NEW DELHI: Concerned over the current tourist attractions in the country failing to substantially raise the number of foreign tourists, the ministry of tourism has decided to take various corrective steps.
The focus of the ministry is primely in tackling perceptions over the law and order situation and improving cleanliness at various tourist spots. The newly appointed tourism minister, Alphons Kannanthanam, will soon organise a meet of police chiefs to discuss concerns over law and order at tourist spots.
He will also start visiting monuments in Delhi and other places to look into the cleanliness and security at these places. India saw 8.9 million tourists in 2016 and officials of the tourism ministry say the number has been going up every year. However, it is still low when compared to other countries. Even as the number of tourist footfalls was at an all-time high in 2016, it was still nowhere close to France, which topped the list of foreign tourist arrivals with 84.5 million visitors. The US (77.5 million) was second, followed by Spain (68.2 million), China (56.9 million) and Italy (50.7 million).
Kannanthanam said that while security is a concern in the country, the situation is also blown out of proportion. “I will call a meeting of police chiefs of all the states, with the consent of the Prime Minister, to discuss how to make our country safer,” the minister said. “Nirbhaya case happened, which was very unfortunate. It should not happen at all. But similar incidents happen in New York city (too). Shootings happen in the US cities. So, things are blown out of proportion (in India). But, I believe that no Nirbhaya incident should happen. Our cities should be much safe. Any person—man, woman, Indian, foreigner—should be able to travel anywhere anytime. This is something we need to ensure.”
The minister said cleanliness is another issue of concern. Toilets have been constructed, but cleanliness is still lacking, said Kannanthanam, who plans to visit monuments to look into the current scenario.
“The issues have been discussed with officials in a meeting. A final plan will be chalked out shortly,” said an official from the ministry.
Tourism minister Alphons Kannanthanam will soon organise a meet of police chiefs to discuss concerns over law and order at tourist spots. He will also start visiting monuments in Delhi and other places to look into the cleanliness and security at these places.