Uttarakhand is trying all possible ways to lure tourists back and allay their fears after floods and landslides ravaged the state last year. From 50 per cent discounts during the festive season, free food and accommodation on pilgrimage routes to increased number of helipads for emergency transportation and biometric registration, the State Tourism Department has promised all possible support and cooperation.
Speaking exclusively to Financial Express Online, Dinesh Dhanai, tourism minister, Government of Uttarakhand, said, "Be it the snow-capped peaks of Garhwal Himalayas, Valley of Flowers at Chamoli, winter sports at Auli, heavy snowfall at Bageshwar, Nainital or Mussoorie, we want to showcase the breathtaking locations of our state."
Dhanai was in Kolkata recently to take part in a tourism expo held in the city. Dhanai added, “Last year's natural disaster is now a thing of the past. The government of Uttarakhand with the support and co-operation of all has taken up the massive work of re-building and rehabilitation in the state. Our government is trying hard to revive the tourism sector, which is a major revenue earner for the state.”
Dhanai said, “Bengal is an important market for us and so, we are back here this year specially to take them back to Kedarnath, Chaar-Dham, Rishikesh and Hardwar. There has been an expected decline in tourist footfall in Chaar Dham following last year's flash floods.”
According to an official of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants in Uttarakhand, tourist hotspots like Nainital and Mussorrie, too, have received lesser number of tourists compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Tourism has nominated veteran actor, Victor Banerjee as the brand ambassador for its 'Bird Watching Programme'. Commenting on the development, Banerjee said, "Uttarakhand is a paradise for bird-watching and has the potential to attract a large number of bird-watchers owing to the large diversity of bird species here."
Joy Roy Choudhury