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India prepares for greeting guests like gods
Ritesh Gupta, New Delhi

Ritesh Gupta, New Delhi  
(27th Jan 2005)

THE Ministry of Tourism in India has launched a three-year campaign Athiti Devo Bhava (Sanskrit phrase meaning to treat guests like gods) to train the country on how to extend a warm welcome to tourists and sensitise people to India's rich cultural heritage.

The government will provide training and orientation to taxi drivers, guides, immigration officers, tourist police, restaurant owners and anyone interacting directly with the tourists.

Minister of state for tourism, Ms Renuka Chowdhury, said: "The campaign will be based on seven points - Sensitisation, Screening, Induction, Training & Orientation, Certification and Feedback of key stakeholder of the Tourism Industry in India. The campaign will be rolled out in a phased manner over a period of three years. In the first phase Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan, Goa and Aurangabad would be covered.

During the first six months, 2600 people will be trained and given certificates and the logo of Atithi Devo Bhava' to display in taxis, restaurants or installation." She added the campaign will focus on culture and heritage preservation, cleanliness, hospitality and bringing about attitudinal shift among the masses.

Meanwhile, the government has relaunched, featuring regional history, geography and lifestyle information and has Spanish, French and German versions.

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