384 cases of crime against foreign tourists in ’14, no data before or after: Sharma
The government has said that the latest and the only data available regarding registered cases of crime against foreign tourists in India is 384 during 2014.
“The Ministry of Tourism does not compile data regarding crime against foreign or domestic tourists. However, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and the Ministry of Home Affairs has started collecting data on crime against foreign tourists since 2014. Hence, data on crime against foreign tourists prior to 2014 is not available with the NCRB. The total number of cases registered under crime against foreign tourists were 384 in 2014. This information is not available for 2015,” said Mahesh Sharma, MoS for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) and MoS for Civil Aviation.
The Minister was replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday regarding cases of violence against foreign tourists in India.
Sharma had earlier told Millennium Post, “There are primarily three strengths or weakness of ours when it comes to tourism in India – cleanliness, security and hospitality. We as a country have been always known for our hospitality. When the issue of security of foreign tourists comes up and whenever any incident of rape or sexual assault on them are reported, it immediately takes us several years back.”
“The Ministry of Tourism had launched a 24x7 toll-free multi-lingual tourist helpline number in 12 languages, including Hindi and English, on February 8, 2016. This service is available on toll-free number 1800111363 and 1363 and operational throughout the year. The multi-lingual helpdesks offer support service in terms of providing information relating to travel and tourism in India to domestic and international tourists and assist callers with advice on action to be taken during times of distress, while travelling in India and if need be alert the authorities concerned,” the minister said.
“We have also issued guidelines to help tourists, which includes suggestions like not to move in lonely places before entering an autorickshaw or taxi and note down the number of the vehicle they are travelling in to avoid an untoward incidents.”
The Ministry of Tourism had issued guidelines on the safety and security of tourists to all state governments/Union Territories and ‘Tips for Travellers’ in September 2014.
“These guidelines were sent to the state governments/Union Territories and other relevant authorities to stress on the importance of safety and risk management, assist in identifying best practices and encourage closer cooperation for ensuring a pleasant experience to tourists. The guidelines are indicative references that may be useful to states in sharing or adopting the best practices and design their domestic measures to better protect tourists. In addition to these guidelines, ‘Tips to Travellers’ are also offered to make the visit of tourists to ‘Incredible’ India, a memorable experience,” he added.
The minister said, “We also propose to focus a lot more on e-tourism. For example, when a tourist lands in India, we plan to facilitate him/her with a guide right from his/her arrival at the airport when the journey begins. S/he can also have the option of planning out his/her complete itinerary in India, while sitting in their country. We are working on the PM’s initiative – Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. But one of our crucial and significant areas is to ensure the safety of tourists.”