Tour unit speaks up for women

Subhro Niyogi,TNN | Sep 21, 2014, 12.23 AM IST

KOLKATA: ‘Respect Women’. That is the message that the travel trade fraternity want to send out to Kolkatans in the wake of repeated cases of rape, molestation and ill-treatment of women in the city.

Members of Travel Agents’ Federation of India (TAFI), a collective of representatives from the travel trade industry, has decided to wear badges with the message ‘Respect Women’ imprinted on them for world tourism day on September 27. TAFI will distribute the badges at the airport, airline offices, hotels, passport offices and other trade partners.

“Tourism is a very sensitive industry. Even when stray incidents of rape, molestation and violence are reported in the global media, it creates a fear among foreigners. When the Delhi Nirbhaya rape case happened, tourists — women in particular — became wary. Kolkata, too, had its share of unsavory incidents. Not only are they bad for society, they are terrible for tourism. Now that we have great infrastructure an the airport and the government is keen to promote tourism, the issue of women’s safety needs to be addressed,” said B Das of City Travel, who is also TAFI secretary.

Kolkata has of late become tainted. “The city is not perceived to be safe anymore. There is apprehension among travellers. We feel there is an urgent need to address the issue and act positive,” said TAFI eastern India chairman Anil Punjabi.

He hopes the badges will help sensitize the behaviour of citizens towards women. “People from Kolkata love to travel. And we do so to places that are considered safe. But it should be a matter of concern that the tourist count is heavily skewed in favour of outgoing numbers. If five people from Bengal go out to other states, only one tourist arrives in Bengal. We need to correct the mismatch and that can only happen if people feel safe on visit Kolkata,” Punjabi explained.

With the airport infrastructure ready to welcome more passengers that currently fly into Kolkata, the travel trade fraternity hopes to rejuvenate the industry to clock growth.

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