Dhumal announces tourism initiatives at investor meet in Delhi

New Delhi: Addressing an investment meet organised by Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation at hotel Lalit in New Delhi yesterday Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said the government would request Railways ministry to start heritage trains on Shimla-Kalka and Pathankot-Jogindernagar narrow gauge railway line for tourists visiting states.

He said 10 more helipads would be set up in Sirmour, Kinnaur and Mandi districts which would increase the total strength of helipads in the state to 70 and added that ‘heli-taxis’ services in the state would be started soon.

The Chief Minister said the government has finalised the three prestigious heli taxi operators and a formal MoU would be signed between the government and operators within a month. He said in the initial stage all district headquarters will be connected with this service.

Mr Dhumal disclosed that the government is planning to set up golf courses at industrial township of Baddi and tourist resort at Manali under Public-private-partnership(PPP) mode and offered land and other facilities for private sector to set up golf courses.

Inviting industrial houses to set up hotel training institutes in the state, he said important religious and tourist places situated at heights would be connected through ropeways and added that ropeways at Solang nallah would be made operational till December next.

He informed that letter of intent has been issued for setting up ropeways at Palchan and Bijli Mahadev in Kullu district while the work on ropeways at Baba Balaknath and Palampur is in progress. The detailed project report of ropeway between Anandpur sahib and Nnaina devi has been prepared.

Mr Dhumal said folk tales of all the important temples and religous places would be compiled and published to preserve it for future generations and also present it to visiting tourists.

He said in the first phase Kullu district administration has been asked to compile and collect the folk tales and heritage background of all the 390 deities of the districts.

He announced that Himachal tourism would participate in all the tourism fairs and festivals in India and abroad to showcase its rich cultural heritage and promote the state at international level to increase the flow of the international tourists.

He also announced Boat Cruise at 20 km long Chamera lake in Chamba district to be started soon and added that six boats would be plied in the initial phase in November next.

While making a presentation Director Tourism and Civil Aviation Arun Sharma said the state had registered 15 per cent tourism growth during worldwide recession period also and added that tourism sector contribution to the GDP would be increased from present 8.5 to 10 per cent in next two years.

Mr Sharma said state has shortfall of 15,000 bed capacity in the peak season and invited the private sector for investment in hospitality sector to meet this demand.

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