News : Central Government Ensuring Tourist Safety
Mumbai, Aug 26, 2014 -- The central government is creating guidelines for State governments and Union Territories (UTs) to help ensure the safety of tourists, Minister for Tourism and Culture Shripad Yesso Naik said at the second National Conference of Tourism Ministers in New Delhi on Thursday. Naik said plans are also on to harness technology towards ensuring the safety of tourists, reported Live Mint.
The government will set up a 24x7 tourist information line and contact centre to help those who know little about India or about travel within India, and those who do not understand Indian systems and languages or English, he said. Besides Hindi and English, officials at these centres will be proficient in ten international languages, including Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. At the conference, the State and UT departments of tourism adopted a set of resolutions that include safety of tourists, especially women; cleanliness of tourism destinations; tax rationalisation to make various tourism destinations competitive; capacity assessment of various tourism destinations, especially religious places, on the basis of the principles of environmental sustainability; and a focus on imparting knowledge of a foreign language to officials.
The government will also ramp up its mass awareness campaign called "I respect women", which was started last year. The minister said the government has also allocated Rs 600 crore, over and above the annual expenditure of around Rs 1,282 crore on various programmes, projects and activities to support tourism for 2014-15, for developing five tourist circuits and beautifying and improving the amenities and infrastructure at pilgrimage centres. On developing skills in the sector, the tourism minister said the government plans to make India a hub for tourism education. Earlier this month, the government had announced its partnership with Switzerland-based hospitality school Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne to upgrade India’s tourism and hospitality education standards. "In a few weeks, I will be laying the foundation of the Indian Culinary Institute at Tirupati," Naik added.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, August 27, 2014