Visakhapatnam needs tourism police station

It records growth in tourist footfalls

November 01, 2017 08:35 am | Updated 08:40 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

 A wonderful rock formation on the beach opposite Thotlakonda in Visakhapatnam

A wonderful rock formation on the beach opposite Thotlakonda in Visakhapatnam

Harassment of tourists at secluded places can mar the image of a city.

The harassment can range from passing snide remarks, photographing the tourists without their consent and pestering them for money to cheating them by bloating the room tariff and transport fare charges.

The proposal for establishment of a Tourism Police Station, which has been hanging fire for the past few years, assumes greater significance with Visakhapatnam recording a steady growth in tourist footfalls, both domestic and international.

Though the problem of harassment and cheating of tourists is relatively low in Visakhapatnam, even isolated incidents can mar the image.

The Buddhist heritage sites dotting the city and the North Andhra region, the pristine beaches, the Kambalakonda wildlife sanctuary, the cool climes of Lammasingi and Araku, the ancient Simhachalam temple and Kondakarla Ava Lake near Anakapalle are some of the attractions drawing tourists from far and near.

The tourist arrivals in Visakhapatnam district, in the first eight months of the calendar year (2017), are: domestic – 1,27,92,100 and foreign 61,018 compared to 1,21,39,640 and 47,837 respectively during the corresponding period in 2016.

“The policemen at these special police stations are bound to record the complaints of tourists and investigate the case within 24 hours. These policemen maintain a database of the tourists by taking their mobile numbers and other details to keep them posted of upcoming tourist festivals. There are only two tourism police stations in India, one each in Kerala and Goa,” according to a travel agent.

“Safety and security are vital for drawing more tourists. The tourism police personnel should be identifiable by their uniform,” president of the Vizagapatam Chamber of Commerce and Industry A.V. Monish Row opines.

Sense of security

“Tourists, especially foreigners, attach top priority to safety and security and the availability of an exclusive police station to look after their needs, gives them a sense of security. There was not a single case of cheating of tourists reported in Goa during the last five years,” says Murali of Travel iQ, which had bagged an award recently from the Government of Andhra Pradesh as the ‘Best Emerging Travel Company Promoting AP Tourism’.

“We have asked the District Collector to allocate a site for the Tourism Police Station at Sagar Nagar. The proposal has been sent to the State government and is pending approval,” Joint Commissioner of Police Nagendra Kumar told The Hindu , when his attention was drawn to the issue.

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