New Delhi — The Ministry of Tourism will announce the establishment of the Medical and Wellness Tourism Board and its functioning on the occasion of World Tourism Day on 27 September 2015. The Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma made this announcement while interacting live on the social media with BBC Hindi in New Delhi recently.
Dr Sharma said that there will now be a focussed approach to Medical Tourism, and all the information will be made available on a single portal. The minister disclosed that information dissemination will also take place through the 14 overseas offices of the Ministry of Tourism.
In reply to a question, the minister said that the safety of tourists is the uppermost concern of the government. In order to ensure safety and security of tourists especially the women tourists, the Ministry of Tourism has set up the ‘Incredible India Helpline’ service, he explained. The service is available on toll-free telephone number 1800111363 or on a short code 1363 for tourists.
At present, the helpline is functioning in Hindi and English and soon the Tourism Ministry will introduce 12 international languages for it, the minister informed. The Ministry of Tourism has set up the Paryatak Police (Tourist Police) with the help of states for the security of tourists.
Dr Sharma said that, earlier, the tourism sector was not being given its rightful place as a key player in the economic growth of the country. The government is now laying emphasis on the economic benefits of the tourism sector and is working on increasing the share of India in world tourism as well as increasing the foreign exchange earnings and employment through tourism.
In a live Q&A session in the “Public Speak” programme of the All India Radio last evening, Dr Sharma warned the travel agents/tour operators/ touts etc who are using the logo of Incredible India or name of Ministry of Tourism without permission. He said the Ministry has initiated action against such tour operators and travel agents for indulging in illegal activity and cheating the foreign and domestic tourists. The Ministry of Tourism will do everything to curb the touts& to prevent the cheating of tourists, Dr Sharma added.
Secretary, Tourism, Shri Vinod Zutshi, while participating in the Public Speak Programme gave details about the government’s plan to promote eco- tourism with the help of states to generate employment in the rural areas.