Indian states told to make tourist destinations safe

NEW DELHI - Concerned with safety of visitorss and growing incidents of child abuse and illegal human trafficking, India's government has asked the states to crack on possible forms of exploitation an

NEW DELHI – Concerned with safety of visitorss and growing incidents of child abuse and illegal human trafficking, India’s government has asked the states to crack on possible forms of exploitation and ensure that tourist destinations are safe.

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The Times of India reports that tourism minister Kumari Selja, in a letter, has asked states to prioritise awareness generation and sensitise stakeholders on safe and honourable tourism and adhere to a code of conduct recently circulated by the Centre.

“There is need to sensitise travellers, travel industry and citizens of the country about the tenets of safe and honourable tourism, close all possibilities of exploitation, especially of women and children, and to ensure that India remains a safe tourism destination,” the letter said.

According to the Times og India, the code is a set of guidelines to be voluntarily adopted by the travel and tourism industry and aims to strengthen critical aspects of safety. It aims to ensure that Indian tourism follows globally acceptable standards of safe tourism practises, applicable for both tourists and local populations. The code also aims to prevent undesirable activities like forced or involuntary drug use, manipulated and incorrect information, cultural and social intolerance, which could increase vulnerability to crime.

Sources said the tourism ministry has asked states to involve private sector participation and organise awareness generation and training programmes to tackle cases of safety and security of tourists and local populations, in particular women and children. The government has also noted that there have been instances of child abuse, illegal human trafficking and drug abuse reported from some destinations in the country.

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