The Union ministry of tourism announced a Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism on Thursday, two months later than it had promised.
The code will not be binding on any hotel, tour operator or tourism industry participant. The ministry will only promote on its website such entities that adopt the code.
In November 2009, the ministry announced that an action plan was being drawn up to ensure that a code of conduct is in place within six months. It’s been two months since the deadline expired.
Sources said that the ministry had been functioning without a joint secretary since mid-2009, when joint secretary Leena Nandan was transferred to the I&B ministry.
The code, the first of its kind, was released ahead of the Commonwealth Games by Tourism Minister Kumari Selja. It aims at strengthening safety and ensuring that Indian tourism follows international standards of safe tourism practices, applicable for both tourists and local residents.
These are guidelines to encourage tourism with respect for basic rights like dignity, safety and freedom from exploitation of both tourists and local residents, said Selja. The code also recommends stringent measures against involuntary drug abuse, manipulated and incorrect information, cultural and social intolerance that increases vulnerability to crime.
The guidelines will be applicable to all owners, suppliers, contractors and employees of the travel and tour sector including hotels, restaurants, lodges, guest houses, tour agents and entertainment establishments. Service providers will also come under its ambit.
1. All hotels and tour operators will train two people to ensure the code is followed.
2. If there is any form of sexual exploitation of women or children, hotel and other tourism industry personnel should be sensitised to report it to the police.
3. Identified victims shall not be treated as criminals. They should be identified as persons in need of care, protection and should be provided with legal, medical, psycho-social and any other assistance without delay.
4. Messages of intolerance to exploitation must be made evident in places visible to guests/clients, employees and other visitors.