Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja has assured senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Mani Shankar Aiyar of compliance with the code of conduct for safe and honourable tourism during the Commonwealth Games scheduled next month.
Responding to Mr. Aiyar's letter in which he had expressed fear over the possibility of an increase in sex-related tourism during the event, Ms. Selja has written back to him saying that his concerns had been taken up with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Lt. Governor of Delhi to ensure these were addressed.
Sources in the Tourism Ministry told The Hindu that Mr. Aiyar had been informed that the code had been voluntarily adopted by many stakeholders of the hospitality and tourism industry, and it was hoped that it would be implemented in letter and spirit.
The Centre has also constituted a working group to draft a declaration to be signed by various stakeholders to implement the code during the mega event.
The declaration is expected to be adopted on September 27, also observed as the World Tourism Day, when a pledge will also be signed by the stakeholders. The draft of the declaration will incorporate the commitment made by each service provider.
Once the code is signed, it will be the duty of each organisation to undertake a written commitment from all its regular employees to abide by it. Further, it is also proposed that the agencies and firms who are vendors, suppliers and customers to the stakeholder organisations, will also be covered and asked to undertake such commitment to abide by the code. These organisations include those of guides, taxi drivers, guest houses, hotels, restaurants and even the police force. The childline services, too, have been expanded and strengthened to check child abuse.
In touch with MEA
The Ministry is also in touch with the External Affairs Ministry to make inbound tourists aware of the code, and rules and regulations related to honourable tourism. It hopes that the External Affairs Ministry will print appropriate messages on the disembarkation card as well as the visa forms.
To take the code forward, the Tourism Minister will write to the Chief Ministers and State Tourism Ministers giving details of the code and actions which need to be taken to have wide-scale acceptance, implementation and awareness generation.