Last updated: 01:30 PM ET, Tue August 30 2016

India's Tourism Minister Stirs Up Controversy with 'Skirt' Comment

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | August 30, 2016

India's Tourism Minister Stirs Up Controversy with 'Skirt' Comment

PHOTO: The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, where India's tourism minister Mahesh Sharma made his polarizing comments Sunday (photo courtesy of Kensington Tours).

India's tourism minister is in hot water after controversial comments he made over the weekend.

During a promotional event in Agra, India, on Sunday, Mahesh Sharma pointed out that foreign visitors to India receive a welcome kit upon their arrival that includes several pieces of advice for female tourists.

"In that kit they are given dos and don’ts," Sharma said via "These are very small things like, they should not venture out alone at night in small places, or wear skirts, and they should click the photo of the vehicle number plate whenever they travel and send it to friends."

Once the backlash came pouring in, Sharma later clarified his comments Monday, telling reporters that he didn't intend to present a ban on skirts, but rather advise tourists on the cultural differences in India.

"I am a father of two daughters, I would never tell women what they should wear or not," said Sharma.

"Such a ban is unimaginable, but it is not a crime to be cautious. Different countries issue advisories from time to time, but I never said change anyone's way of dressing."

According to, Sharma has come under fire for controversial comments made as recently as last year when he said women in India shouldn't go out at night. 

The controversy comes amid declining female visitors to India in wake of recent high-profile assaults on women. 


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