Ministry to start tourism helpline for foreigners

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 01, 2013 19:40 hrs

The tourism ministry has decided to launch a multilingual helpline for foreign travellers visiting India.

The move comes on the heels of the recent gang-rape that shook the nation and also raised safety concerns among foreign tourists.

A travel advisory was also issued by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the light of protests that followed on December 29. The advisory said, “Fearing large-scale protests following the death in Singapore of the gang rape victim…. You should, therefore, avoid the city centre until the situation becomes clearer, and be careful to avoid any demonstrations, which could turn violent.”

Subhash Goyal, president, Indian Association of Tour Operators, said: “The shameful and tragic incident against a girl in our country has brought a very bad name to India. The helpline will improve the image and confidence of international tourists that India is a safer place.”

Yesterday, K Chiranjeevi, minister of state for tourism, after a meeting with the tourism secretary and members of IATO, decided to set up the 24-hour helpline.

The primary objective of the proposed helpline would be to provide tourism-related information to free, independent travellers.

“The toll-free helpline would be accessible from everywhere in India and should start functioning in the new calendar year,” a statement from tourism ministry said.

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