Minister: Take all steps to protect tourists from crime
Union Tourism and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja has urged seven States and Union Territories (UTs) to take all necessary steps for tourists' protection against crime and provide them aid in distress.
Speaking during inauguration of the Inter State Regional Conference of Tourism Ministers of western States/Union Territories in Goa on Saturday Kumari Selja said: "The inflow of domestic and foreign tourists could be ensured only when we are able to provide them a safe and secured environment."
Ms. Selja said, in this modern era of communication news of any untoward incident travels quickly endangering the reputation of the country as a safe destination.
"Successful marketing campaigns can effectively bring in initial burst of travelers to new destinations. Sustaining the reputation of these destinations would depend on constant development and up-gradation of the tourism infrastructure. Further, the safety and security of tourists coupled with the quality of hospitality and services offered plays a major role in attracting tourists," she stated.
"Our foreign tourist arrival figures during the last three months have shown an encouraging trend. In fact, December 2009 has witnessed an unprecedented rise of 21% growth in comparison to the corresponding period during the previous year. The trend continued with 16% growth in January 2010 and about 10% in February 2010. Aggressive marketing and concerted efforts of all stakeholders has resulted in this growth," Ms. Selja said.
"The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved broad basing hospitality education. Vocational schools, polytechnics, universities and colleges would be involved to meet the growing demand of trained manpower in hospitality sector. Revised guidelines for the Scheme of Assistance to Institute of Hotel Management and Food Craft Institutes have also been issued. We intend to set up 19 State IHMs and 25 State FCIs in the 11th Plan Period," Ms. Selja revealed.
"The combined training capabilities currently available in the country are able to provide only 12000 trained personnel for absorption in the Hospitality industry. The existing demand is far higher at 2 lakh personnel annually. To bridge this demand-supply gap, we have launched the "Hunar Se Rozgar" programme," she informed.
Tourism ministers from Goa, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat , Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and representatives of Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu also attended the conference.
Ministry of Tourism has been organizing such conferences; the first being in Delhi, the second being in Gangtok and the third being in Bangalore. This conference, being organized here in Goa, s the fourth and last in the sequel.