Speaking on the occasion, the state tourism minister, Mrs. Amrita Rawat said that the full potential of tourism in the state would be tapped through diversification and development of infrastructure facilities. Mrs. Rawat said that if countries like Mauritius and Switzerland could survive only on the income of tourism, Uttarakhand also could do so, with its scenic beauty, holy shrines with mythological associations, world class picnic spots and high class adventure sports destinations. She unveiled the projects which were being undertaken to boost tourism in the state, with the state’s own resources and the central assistance of Rs. 160 crore.
At present the priority of the state government is the development of tourism mega circuit, including the 42 km long lake along the Tehri dam, which envisages development of the lake on the pattern of Switzerland and DalLake in Kashmir, having all kinds of attractions for tourists, like walking, cycling, boating with Shikaras and sailing by cruise. An adventure tourism academy will also be set up in Tehri. There are also plans to upgrade the existing ropeway services and introducing new such services at places like Purnagiri and Yamnotri.
The speakers said that a new dimension of the new tourism policy would be developing village tourism to showcase the rustic life, the folk traditions and the indigenous cuisines for the domestic and international tourists. One of the thrust areas will be a push to adventure sports, like paragliding, rock climbing, scuba diving, rafting and kayaking at places like Rishikesh-Shivpuri, Ranipur Jhal in Haridwar, Auli, Uttarkashi etc. The private sector will also be involved in the construction of hotels, lodges and renovation of temples, heritage sites and guest houses. A proposal to start night safari, like that in Africa, in Ram Nagar is also on the anvil. The speakers said that Uttarakhand was poised for a big leap in tourism sector and the thrust of the new projects was to bring the state in tourism sector at par with Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Gujrat and Madhya Pradesh.
A website www.uttarakhandtourism.gov.in, showcasing the places of tourism & pilgrimage, the road, rail and air connectivity to these destinations, main boarding and lodging places, travel agencies, weather conditions etc to facilitate the forays of the domestic & foreign tourists in the state, was also launched on the occasion.
A seminar was also organized to mark the occasion. Jyotsna Sitling, the project director of Aajivika, , A.K.Sharma from UREDA, Mohit Agarwal from the Asian Adventure, Adesh Chauhan, the M.L.A. from the Ranipur BHEL and Pradeep Batra, the M.L.A. from Roorkee highlighted the strategy to develop various dimensions of tourism in the state, while C.M.Bhandari, the former ambassador & Sandeep Sahni presented their models on ‘rural tourism’ and ‘new technology in hotel management’ respectively. An attractive cultural programme was also presented in the function.