Soni assures better inter-ministerial coordination

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New Delhi, Mar 12 (UNI) Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni today said there would be a better inter-ministerial coordination for further promotion and growth of tourism sector in the country.

Chairing the first meeting of the reconstituted National Tourism Advisory Council (NTAC) here, she said the Planning Commission could be an appropriate platform in this regard on issues such as connectivity.

Responding to Members' suggestions on Visa on Arrival issue, the Minister said her Ministry had taken up the matter with the Home Ministry and it was assured that once the work of upgradation of airports is complete, the issue would be decided.

She said India had witnessed arrival of five million tourists in 2007, resulting in with a foreign exchange earnings of 12 billion dollars.

In this context, she urged the members of NTAC to come forward with their suggestions to help the tourism sector in a sustainable manner.

Referring to some recent media reports about safety and security of tourists in the country, Ms Soni said she was most concerned about these unfortunate incidents.

Though law and order was a state subject, the Ministry of Tourism had taken up the issue of safety and security of tourists with State Governments. As many as ten states had already deployed tourist police and some more were in the process of doing so, she said.

A tourist-friendly and sensitive security organization of ex-servicemen was being proposed to effectively deal with cases of harassment and misbehaviour in destinations frequented by tourists.

NTAC is a 'Think Tank' constituted by the Government and comprises experts from various fields, representatives of industry associations like CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, PHDCCI, FHRAI, HAI, IATO, TAAI, Experience India Society as well as Ministries of Finance, Culture, External Affairs, Urban Development and Planning Commission, and advises the Government on various aspects of tourism with the objective of promoting domestic and foreign tourism in the country.

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