UTTARAKHAND DEVELOPING DREAM DESTINATIONS
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What major steps are you initiating to improve Uttarakhand tourism?
Currently, tourists are highly skewed towards religious tourism which has been thriving in Uttarakhand. Other sectors such as winter tourism and adventure sports need to be further developed. Adventure tourism can create a cradle for the growth of regional tourism, which is currently available in very few places due to inadequate infrastructure and limited operation facilities. We are first planning to build up a better infrastructure and accommodation facility, and only then will we go ahead with the rest of our plans.
According to our Chief Minister’s directions to create a new destination in every district we are focussing on aggressive land aggregation policy so that each destination can be attributed to a themed idea.
How do you plan to solve the connectivity issues in the state?
An all weather road which has been sanctioned by the Prime Minister is already in the making. The deadline for completion of the Rs 12000 crore project is 2020. A similar all-weather road is going to connect the Kumaon region with the Pancheswar Dam, which is a 4000 MW hydropower project—a joint venture of Nepal and India.
There are also plans of connecting all destinations of the Char Dham by train routes. The state already has 76 helipads, which indicates that conveyance by helicopter is going to become an important mode of transportation. To improve air connectivity post the Kedarnath disaster there are ongoing talks regarding an extension of the Dehradun airport. There are three upcoming airports in Gaucha, Pithoragarh and Chinyalisaur as well. Apart from that, we are coming up with 4-5 ropeway projects which would also ease travel.
Have you tied up with any foreign travel organisation to promote Uttarakhand tourism?
We are planning to organise a travel mart in the beginning of 2018. Here we hope to invite all tour operators from across the globe. We will also call the Indian tour operators to Uttarakhand in an attempt to facilitate B2B meetings so that more tie ups can be gradually facilitated over the years.
What security measure have you planned for tourists?
Uttarakhand has never encountered the pitfalls of terrorism; the only security threat comes from natural disasters. After the Kedarnath disaster the state disaster management department has come up with a strong disaster management mechanism, and we have a dedicated SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) following the likes of NDRF. A lot of manpower has been trained for rescue operations; the meteorology prediction is also being regularly tracked and updated to ascertain maximum accuracy.