Discrimination against foreign tourists in India

Hi sorry this is not a post directly related to travel but indirectly, yes it is.

I have been to India 3 times now and it seems I am in love with the vastness of the country. I hale from Germany and I am a freelance photographer.

It is tough and sad to know that I have found that there is a lot of discrimination against foreigners (white skinned people) in India. The discrimination comes in terms of making everything costlier for us, taking us for a ride where ever possible and even to the extent of teasing and eye pinning on us like we are a bunch of animals in a zoo, its a very hard to handle look believe me.

I have discussed this with many Indians as well just  to understand the cultural differences but I was told that the the eye chasing look which you get when you are on a road is only for the foreigners and not for the Indian lot which is uncomfortable. Earlier I thought that it would be only the private hotel owners and the shop people that give us a special inflated price for everything, but also the government has made a special price everywhere for the guests in the country.

I strongly feel that in order for India to attract more tourists the discrimination should be removed this would be a benefit for the tourism in the whole country, I have never seen any special charges for the tourists in the Europe.

I have heard the Indian slogan on tourism which translates to “guest is god” and I am very impressed with it only to see the contrary being adhered to in practice.

India is a beautiful country with lively people and I would keep coming to India and would wait to have an answer to the discrimination being offered.

Clive Stellar

11 answers on “Discrimination against foreign tourists in India”

  1. shail says:

    Clive! You can call this as Positive discrimination. You can see the difference in the value of Dollars and Euros in comparison to the Rupees; so, the more charge amounts to be the same for aliens. Secondly. Out of 3667 monuments in India only 150 monuments entry fee is charged.

    More charge is also for better maintenance of monuments and is surroundings. moreover, the heritage being ours (of India) then why should be the Indians paying for it?

    As for sale & purchase is concerned then the ministry is not responsible for it. You might not be charged more on goods having fixed priced cost price over it. Help and support to develop our nation’s tourism.

  2. Rahul (Mike) says:

    Lakh Lakh Shukriya ! (counterpart of Tausend Dank )
    Greato !
    than I should look forward to help you out, in this place !
    also I did not want to offend any one, later on I realized that I got carried away a bit
    P.S – I didn’t get it, was the question solved? or the solver’s answers were solved?
    Namaste , phir milenge ! (counterpart of Tschüss)

  3. Clive says:

    Tausend Dank!!!

    I was our on yet another shoot in the wild, just saw the comments today and it took me an hour to comprehend and go thru the mix emotion in comments, and now I may have a mix of feelings. So sorry if I confused you with what I write 😉 It seems you all wanna piece of me. So here I am. Just kiddinh 😉

    I would reply to all of you but thanks Marie for givin a representation of the white.

    Himanshu thanks for the friendship invite, I really would like having some good friends in India.

    Rishi and Gaurav you may have felt the same kind of discomfort in the west but a honest question: Don’t you still feel safer in India that we can anytime feel in India.

    Anusha : You can have a picture with the drastically different looking me when I next come in India and then tell the Indian folks that after all I am also a human which is of their kind.

    Now time for the last and my favorite Mike :-), You seems to be an aggressive patriot and one of my kind, so how about a one-on-one ;-). but I appreciate any patriot cause only a fella who can stand for his country can stand for himself. As far as your comment of me hail from Germany and yet all the discrimination comes. I would shout and say “YES I AM FROM GERMANY AND I SAY THIS CAUSE WE HAVE SEEN IT AND HAVE COME OVER IT” so speaking out of experience.

    Lemme add one more thing, yes I agree good and bad exist in all places. I’d surely keep seeking advice from you lot and posting my opinions here
    MR Clive Stellar 🙂

  4. Rahul says:

    I totally agree with you, well almost.

    Firstly let me say that the British colonization was just a ridiculous example. But No, Sadly we have NO infrastructure given from them almost, most money was drained. The infrastructure that was there was destroyed, go to old cities like Kanpur, Meerut, Jhansi, Indore, Gwalior etc to see broken forts and wasteland. But lets not debate on that , as it is perfectly Nonsense and irrelevant.

    And yes even I don’t give any money to beggars. But I have categorized them I give money to old women and men, as they cannot work. But never to adults and especially kids who can work and earn money. But you don’t need to give at all. Hopefully in next 15 years you wont find any 🙂

    As for the people who stare, well, next time I see one, I’ll give him a good piece of my mind ! but overall believe me a lot of steps are being taken hopefully in next few years, it will disappear.

    P.S- Mr.Clive Stellar where are you?

  5. Marie says:

    Hi A good mix of comments 🙂

    If the problem of discrimination is everywhere then it does not mean you have an excuse for having it in India as well, so I believe this is something that needs to be abolished worldwide.

    I am a Briton and have been to India 2 times once when I was a child and once recently. And the mix of impact of India that I had from the two visits was drastically different.
    The things I could recollect from my earlier visit(15 years back) was our humble and polite driver who cared for me like his own child, my mammy Indian friend who took us around to many beautiful places and children my own age group who though initially were quite reluctant to have me in their group but then we bonded like anything.

    My later visit was not as good as I was traveling as a lone girl in the busy India, as mentioned by Mike people in the cities were generally normal but still the body piercing looks from people around, taxi drivers and even beggars made me really uncomfortable.

    I have traveled a lot and I believe that there are some differences in cultures which makes the journey more interesting, think how boring it would be if we had exact carbon copies of people around the world.

    I agree with clive on the discrimination in India against foreigners as I have seen it for myself. But I have enough good Indian friends who guide me safely through India. May be you should make more of Indian friends 🙂

    To Mike I would say that I know we are not Gods but on the other hand God is in everyone of us(as even your religion says ;-), so we too are Gods :-). Guest is a guest whether or not from alien land that’s what I understood. The Britishers made themselves at home in India but that’s past and you can still see the British made Infrastructure adding to the Indian glory, lets not debate on that.

    Yes we may have more to spend but I usually don’t give to beggars in India not because of lack in generosity but because I was advised by my Indian friends not to promote beggars, so now I am confused. The fact is I am a traveler and I love traveling and India is one of the most interesting place I have been to.

  6. Himanshu says:

    Rahul, Agreed man. Now lets wait and see what Mr.Clive has to say about this

  7. Rahul says:

    You call that discrimination ? and you hail from Germany ? still you talk about discrimination common !

    First let me tell you that i am gonna be very frank with you, as you have been.

    I totally DISAGREE with Gaurav , Himanshu and Rishi , who are just trying to be nice . The truth is that many people you come across are poor, they hope that “white skin” will have money and will give some, as only those who have can give. But yeah I know that “white skin” are usually poorer and they are not very sharing type. I unfortunately have a nice car (BMW 540i) so whenever I go somewhere prices are automatically increased.its but natural !

    And again as for government of India, as I said many Indians are very poor. Charges taken to Indian locals is lesser than that for foreign people. I mean just think, Rs 15 or 20 is entry fee of Taj Mahal for Indians which is like 20 , 40 cents !! do you charge like that in your country? foreign tourists have to give I think Rs 500 or so, which is like 10$? Thats nothing for one of the wonder of world! common Indian may not be able to give that though.

    Louvre charges 17$, entry to Fernsehturm (Berlin)is €7.50 (Rs.650)
    so what do you have to say ? even though the rate of government is more for you guys but compared to international standards it is less.

    I strongly feel that we don’t need to do anything ! But yes I agree that even when I see such behavior with you tourists, in my country. I do feel bad , But then again our country is booming. Hopefully people will get used to it. (the fact that foreign tourists are are usually poorer and they are not very sharing type)

    Athithi Devo Bhava, guest is god. This phrase was said for any guest not people from alien land ! Britishers were never welcome still they made themselves at home !Don’t you guys have some respect thinking that you are gods ? Why will we say that ?

    This phrase was said, for if you help someone at door, tomorrow when your son or daughter or you yourself are at somebody’s door, that person might help. But obviously I am not expecting any help from people outside India (just go to London once and you will see).

    One last thing, India is beautiful and is always full of surprises, but I shall request you to forget our shortcomings and to enjoy the beauty. We know this fact and already many steps have been taken. I do hope that now you understand why our government charges more to foreign people and people in general behave strange.

    Do come to India again, and this time visit some metro city, people wont even bother about you. At least here in India you wont be a victim of Racism.you would never feel the way many of us have faced in your country .

    (leave the following incident if you are bored 🙂 )

    Well let me share with you an incident , I went to a bar in US (Florida). Two guards standing at entrance to allow me and my friend (Non Resident Indian), Obviously we were old enough, still we were asked to show some proof. Luckily I had my passport so I showed it to them , but they refused saying “We will only accept American driving license or some other American proof !”

  8. Anusha says:

    Hi Clive,

    Yes, people in India do stare at foreigners, but not because they are making fun of them, but more out of a sense of curiosity. Anybody who is drastically different looking is bound to attract attention! And I agree with Himanshu that people feel proud and excited to have met and been photographed with a foreigner – there is a sense of accomplishment attached of having experienced something new!
    In fact, you should feel proud of bestowing such great sense of happiness and excitement in people when you travel 🙂

    As far as costing is concerned, the Indian rupee is much weaker than currencies of many European countries and other developed nations. Therefore, the cost-of-living for a European tourist in India will be extremely low as compared to his/her home country. The increase in prices is hence due to the fact that such tourists can afford to pay without feeling the pinch, and the upkeep of historical monuments is done through this money.

    In fact, I know many foreigners who have admitted to ‘living like kings’ when they are in India, but carrying on a middle-class existence back home. It is simply the economies of cost-of-living!

    But yes, I agree that people are likely to take you for a ride. But that is not because you are ‘white skinned’, but because you do not have the knowledge of, say, ongoing auto-rickshaw rates, or the current rates of shawls, or other handicrafts. They would take advantage of anyone who does not know the ongoing market rates – even an Indian! In India, especially in smaller towns, you need to bargain and have a basic idea of prices of various commodities.

    Next time you travel, ask for ongoing rates on this portal. I’m sure people will love to help out 🙂

  9. Gaurav says:

    I also agree with Rishi, I also faced the same treatment in Germany and Canada, However in Belgium, France and Switzerland it was totally opposite. So it really depends on your luck.

    As for the overcharging, this is may be because Indian economy is less strong than of Europe and US, and its a general perception that a foreign tourist will be able to spend much more.

    Also I would like to comment that no country or society can claim that its not Racist, Its actually deep rooted in human nature. We always classify people based on one or more parameters. It has been happening in all societies and cultures from ages. Its just that in some societies its more apparent than others.

  10. Rishi says:

    I think this discrimination is everywhere and not only restricted to India. I have been to most of the Europe including Germany, and I too get the same looks from the people for not being one of them.

    I too get a feeling that its because me being an Asian I am getting such looks but when you go and talk to the people, they’ll be nice to you. Not to mention there are good and bad people everywhere, so its your luck with whom you had an encounter with.

    Next time just try out to reach one of the people staring at you and let us know the response you got:)

  11. Himanshu says:

    Steller, I totally agree with you about what u said.

    But the reasons are not exactly what you have assumed here. There is no discrimination in any case whatsoever.Its just that people in our country get very curious to see foreigners.

    We get very PROUD to tell our friends and neighbors that we met a foreigner and became friends with him. That gives us a different feeling all together. As far as discrimination in terms of prices of the goods is concerned, that is just because different people have different perception and it depends upon how you take it. I went to Bangkok once and I experienced the same there as well, merchants raised the price like nothing. That’s something which you will find everywhere. Otherwise people here are very loving.

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