Govt Preparing Law For Adventure Tourism Safety: Official

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NEW DELHI, Apr 2: The Government is coming out with a law for adventure tourism safety which will have provisions for constitution of state level safety bodies, penalties for violations and a requisite insurance scheme, a senior official said on Sunday.
The draft model law — Adventure Tourism (Monitoring and Regulation Act) — has been distributed to states and feedbacks have been filed by six states so far, the tourism ministry official said. The states include Punjab, Uttarakhand and Tripura, he said. ”Tourism is a state subject but through this legislation the Centre wants to give direction to the states to follow safety practices,” he said.
Explaining the various facets of the draft, the official said it includes various provisions of constitution of adventure tourism safety division, penalties for violations and a requisite insurance.
The draft contains provision of the ”Constitution of Adventure Tourism Safety Division” under the Directorate of Tourism by the state government.
It also has provisions for an ”Annual Safety Audit and Physical Inspection” of the Adventure Activity Service Providers (land/water/air) and the setting up of mechanism by the Directorate of Tourism.
Under institutional framework, the draft also gives powers to the government to declare any area in the state to be an Adventure Tourism Area for the purpose of development, promotion, regulation and management of Adventure Tourism and related infrastructure and services.
The draft bill also proposes identification and marking of areas where tourism activities (land, air and water) are possible and should be allowed, and also prohibits the conduct of activities apart from the notified area.
There is also provisions of specially trained guides/instructors for the promotion of inclusive tourism and especially cater to requirements of the persons with disabilities and women.
This draft legislation focuses on the establishment of risk management cell which will cover the reporting of accidents/incidents in a prescribed format and publish such data on annual basis.
The draft bill proposes provisions for refusal to register adventure tour operators and the adventure activity service providers on the basis of the grounds: offender under Indian Penal Code 1860 due to involvement in an criminal act, owner/proprietor declared insolvent by the court and owner/proprietor does not hold appropriate licence.
The penalties for violations will be in the form of warnings, monetary sanctions, cancellation & suspension of registration and even imprisonment, according to the draft bill.
The government is giving a major push to adventure tourism and promoting it at the second G-20 tourism working group meeting. Tourism minister G Kishan Reddy said India’s topography provides for an ideal destination for sustainable adventure tourism. ”We have a 7,000-km coastline, 70 per cent of the Himalayas, about 700 kilometres of rivers, sand desert and cold desert in Ladakh…all of which provide opportunities for a variety of adventure activities for both domestic and foreign tourists,” Reddy said on Saturday.
”India is looking to explore the full potential of adventure tourism keeping in mind sustainability and opportunities for livelihood for local communities,” he added. He made the comments during the second Tourism Working Group Meeting that is being held in Darjeeling and Siliguri from April 1 to 3. (Agencies)