MUMBAI (HRNW) – India’s tourism industry has been hit by a wave of violent anti-government protests against a new citizenship law that have rocked several cities this month, with at least seven countries issuing travel warnings. According to Reuters at least 25 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters, and demonstrations against the law continue.
Officials estimate about 200,000 domestic and international tourists canceled or postponed their trip to the Taj Mahal in the past two weeks, one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions.
“There has been a 60% decline in visitor footfalls in December this year,” said Dinesh Kumar, a police inspector overseeing a special tourist police station near the Taj Mahal who has access to visitor data. He said the decline was compared to December last year.
The 17th century marble monument is in Uttar Pradesh, the northern state that has witnessed the highest number of deaths and intense bursts of violence in two weeks of unrest.
A group of European tourists traveling in a group across India said they now planned to cut short their 20 day trip.
The Taj Mahal, situated in the town of Agra, attracts over 6.5 million tourists every year, generating nearly $14 million annually from entrance fees. A foreign tourist pays 1,100 rupees (about $15) to enter the grounds, although nationals from neighboring countries get a discount.
In a bid to clamp down on violence and unrest, authorities have suspended mobile internet services in Agra.
The United States, Britain, Russia, Israel, Singapore, Canada and Taiwan have issued travel advisories asking their citizens to either refrain from visiting or to exercise caution when visiting regions embroiled in India’s protests.