Delhi to be more tourist-friendly

Oct 07, 2011, 08:31 IST | MiD DAY Correspondent

The Tourism Ministry is planning to start an awareness campaign for various service providers in the city, including training programmes, to prevent exploitation of tourists

Soon, tourists flocking to Delhi would be able to breathe a little more freely. The government is planning to start an aggressive awareness campaign for various service providers in the city, including training programmes, to prevent exploitation of tourists. In this regard, Paharganj might be one of the first places where the campaign would kick off.

First in line: Tourists prefer to stay in Paharganj due to cheap hotel
rates. The area might be included in the first phase of the campaign.
File pic

Code of conduct
A code of conduct to check prostitution, sex tourism and involuntary drug use, among other things, has already been finalised by the Ministry. Also, it has decided to involve auto and taxi drivers, guest house owners, policemen, guides and tour operators in this drive to prevent unethical practices in tourism sector. A short, five-day training programme will be held to sensitise the service providers about safe tourism.

A senior Tourism Ministry official said, "All employees involved with the tourism sector, directly or indirectly, will have to follow this code of conduct. Many areas in the country are not regarded safe for tourists. This initiative will help restoring these places' reputation. The module of training capsule will also be prepared soon."

To begin with, five "most vulnerable" places in the country will be selected. Areas such as Paharganj in Delhi and certain places in Goa, Kerala and north-east are likely to be identified in the first phase. Tourist guides, tour operators, hoteliers, auto and taxi drivers will have to adhere to the code of conduct. The code will also be applicable on event management organisations, entertainment providers, transport operators and other services or agencies associated with tourism sector.

"Our effort is to promote India as a 365-day destination. The Ministry is committed towards promotion of safe and honourable tourism and is concerned about the safety and security of tourists in our country," said the official.

In a recent survey done in the Capital, women perceived Nelson Mandela Marg, Dhaula Kuan and Benito Juarez Marg as the most unsafe places in the city. The next seven places on the "unsafe map" are Paharganj, Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Ghitorni Metro station, Sarita Vihar, Karol Bagh, Lado Sarai, Mathura Road and the bypass leading to Surajkund.

Tymur, a Russian national who was on a 10-day tour to India and was staying at one of the hotels in Paharganj, said, "Before coming to India, we do an intensive research. The area where I am staying is very unsafe but we find affordable hotels here and a lot of foreigners stay here. A sense of insecurity, however, is always there. I hope this initiative would help clean up the image of this place."

Past imperfect
On 13 September, nine live cartridges were found wrapped in a newspaper in a dustbin near a pan shop in the Paharganj area, which led to widespread panic in the area. On 19 September, a 32-year-old US national died in mysterious circumstances at a hotel in Paharganj.

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