Tour operators demand safety for women visitors

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) here Wednesday condemned the attempt to molest a British woman tourist in Agra.

“We were shocked about the tragic incident with a British national that took place in Agra and strongly condemned it,” said Subhash Goyal, president of IATO.
The civic governance needs “strengthening of the tourist police force and deploy them at all major tourist places frequented by tourists”.
“The Ministry of Tourism’s proposal to start a 24-hour helpline for tourists in different languages is yet to take place,” Goyal said.
“All five-star and four-star hotels have their own security system. Three- and one-star hotels have negligible security. They should strengthen security or the government must ensure it at such hotels round-the-clock,” Goyal said.
“Unless we create an image that it is safe to travel in India, there will be always a feeling to avoid India, which will be very negative to revive our sagging tourism”, he added.
Security of women tourists and children was the topmost priority of the tourism ministry, Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi said Tuesday, expressing distress over the reported attempt to assault a British woman in Agra.
Chiranjeevi said he had also spoken to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and expressed concern, requesting that a system be put in place to ensure the safety and security of all tourists, especially women and children.
Chiranjeevi has also started contacting chief ministers of various states, urging each to institute an adequate security mechanism for tourists in the state. He said due punishment would be meted out to the culprit in the Agra case.
Chiranjeevi said his ministry has set a target to double the receipt of international tourist arrivals by 2016 taking 2011 as the base and it was important that tourists, especially women, were secure.