Jaipur, Apr 21 (UNI) The government today said it was concerned about the safety issues being faced by foreign tourists and is taking all action possible to counter the 'sporadic events' of crime.
Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni, while addressing the 'FICCI Great India Travel Bazaar' here today said, ''the events have been sporadic. Each such event is a blot on Indian Tourism which believes in 'Atithi Devo Bhava' (the Guest is God).'' The recent rape and murder of teenage tourist Scarlett Keeling in Goa has raised concern about the safety of women holidaymakers in the country.
The Minister said the matter has been discussed and some recommendations have been sent to the states for safeguarding the tourists.
These recommendations include forming a Tourism Police, with retired armed forces personnel, as they are adept at handling such situations. Sensitisation projects with taxi drivers, operators and other such parties, who come in direct contact with the tourists will be undertaken.
''We cannot form a task force but have asked the states to do so for protecting the tourists as law and order are part of the state list,'' Tourism Joint Secretary Leena Nandan said.
Uttar Pradesh already has a tourist safety force in place while 11 states have submitted the plans for incorporating the same.
The government also proposes to create a national helpline for foreign tourists, who face harassment, and the Tourism Ministry has a Complaint Cell for redressal of grievances of tourists, including foreign tourists.
UNI PDT BJR KN1517