Tourism minister asks CMs to ensure safety of foreign women

Tourism minister asks CMs to ensure safety of foreign women

The Centre has asked all chief ministers to ensure the safety of tourists, especially women, visiting the country from abroad, noting that the recent incidents of sexual assault on foreign women travellers in some of the states generated “widespread negative publicity” for India.

“A few recent incidents, where foreign women tourists were sexually assaulted, have generated widespread negative publicity for India. As law and order is a state subject, I have written to all chief ministers to take effective steps to create a conducive and friendly atmosphere for all tourists,” Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi was told the Central Advisory Board on Tourism members at a meeting here on Monday.

This follows a recent remark by Australian High Commissioner to India Patrick Suckling that media coverage of various rape incidents in India had caused “some anxiety” among Australian women who were planning to travel to India.

“I think the recent media (reports) on rapes in particular have caused some anxiety or some concern or second thinking by particularly women who might be thinking of travelling alone or travelling in groups,” he told reporters here last Friday.

Suckling, however, maintained that he did not have “any clear evidence” to show if there had been a drop in the number of Australians visiting India following the rape reports in different parts of the country.

A British woman suffered critical injuries after she jumped off a hotel’s balcony allegedly to escape a molestation bid by the owner of the hotel in the Agra district of Uttar Pradesh in March. Then, a few days ago, a Swiss woman who had come to visit India with her husband became the victim of gang-rape in Madhya Pradesh.

Recalling the two incidents at the Central Advisory Board on Tourism meeting, the Union tourism minister said safety of tourists, particularly of foreign women tourists, has become an area of concern. 

He said the tourism sector in India had witnessed substantial growth in the last decade, and there was need to make all efforts to keep the growth trajectory up.

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