Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the State Government was actively considering framing a new Tourism Policy to enhance visitor experiences by promoting lesser-known destinations of the State. The Chief Minister was presiding over a meeting of the Tourism Department here today to review various tourism projects being undertaken in the State.
He said that State Government was working to increase tourist influx in the State from three to five crore within the next five years. Nature has blessed Himachal with unprecedented grandeur and there was a need to tap this potential to the maximum to increase the footfall of the tourists.
Sh. Sukhu said that approximately 72 lakh tourists have visited Himachal by May 2023. To accurately assess tourist influx he instructed the Tourism Department to evolve a mechanism for data collection and also directed to improve the infrastructure with all basic amenities to facilitate the visitors. Tourism plays a crucial role in strengthening the economy of the State and the present State Government has been according to topmost priority for development of tourism related projects.
The Chief Minister also emphasized the importance of marketing and rationalization of staff in the tourism department to provide better facilities for tourists.
Reviewing the various projects aimed at developing Kangra district as a tourism capital, he directed the department to prepare a concept paper for further consideration. These projects include a roller skating rink in Sakoh, a golf course in Paragpur, a high-end resort in Menjha, a tourism village in Narghota and the proposed Aero City in Kangra. Apart from this, the government mulls to set up a theme-based satellite village at Naura Khad in Nagrota Bagwaan assembly segment of Kangra district, he said.
The present State Government was making earnest endeavours to improve air connectivity in the State to attract more tourists, said Sh. Sukhu. As part of these efforts, the government is working on expanding Kangra airport, constructing a greenfield airport in Nagchala, Mandi district, and building new heliports in the State. In the first phase, nine heliports are being constructed, viz: Jaskot in Hamirpur district, Rakkar and Palampur in Kangra district, Sultanpur in Chamba district, Manali in Kullu district, Jispa, Sissu, and Rangrik in Lahaul-Spiti district and Sharbo in Kinnaur district. The remaining seven heliports will be constructed in the second phase, he added.
On this occasion Principal Advisor to Chief Minister (IT & Innovations), Principal Advisor to Chief Minister (Media) Naresh Chauhan, OSD to Chief Minister, Gopal Sharma, Chief Secretary Prabodh Saxena, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Bharat Khera, Principal Secretary Tourism, Devesh Kumar, Secretary Language Arts And Culture, Rakesh Kanwar, Director Tourism Department Amit Kashyap and other officers were also present.