Punjab plans image makeover to woo tourists

Written by Swarleen Kaur | Chandigarh, Aug 28 | Updated: Aug 30 2008, 05:07am hrs
Punjab government has chalked a detailed strategy to promote the state as a tourist destination and has already begun to work towards improving the required infrastructure.

Acting on the recommendations given by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which is preparing a 15 year tourism master plan for the state, the government has started the process to select a reputed agency to design a brand image for the state as a tourist destination. The state tourism department has short-listed around 14 agencies who will give their presentations and the work will be allotted to a one agency who will present the best design.

The guidelines for the brand image will include a color palette, logo and usage guidelines, fonts, audio, features, layouts of corporate collateral such as business cards, template, letterhead, advertising templates and designs and strap lines. The process involves the expenditure around Rs 5 crore and the tourism department is also seeking financial assistance from Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) to prepare promotional campaigns.

Apart from this, consultants of Asian Development Bank (ADB) are expected to arrive in September to conduct a feasibility report in the state, to develop tourism infrastructure for two identified circuits. These circuits are Chandigarh -Ropar-Nangal- Una and Amritsar- Gurdaspur- Dharamshala.

The department is seeking aid of Rs 400 crore from the bank and the idea is to alleviate poverty through tourism. ADB is an international development finance institution whose mission is to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people.

Talking about the efforts to give fillip to tourism, secretary cum director, tourism and cultural affairs, Punjab, DP Reddy told FE , There is a move to establish Punjab tourism Authority and its Governing Council to carry out regulatory functions like registering of hotels, grading of various tourist enterprises, assisting ministry of tourism in classification of hotels. The plan also includes development of Gobindgarh Fort and Jagatjit Palace , Kapurthala. Besides our ambitious luxury train project will also take off as the department has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the ministry of Railways. Then we also intend to set up of hotels in PPP mode, Setting up of Tourist Information and Facilitation Centers at-Wagah, Amritsar (Rajasansi airport, Railways station & Bus Terminal), Madhopur, Kapurthala, Patiala, Chandigarh (Interstate Bus terminal & International airport).

To meet the manpower demand in hospitality sector, the state government is establishing Institutes of Hotel Management (IHM )and Food craft Institutes (FCI). IHM at Gurdaspur, is already functioning and IHM at Bhatinda is under construction for Rs 10 crores sanctioned under Central financial assistance. Besides IHM at Boothgarh is being developed under the PPP mode. The tourism department has also sent a proposal setting up a Food craft institute in Hoshiarpur which is under consideration of ministry of tourism, Government of India.

Besides another two IHMs are being proposed to be set up in Sirhind and Jalandhar.