The Himachal Pradesh government rolled out a mega tourism plan on Thursday to optimise the state’s tourism potential, improve tourism product and create additional infrastructure, including 75 new parking slots at major tourists towns and construction of toilets at all tourist-centric destinations for the benefit of tourists.
State’s pioneering ‘Home-stay’ scheme, eco-tourism and rural tourism will also be linked with other departments to create stakes for locals and also different agencies to attract tourists, both domestic and foreigners.
At a meeting with stake-holders, including major government departments, State Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy said beside focusing on dispersal of tourism activity to new areas, including rural areas, the government will invest Rs 86 crore on creation of infrastructure. Of this, Rs 52 crore has already been utilised and all targets will be met by December 31 to fully utilise the funds given by the Ministry of Tourism.
“Tourism Director Arun Sharma, who was in Delhi a few days ago, received sanction for Rs 34 crore to improve infrastructure in Manali. The project will enrich and upgrade existing facilities at most favoured destinations,” Sharma told mediapersons after the meeting.
Three mega parking projects will be taken up at Dalhousie, Dharamshala and Shimla for Rs 4.52 crore. Another initiative is creation of wayside amenities at 40 places through out the state, including information centres, cafeterias, clock rooms. Land have been identified for this purpose and work has begun at seven places.
Roy claimed that tourism had already grown by 10.1 percent in the past one year with 1.5 crore tourists visiting the state.
Efforts are being made to promote places at Masoor heritage site, where it can also been linked with Home stay - which is one of the most successful and innovative tourism promotion drive for rural areas - in collaboration with the Railways.
The chief secretary admitted that some of the over-promoted places like Rohtang Pass and Kufri had to be assessed as arrivals at those places was beyond the carrying capacity of the places, and posed serious threat to the environment and ecology.
“The government is contemplating measures to divert the rush of tourists to new place and impose certain regulatory measures to prevent degradation of the ecology and environment at snow-clad Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft) and Kufri (Shimla). Tourism beyond the carrying capacity of the places cannot be allowed at any cost at environmentally pro-active states. One of the measure can be impose a certain