Soni speaks against travel advisories against India

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New Delhi, Oct 14 (UNI) Disturbed by issuance of frequent travel advisories against India by some countries following the recent bombing incidents here, Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni said today that no country could be said to be insulated against terrorism.

''The challenge posed by terrorism can only be surmounted through international cooperation and collective action by the global community rather than by issuing travel advisories against individual countries,'' she said addressing the 84th session of the UNWTO Executive Council meeting in Madrid in Spain.

Ms Soni, who is the present Chairperson of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, said terrorism and cross border crime were simply devastating all tourism prospects. Terrorism had neither religion nor boundaries. In fact, no country could be said to be insulated against terrorism.

''But despite all adversity, there is an inherent hope that human enthusiasm and curiosity to venture out into unexplored terrains and experience different cultures and their scintillating dance, music, cuisine and shopping, will foster tourism activity.'' Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian attended the meeting.

Ms Soni said increasing oil costs and financial crisis continued to adversely impact economies as well as travel and tourism sectors.

Pointing out that natural calamities such as floods and earthquakes and terrorist incidents in many parts of the world were all jeopardizing the tourism growth prospects, she called upon all countries to continue to work on setting up of Early Warning Systems for disaster management.

Highlighting the need for adapting best practices for destinations in the context of the growing concern about global change, Ms Soni said the adaptation process was not easy, especially for those developing countries which were realising their economic potential through tourism.

''It is, therefore, important to assist the destinations of developing nations with technology and financial resources.'' In this context, she urged the UNWTO to work out an effective methodology that is service oriented so as to enable nations to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals, one of which is eradication of poverty through tourism.

Listing out the steps taken by India on climate change, Ms Soni announced that her ministry, in keeping with the growing awareness of the need for pursuing tourism growth consistent with environmentally sustainable principles and practices, was organising four regional thematic conferences with participation of international and national stakeholders on Responsible Tourism in December this year.

UNI SH SB NS1718

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