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Top travel writers invited to see a safe India
Published on 29 Dec. 2008 1:21 AM IST
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Terrorism has hit India's tourism industry hard, but now some of the best travel writers from the US and Europe have been roped in by the government to help undo the damage. These travel writers will be visiting India from January onwards and will be taken, besides exotic destinations, to cities that have been hit by terrorism in the past year to write about how safe it is to visit the country. "Some of the writers will be taken to those cities where terror attacks have taken place so they can write about the security steps taken by the authorities," a tourism official told IANS. Europe and the US account for the largest chunk of tourists coming to India. Last year, over 5 million foreign tourists came avisiting. But the 26/11 attack in Mumbai and global recession have hit the sector hard this time. Little surprise then that the first to visit India will be Partick Adams, a travel writer from the US-based Global Traveller Magazine. He will come to Mumbai, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and will write about the safety and security situation in these cities. Next in the line are Georgina Hidalgo and Sebastian Belaustegui, journalists from Mexico, who will be visiting Karnataka, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. From France will come Catherine Ardouin and Philippe Garcia, the writer and photo-journalist respectively, who will visit Chennai and Pondicherry. In the must-see itinerary of most of these writers will be Mumbai, the financial hub of India that was targeted by terrorists Nov 26. About 170 people were killed and 300 injured when 10 terrorists held Mumbai to ransom for three days before all but one were gunned down by security officials. Jaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Bangalore will be on top of the list of places to be visited as they witnessed terror attacks this year. "We had advised the India Tourism offices overseas to liaison with the media and travel trade representatives in their respective regions and examine the possibility of organising familiarisation tours to Mumbai and other regions of the country." "The idea is to get first-hand information on the ground realities," the official added. He said they have already lined up some media visits for January and February under their hospitality scheme. Also visiting Mumbai will be a group of 10 tour operators and five mediapersons from Britain. A four-member television team from Ireland will go to Goa and Delhi in January. This trip will be followed by an Austrian journalist Anita Ericson, who will be visiting Tamil Nadu. Alexander Veldhoen, a journalist from the Netherlands, will stay in India for a month and sample the various sights and sounds of Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Thiruvanathapuram. "The India Tourism office in New York in consultation with the Indian embassy in Buenos Aires is working out the details of a familiarisation tour for media representatives from Argentina," said the official. Also, the New York office will contact various new agencies and also extend invitations to the organisers of ABC News Programme - Good Morning America, NBC News - Today Show and CSC - Early Show - to visit India.

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