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Safety of all tourists, especially women, top priority: Indian tourism minister



Bangalore: The safety and security of all tourists, domestic as well as international, but especially women, remains the top priority for India's tourism ministry, Union Minister for Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik said at the National Conference of Tourism Ministers, in New Delhi on Thursday.

The minister also spoke about running a mass awareness campaign, ensuring cleanliness at various tourist destinations and rationalising the tax structure to make various tourism destinations competitive. 

These formed the main resolutions at the conference among others that included promoting seamless travel, granting necessary licences and no objection certificates to various tourism services in a time bound manner and assessing the carrying capacity of various tourism destinations, especially religious places, on the basis of the principles of environmental sustainability. 

Naik, who chaired the conference said, "I want to accomplish four three, namely, that the safety and security of all tourists, especially women, remains the top priority for all of us; talk about some of the opportunities before us; update you on the Tourism Strategy of the Ministry of Tourism; and conclude with how we can continue to work together." Union Minister for Finance and Defence Arun Jaitley was the chief guest at the inaugural session. Organised as part of the 100-day action plan of the Government, the objective of this conference is to initiate high-level discussions on important issues faced by India's tourism industry. 

Jaitely said that the tourism industry in India is a low hanging fruit and with a little bit of planning, India can achieve far greater advantages. He said that tourism is not the sector of rich, some of the tourists may be rich. The economic principle on which tourism functions is the man who has the wealth spends and the others get the job. So it is one of the largest employers in the world. 

"Tourism is one of the greatest economic resources. If cooperative federalism can be seen at play, it is really in the tourism sector. It is a sector which can create a win-win situation for every government," Jaitley added.

Eighteen State Tourism Ministers including Chief Minister of Meghalaya Dr. Mukul Sangma and Lt. Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Lt. General Ajay Kumar Singh attended the conference. The remaining 16 States and Union Territories were represented by their senior officials.

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