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Tourists still arrive in Varanasi
March 09, 2006
Two tourists -- one from Mexico and the other from the United States -- exit from Varanasi railway station a day after two bombs rocked the city.
Foreign tourists are not yet fleeing this ancient temple town even after twin blasts on Tuesday killed at least 20 people.
On an average, it is estimated, 500 foreigners visit this holy city every day, especially from Japan, South Korea, Britain, USA, France, Germany, Spain and Israel. Regional tourism officer A K Srivastava said that although the foreigners had become extra-vigilant following the blasts, they were not in the mood to cut short their visits.
He claimed several tourists were in regular touch with tourism department officials in connection with the blasts.
Condemning the blasts, a US citizen, Eliza maintained that she would adhere to her travel itinerary. "The killing of innocent people is a crime against humanity."
Putting up a brave front, Eric -- who has been learning 'tabla' for the last five years here -- maintained that foreign nationals are not panicking in the present circumstances.
"Such blasts have become routine all over the world. Spain and Indonesia have witnessed even bigger blasts, but it failed to deter tourists from visiting these places," he justified.
Gustavo of Norway believed that such blasts were carried out to terrorise people. ''...these incidents cannot discourage us from visiting tourist spots of our choice,'' he said.
But some travel companies are worried about the impact of the bomb explosions on the arrival of domestic tourists in the city. Generally by March the foreign tourist season in Varanasi comes to a close. But hordes of domestic tourists start to arrive in the city by April.
UNI and Rediff News Bureau
Photograph: Getty Images/ Prakash Singh