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India to fight “unsafe for women” image

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Country to restore confidence among foreign tourists

India’s tourism ministry says it will roll out an international PR campaign to fight the country’s negative image as a destination unfriendly to female travellers. It wants to restore confidence among foreign tourists.

First in this two-prong strategy will be a high-level meeting of the country’s tourism officials and private-sector delegates to discuss how to improve the safety of foreign tourists. According to a ministry source, the meeting will take place within the next two months.

The ministry is joining hands with public-private partnership body Experience India Society to revamp India’s international image through a PR campaign to be launched in Germany, the UK, Japan, the US and other markets.

“I am aware that the tourism industry in India is concerned about the safety and security of tourists, especially women,” tourism minister Shripad Yesso Naik said. “It is one of our topmost priorities to address this concern. We will soon work out a PR strategy to create a positive image of the country.”

The campaign could include fam-trips for media and single female travellers, as well as advertising.

But industry experts say more needs to be done. “A mere PR plan won’t help the cause,” Rajan Sehgal, managing director of Arrivals Air Services, said. “We need to have all hotels having women-only floors, and to sensitise our taxi drivers and tour guides towards respecting women travellers. Apart from male security personnel, we also need female security personnel so that female travellers feel comfortable.”

TTG Asia

[photo courtesy Ministry of Tourism, India]

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