Agra, Nov 24 : The ongoing global recession is taking its toll on Agra's tourism industry.
There has been a marked decrease in the numbers of foreigners visiting the Taj Mahal this season.
Tour operators in India have already reported a 20 to 30 per cent drop in the number of tourists this year.
The global financial meltdown has hit the pockets of tourists, some of whom are wary of splurging on vacations. For those traveling to India, the budget is of paramount concern.
"I think that everyone is feeling the pinch of the global economic slowdown. People have less disposable income that is affecting their spending habits. Back home they are worried about money, cost of food, fuel and the luxuries like holidays will definitely be something that the people have to reconsider," said Edward, British tourist.
A day's stay in an average five star hotel room in India costs around 200 dollars, which is out of reach of many foreign travelers without any corporate or institutional support. Foreign tourists are cutting down on upmarket hotel stay and opting for stays at budget hotels and shopping on a shoestring budget.
"As far as tourism is concerned, particularly foreign tourists, not only the numbers have decreased but their spending has decreased," said Rajeev Tiwari, the President of the Federation of Travel Association, Agra.
The trading fraternity too is unhappy with the returns from the current tourist season.
"Actually this particular time from October-March is a peak time for us and we are having a very bad season right now and I don't see any good progress in the future. Global recession will create a lot of unemployment," said Abhinav Jain, a marble trader.
The global economic turmoil has shaken financial markets worldwide, disrupted channels of credit between banks and industry, and pushed some major economies into recession.
The Indian authorities are struggling to shore up growth against the impact of the global financial crisis, and have taken a host of steps including sharp rate cuts to fend off damage to the broader economy.
New Delhi says the world is in a deep crisis. But despite an adverse international environment, India has the capacity to sustain a growth rate of about eight per cent. By Brajesh Kumar Singh