I feel that swine flu would hit domestic tourists the most. Starting from May till July domestic tourists travel the most to Rajasthan because of holidays in educational institutions, but with reports of the deaths, they would not like to come here," Ram Sharma, a travel agent, told IANS.

"Even the enquiries we are receiving are whether it would be safe to travel to Rajasthan," he added.

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