Tourists’ security: Selja asks states to pursue measures

Bangalore: The Centre today asked the state governments to take necessary steps for protection of tourists against crime and disaster situations.

Safety and security of tourists were matters of worldwide concern and these were important for the growth of tourism sector. The state governments should ensure security to tourists against crime and disaster situations, Union Minister for Tourism Selja told a regional conference of tourism ministers of southern states here.

The matter regarding constitution of Tourist Police Organisation in states and union territories has been taken up from time to time and guidelines for setting up of tourist security organisation, comprising ex-servicemen, for safety and security of tourists have also been formulated, she said.

True potential of tourism lies in responsible practices on both the demand and supply sides of tourism chain, enabling an effective response to climate change, the minister said.

As part of "sustainable tourism route", the ministry has adopted a Rural Tourism Project, to strengthen skilled rural artisan communities, in association with UN Development Programme. Over 150 rural sites have been selected under this initiative, out of which 28 are in southern states, she said.

Tax incentives for new hotels coming up in World Heritage Sites have been announced wherein RBI has agreed to de-link hotel projects from commercial real estate classification for credit purposes, enabling hotels to obtain credit and liberal conditions and low interest rates, Selja added.