Is India safe to visit?

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Incredible India as the tourist board sees it

Incredible India as the tourist board sees it

Emphatically yes was the answer given by visiting Indian delegates to the bid travel show in Berlin this week. And that was echoed by two female journalists who between them had made over fifty visits to the country over the last four decades.

The question had arisen because of the widespread coverage that the media has given to rapes in India. Nobody denies that these happened. Nobody denies that the acts committed were heinous and deserve no sympathy. Nobody denies that those accused – if found guilty – should receive lengthy sentences.

But equally, the Indian officials shouldn’t have said that India is perfectly safe. No county in the world is. But visitors should take sensible precautions and the first of those is that you should respect local cultures. Flout them and trouble might arise. Not everyone shares your tastes, mode of dress, attitudes or approach to life so both the Indian officials and the two journalists were at pains to point out that tour operators and guides should do more to make people aware. After all, anyone will tell you which places to steer away from in London, Manchester or Belfast late at night.

Use common sense and is India any more violent towards women that many other countries? The view of many is that it was not and India now has tourism police in thirteen different states. In Mumbai, where the force is over ten years old, the level of violence has fallen dramatically and not just among visitors but amongst locals as well. But, as was pointed out, some people in India are in the twentieth-first century, some in the twentieth and some in the nineteenth. Those, particularly in rural areas, have seen few visitors and live a life their forefathers would recognise. Their approach is not necessarily one evryone would agree with.

But don’t put off visiting India. Just take precautions, consult the Foreign Office website and use common sense and, ninety-nine times out a hundred, you visit will be memorable one for all the right reasons. But completely safe? No place is.

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