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Tuesday, Sep 14, 2004

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Oberoi, Kuoni to train Mumbai policemen on tourism beat

Tunia Cherian George

Mumbai , Sept. 13

HERE is a private sector initiative to train the police force to ensure safety and security of tourists. The thrust is to make tourists feel at home in a big city such as Mumbai.

Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, along with leading tour operator Kuoni Travel Group, has organised a day-long training programme for Mumbai's Tourism Police. Policemen were taught on several key English phrases, how to read body and sign language and how to response to queries and complaints of tourists.

The tourism police is drawn from Mumbai Police force. Tourism police wing was set up in 2000. For both Kuoni and Oberoi, it is part of their attempt to make the city a better destination for their clients, said an official.

As part of the training programme, the 70-strong police division would also be educated on the history associated with various monuments and landmarks in the city, with inputs provided by the India Tourism Department here.

"The requirements of tourists are slightly different from that of the local populace. The current exercise is aimed at improving the experience of the tourist in the city. The police force will patrol seven prominent spots that are frequented by tourists. Tourism police kiosks have also been set up at important locations so that police are able to respond to tourist requirements on-the-spot," said the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, Mr A.N. Roy.

According to him, the force was being trained to anticipate problems that tourists might face. He added that the 70 policemen who have been selected, would be retained on the tourism beat for a year, and it was also proposed to give them refresher courses at the end of three months.

The Kuoni Group has provided six jeeps for the initiative, besides sponsoring seven kiosks at important tourist spots in the city. According to Mr Zubin Karkaira, Deputy CEO and Head - Business Development, the initiative would not only improve the experience of tourists on holiday, but also of businessmen passing through the city. Staff from the Oberoi are conducting the training programme for the police personnel. The session was held in the training department of the hotel.

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