Announces New Tourism Policy :

Himachal Pradesh, since attaining state hood in 1971, has adopted an approach of balanced inter-sectoral development to that the goal of raising the standard of living and overall prosperity of the people of the state is achieved. The strategy to achieve these objectives has yielded positive results. The rapid agricultural and horticultural development of the state has contributed significantly to the economy and to the rise in the standard of living of the people. The food grain productionin the state today is more than 14 lakh tonnes per annum. The vegetable production is about 5 lakh tonnes per annum. Fruit production has also increased many fold and is around 5 lakhs per tonnes per annum. Today the percentage ofthe population living below the poverty line is only about 9% against the national average of 30%. In the power sector which has been identified as a thrust area for development, the state today is generation of hydroelectric power. In addition about 2000 MW of additional hydroelectric power will be generated by 2000 AD. The motorable road length in the state has increased to more than 19000 kms. and, with other roads, today connects more than 7521 villages of the state. The literacy percentage of the state is now 63.86% which is higher than the national average. There are 37 technical training institutions including one REC functioning in the state. The tourism sector also has potential for further growth as is evident from the largenumber of tourist visiting the state.

The government of Himachal Pradesh has announced the states new tourism policy to enhance, improve and develop the tourism potential of the state. The officials highlighted certain areas and aspects of Himachal tourism, for which the required policies have been proposed, promoted and practiced by the state. The director of tourism for Himachal Pradesh, Sh. G.S.Bali, mentioned that the policy put into practice incorporates certain suggestions received from various quarters.

The Government has announced an important Package aimed at attracting investment in the tourism sector so that over 1 lakh jobs are created. A 10 year tax holiday for entertainment units has been announced. The attraction of the State is tribal areas, pilgrim centres, mountaineering a winter sports. Deferred payment of luxury tax on now hotels and tourism units has been announced by Government.

The demand from travel agents and hotels regarding the charge of luxury tax on the actuals rather than the rack rates has been enforced, where the department of excise has already issued a notification for the same.

The Himachal tourism horities are also prepared to undertake most of the correspondence on the industry’s behalf. A complete abolishment of entertainment tax is also on the agenda. Heritage walks are also being promoted at Shimla, while there are plans to develop other virgin areas around Shimla. The building of an airport at Pathankot is under consideration with the agreements from the defence ministry which may take upto two years to be functional, mentioned Bali.

Himachal tourism has brought transport tax on line with the national policy. A number of travel agents and hoteliers requested the tourism authorities to start a local bus service network between Dalhousie and Dharamashala, which would reduce their package costs and prove to be beneficial. Some agents have proposed the development of the Chamera lake area which can be an ideal spot for water sport activities. Serious advertising campaigns, mentioned some of the travel agents. Officials further mentioned that there would be an additional ropeway system at Palampur which would be operational in sometime as a memorandum of understanding has been signed with a private company for the same.

Opportunities for private sector participation have been spelt out. These include: Investment in HRD, setting up of hotels and tourism services.

Facilities such as amusement parks, ropeways herbal gardens, health resort etc. A special incentive package has been proposed for development of satellite town & Cyber City with investment for Rs. 100 crores by NRIs and foreign investors. With a view to promote new unexposed of the State, HPTDC is going to set up its complexes of Keylong, Kaza, Sangla, Shoja, Kalpa, Khadrala, Kharapathar, Chindi Bharmour, Chanshal and Naggar castrel. To encourage the private entrepreneurs, the Department of Tourism has selected various sites all over the State, which will be offered to these entrepreneurs in private sector. Similarly, the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Himachal Pradesh has identified twelve potential places for setting up of aerial ropeways in the State of Himachal Pradesh.

The Department of Tourism is providing training in various adventure sports activities in the Pradesh, like water sports, paragliding, River Rafting, Trekking guide E.D.P's are being conducted in various parts of the State for encouraging local youth to take up tourism as profession.




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