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Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism Unveiled

The Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism was unveiled by the Union Minister for Tourism, Kumari Selja recently at a small ceremony at Delhi’s prestigious Ashok hotel. The Minister informed the audience that the code of ethics was developed by UNWTO earlier. India’s Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism was developed by the Ministry of Tourism in association with PATA India Chapter, Save the Children – India, United Nations Office on Drugs & Crimes (UNODC) and Equitable Tourism Option (EQUATIONS) with a specific objective to:

(i)   Encourage tourism activities to be undertaken with respect for basic rights like dignity, safety and freedom from exploitation of both tourist and    local residents.

(ii)   Aid the prevention of prostitution, sex tourism and forms of sexual exploitations in tourism, particularly in women and children

(iii)   To enhance the prevention of forced or involuntary drug use, manipulated and incorrect information, cultural and social intolerance which could increase vulnerability to crime.

A series of workshops with stakeholders have been planned to develop a plan of action which will be aimed at widespread dissemination and adoption of this code.

At the function, the Minister, who also felicitated the 16-year old Arjun Vajpai and Mamta Sodha — the two young mountaineers who have recently scaled Mount Everest, said that both of them had demonstrated that nothing is impossible to achieve in life and had done India proud with their achievement of summiting the world’s highest peak. She pointed out that Arjun’s achievement at such a young age was highly commendable as was Mamta’s. Coming from a rural background, her spirit and pursuit of excellence were very laudable.

Kumari Selja highly recommended to the schools and other higher educational institutions to make programmes in adventure activities an important part of the curriculum to help shape the personalities of students with intrinsic traits like selfdiscipline, endurance, selfconfidence and pride for the nation. She further pointed out that the Ministry has been actively promoting development of adventure tourism in the country.

She told the audience that the Indian Institute of Skiing & Mountaineering at Gulmarg has been made fully operational since January, 2009\ with its own building and modern training facilities for adventure sports. The Ministry has recently sanctioned an amount of Rs. 73.7 lakh to the institute to run adventure courses. The Minister further revealed that the National Institute of Water Sports in Goa is being upgraded with latest equipment for training in water sports activities. In Jammu and Kashmir (Leh Area), 104 additional peaks have been recently opened up to climbers, subject to stipulations and clearances from the State Government, Ministry of Home Affairs and other concerned agencies. The Ministry is also working with the Indian Mountaineering Federation and Adventure Tour Operators Associations to position India as an adventure destination.