National Conference on Tourist Police Scheme, held in New Delhi recently, puts in perspective the need for a dedicated strategy to address safety and security concerns of tourists and promote tourism.
Ministry of Tourism, along with Ministry of Home Affairs and Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), recently organised the National Conference on Tourist Police Scheme. The event was presided by G. Kishan Reddy, Union Minister for Tourism, and Shripad Yesso Naik, MoS, Tourism, also graced the occasion. Om Birla, Speaker of Lok Sabha, also addressed the conference. Other dignitaries present were Arvind Singh, Secretary, Tourism, Balaji Srivastava, Director General (BPR&D, MHA), Joint Secretary (Foreigners division, MHA), State Tourism Secretaries of Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa & Meghalaya, DGPs/ IGPs of States/UTs and other senior officials of MHA, MoT, BPR&D.
The conference saw the report on ‘Tourist Police Scheme’ prepared by BPR&D was deliberated upon and BPR&D also shared the finding and recommendations of the report. Reddy said that government has opted a 360-degree approach to encourage the tourism sector. “Our focus is on safe, responsible and sustainable tourism, which are the thrust areas of the upcoming National Tourism Policy 2022. Unscrupulous elements are active mostly at hotels, at entry exit points of airports, railway stations and bus terminals,” he said.
Condemning the incidents of theft and fraud at some of the tourist places, he asked the police administration to deal with them forcefully. “We should have a policy of zero tolerance for incidents threating safety and security of tourists. Such incidents tarnish the image of our country. So, to ward off all these issues, there is an urgent need to put in place proper systems. Police should be trained to secure active participation of Civil Societies, NGOs in tourists places,” he said.
“Now as the presidency of G20 shall also be with India from December 2022 for a period of one-year, it may be taken as a great opportunity for promotion of India tourism products. We can showcase India to them and give them best experiences so that they may work as Ambassadors for the Indian Tourism products in their respective countries,” he claimed.
Birla commented on increasing digitization in the tourism sector, and said, “In the information era, tourists ordinarily get every information related to their travel through mobile. Thus, mobile application should be developed, which provides all relevant information related to the tourists to their destinations in multiple languages. To ensure safe and comfortable travel, this app should provide updated and complete information about hotels, taxis, guides, etc., among other facilities, and facilitate police assistance whenever needed. There is a need for quick police action in cases of crimes against tourists. Such steps increase the confidence of tourists and create a good environment.”
He welcomed the establishment of tourism police by several state governments from the point of view of tourism security and advised all the states and the central government to share best practices among themselves.
On giving better security to the tourists, Birla said, “It is necessary to give adequate training to the tourist police for effective security and these police personnel should have knowledge of many languages and use of new technology.”
Claiming that it would be an advantage for India when it hosts the upcoming G20 summit, he added, “The Heads of States, leaders, and officials of the G20 countries will visit major tourist destinations of the country. This event will give us an opportunity to improve security and policing in popular tourist areas. The country where the law and order is better, tourist inflow improves. Therefore, it is necessary to train the police in this regard.” He emphasised on the need for learning languages by tourist police. “Language is a medium to connect us with culture and country and therefore all tourist places should have multilingual tourist helpline facility, which can provide information to tourists in their language. Simultaneously, tourist guides, especially female guides, should be multilingual.”
Shripad Yesso Naik pointed out safety and security is the first and foremost concern for any tourist. “Security related issues around the globe impact and affect tourism industry on local as well as global level. For any global tourist, India is not just to place to see or visit, but a destination to experience and get connected with people, culture, cuisine. For enriching the experience of the tourists visiting India, we need to be more focused about the safety & security related aspects.”
Arvind Singh, Secretary, Tourism concluded the event by saying that India’s global tourism indices will go up by improving the safety and security aspects of tourism and would go a long way in making India one of the favourable destinations. “This conference is another step to take measures to improve the confidence of travellers and implementation of this kind of uniform Tourist Police Scheme in the states and UTs, will result in safer tourism,” he said.
The objective of the National Conference on Tourist Police Scheme was to bring Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Home Affairs, Bureau of Police Research & Development and State Govts/ UT Administration on the same platform, so that they may work together in close coordination with the State/UT Police department and sensitise them about the specific requirements of the foreign & domestic tourists for effective implementation of Uniform Tourist Police Scheme at pan-India level.