A GLOBAL TOURISM DES­TI­NA­TION

7R SODFH 8WWDUDNKDQG DV RQH RI WKH OHDGLQJ JOREDO WRXULVW GHVWLQDWLRQV Sat­pal Ma­haraj, 0LQLVWHU RI 7RXULVP 8WWDUDNKDQG VKDUHV KLV H[SRVLWLRQV WR JDOYDQLVH WRXULVP LQ 8WWDUDNKDQG LQ DQ LQWHUYLHZ ZLWK La­hari Basu

Airports India - - NEWS -

Ut­tarak­hand boasts of beau­ti­ful scenery and spir­i­tu­al­ity, what new projects and im­ple­men­ta­tion are you plan­ning to come up with?

We have so much beauty here, yet, many are mi­grat­ing to the plains from the moun­tains to avail bet­ter med­i­cal and ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties, leav­ing be­hind va­cant vil­lages. My vi­sion is to re­verse this mi­gra­tion by creat­ing a win­ter des­ti­na­tion here, sim­i­lar to the world class ski­ing re­sorts of Cha­monix, France. No­body vis­its Mont Blanc in the sum­mer, whereas there are a bil­lion peo­ple in the win­ter for ski­ing. Here in Garhwal, we have Auli and many more beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tions, which we must work upon. With our four sec­tions of tourism--ad­ven­ture tourism, re­li­gious tourism, yoga and well­ness tourism, and culi­nary tourism—we are at­tempt­ing to make Ut­tarak­hand a global tourism des­ti­na­tion. To make con­veyance eas­ier in the ter­rain we have plans for build­ing rope-way con­nec­tiv­ity within the state. We are also con­duct­ing a dhol com­pe­ti­tion for which about 1240 dhol vadaks have al­ready reg­is­tered to par­tic­i­pate this time. If we get a reg­is­tra­tion of about 1500 then we’ll en­ter the Guin­ness World Records beat­ing the 1365 dhols played at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s event in New Delhi.

Ac­cord­ing to lat­est re­ports, there has been a 13 per cent in­crease in the foot­falls of in­ter­na­tional tourists in In­dia over the past six years. How are you plan­ning to at­tract them to Ut­tarak­hand?

Peo­ple are in­ter­ested in know­ing more about the Val­ley of Flow­ers. We want to de­velop home-stays. If the for­eign­ers can come and re­side in ru­ral ar­eas they can ex­pe­ri­ence the life­style of au­then­tic In­dia. We will also give star rat­ings of the fa­cil­i­ties they pro­vide and help the hosts come up with in­no­va­tive ideas. Since there are no is­sues of ter­ror­ism here, we’ll en­cour­age more peo­ple to visit the moun­tains, es­pe­cially in the win­ter to ex­pe­ri­ence snow­fall and ski­ing.

How are you plan­ning to pro­mote ru­ral tourism, given the con­nec­tiv­ity is­sues among home-stays and re­sorts from tourist spots?

The Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sarak Yo­jna (PMGSY) scheme is not be­ing im­ple­mented fully since we can­not defor­est the jun­gle to make roads. If our Chief Min­is­ter takes the ini­tia­tive of an­nounc­ing a Sam­park Yo­jna in­stead of Sarak Yo­jna, we will be able to con­nect places through rope­ways with­out de­stroy­ing the for­est, like they have in La Paz where they have con­nected the en­tire sat­u­rated area with rope­ways.

What plans do you have to en­cour­age peo­ple to take up ad­ven­ture sports?

We are plan­ning to de­velop ad­ven­ture sports like paraglid­ing, para­sail­ing, zorb­ing, and also in­tro­duce a glass sub­ma­rine which will en­able tourists to view the un­der­wa­ter town in the Tehri Jheel. We have plans of hot air bal­loon ser­vices as well. With these, the hills will pro­vide po­ten­tial em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties to those who are mi­grat­ing. I was amazed to see the Garhwali’s ser­vic­ing and ef­fi­ciency at the he­li­pads near Si­ta­pur for ser­vices to Kedar­nath.

How would you pro­mote ‘ghost tourism’?

For that we have spread the word among peo­ple; if they can iden­tify such haunted places we will try to pro­mote them. We are also plan­ning to utilise the hot wa­ter springs into our tourism pro­mo­tion.

In the com­ing years there will be a boom in the ho­tel in­dus­try here. What plans do you have for skill de­vel­op­ment?

We are es­tab­lish­ing an IHM here to in­crease the po­ten­tial of the ho­tel in­dus­try. We will in­tro­duce train­ing cen­tres for Panchkarma, spas, Yoga, and Karamkand. Many for­eign lands with the In­dian di­as­pora, lack enough Brah­mins to con­duct pu­jas and ya­jna; our pun­dits trained here can also be­gin to work there.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.