While presiding over a review meeting of the Forest Department late evening on Monday the Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu told that eco-tourism activities were being carried out in 72 Forest Rest Houses and 22 eco-parks in the state and stressed the need for expediting the master plan to conduct eco-tourism activities at the 93 proposed sites.
“Eco-tourism is a sustainable form of tourism that promotes the conservation of natural resources and local culture while providing visitors with unique experiences. By promoting eco-tourism, the state can showcase its rich biodiversity, scenic landscapes and cultural heritage. This can attract tourists who are interested in responsible and sustainable travel, generating revenue and employment opportunities for the local population” the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister said that eco-tourism can greatly benefit the State, as Himachal has immense potential in this sector and the Forest Department must make earnest efforts to harness the potential to make the most of it. Besides it will help to create employment opportunities for local youths and add to the economy of the State.
Sh. Sukhu said that to fully realise the potential of eco-tourism, a comprehensive master plan was being developed, with the aim of expanding eco-tourism activities to the proposed sites across the State. This plan will likely involve developing infrastructure, ensuring visitors’ safety, preserving natural habitats and collaborating with local communities, he added.
Principal Advisor (IT and Innovations), Gokul Butail, MLAs, Devender Bhutto, Chaitanya Sharma, Ashish Sharma, HP Forest Development Corporation Vice Chairman, Kehar Singh Khachi, Principal Secretary Forest, Onkar Chand Sharma, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Rajeev Kumar, Managing Director, Pawnesh Kumar, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Nagesh Guleria and other senior officers of the department were also present in the meeting.