With a budgetary allocation of Rs 30 crore in 2016-17, and at least 20 new tourist information centres and a multilingual helpline planned, the tourism sector in the capital will see a major overhaul in the coming months.
What are the problems faced by international tourists?
We are aware that there are gangs soliciting tourists at the airports and overcharging foreign tourists. There are fake information centres and fake agents posing as ‘Incredible India’ agents who misguide tourists. I have also learnt about cases of these agents telling tourists that there is a curfew in the entire city and taking them out of Delhi. About two months ago, I had written a letter to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, requesting him to hold a joint meeting, along with the police commissioner, to discuss problems faced by foreign tourists.
What is the condition of tourist information centres in Delhi?
There are five tourist information centres that are in need of an upgrade. They are located at such places that people don’t even know about them. The project ‘Brand Delhi’ that we plan to launch by August will include the upgrade of these tourist centres, and at least 20 new and improved tourist centres will also be set up. The tourist information centres should be such that people feel comfortable approaching them or waiting inside. We are planning to set up a tourist facilitation centre at the airport and at major tourist spots.
What are the facilities the government plans to provide to aid foreign tourists?
Our website is being developed continuously. We want to set up a resource centre and a multilingual helpline for foreign tourists in Delhi. We plan to revive this force. To help tourists facing language barriers, we plan to involve translators and provide certified tourist guides who speak different languages.
What measures do you propose to take to prevent harassment of tourists?
We have joined forces with industry experts, the CII and are designing a module for training taxi drivers in courtesy, language, awareness and sensitisation towards foreign tourists. While most complaints I am informed about pertain to harassment and cheating, if there are incidents of racism, there should be no tolerance towards them and exemplary action should be taken.