Event planners love it when they’re able to take a group to international destinations. Not that there aren’t extra steps that would have to be added to a planner’s checklist. For example, it can be very time-consuming communicating and ensuring that all of the delegates have the proper paperwork in order to leave the country. It’s estimated that only 35% of Americans have valid passports. This percentage is far below the norm for most Western countries (as a comparison, 64% of Canadians have valid passports). Nonetheless, many event planners love the opportunity to plan conventions internationally.
A Meeting and Event Planner Is Always Concerned with Safety
India is usually an attractive destination due to its low costs and ideal weather. And of course it’s history. There has always been a certain level of concern from event planners with regards to terrorism in India. Being a Westerner in many parts of the world can be a security issue today. However recently we’ve seen negative news headlines coming out of India. Particularly the horrifying rape stories which have exposed a cultural battle that is occurring in India.
Tourism in India is on the Decline
As a result of the attention grabbing headlines coming out of India, and especially regarding crimes against women, India tourism is being hit hard. Conventions and tourism in India is an $18 billion a year business. India tourism usually projects a 12% increase in visits each year.
But that trend is hitting a snag.
According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, 72% of tour operators are reporting that their businesses are experiencing unprecedented cancellations. A noticeable decline is women from the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. Overall, there has been a 25% drop in tourism business since January 1 of this year alone. Additionally there is a 35% drop in visits by foreign women.
And that is raising alarm bells within the country.
It’s obvious that India is in the middle of a cultural battle. It’s very easy for us in North America to shake our heads in disgust at the news headlines regarding crimes against women in particular.
From the figures above, it’s obvious that event planners are taking a cautious approach when considering India. If the country plans on playing in the big leagues of conventions, meetings and events, then government officials will need to do more to address the situation there, particularly the safety and security of women. And let’s hope that they do take swift action as India does have a lot to offer as an international destination.