Wah Taj! But there’s more to UP than this

Seek­ing to boost tourist inflow and tourism rev­enue, the Ut­tar Pradesh (UP) gov­ern­ment is keen to ex­plore the po­ten­tial of His­tor­i­cal, Ru­ral, Cul­tural, Re­li­gious, Well­ness, Eco­log­i­cal, Ravine and Mo­tor Sports, Wa­ter Sports, and Her­itage Tourism, apart fro

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'Agra Dar­shan' bus

Ac­cord­ing to Am­rit Ab­hi­jat, Sec­re­tary Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of Ut­tar Pradesh, the fo­cus of the gov­ern­ment is now on pro-poor tourism.The Ut­tar Pradesh gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to launch a bus ser­vice named ' Agra Dar­shan' in the city soon. The buses will be com­ple­mented with ra­dio taxis and other tourism-friendly travel ap­pa­ra­tus. Talk­ing about UP gov­ern­ment’s plan, he said, “As a part of this tourism plan, the Holipura and Kachh­pura vil­lages of Agra will be trans­formed into tourist-friendly vil­lages, where tourists can catch a glimpse of the ru­ral life in Braj re­gion. Pre­vi­ously, Barara was des­ig­nated as a tourist vil­lage and it still at­tracts tourists from across the world. The gov­ern­ment is also plan­ning to des­ig­nate for­mer prime min­is­ter Atal Bi­hari Va­j­payee's an­ces­tral vil­lage Batesh­war as a tourist vil­lage.”

Cy­cle tours

On the lines of Ber­lin and Lon­don, Ut­tar Pradesh Tourism will launch a new scheme called 'Luc­know by cy­cle' for vis­i­tors and later this will be un­veiled in her­itage cities of Varanasi and Agra. “Un­der the scheme to be launched by the end of this month, cy­cle will be pro­vided on rent to tourists," Ab­hi­jat re­vealed. He said that in many coun­tries like China, cy­cles are avail­able on rent at lo­cal level in a few cities to visit tourist spots. “Cy­cles are also avail­able for city tours in Ber­lin, Mu­nich in Ger­many, Am­s­ter­dam and Lon­don. On sim­i­lar lines, UP tourism is launch­ing 'Luc­know by cy­cle',” he re­vealed. Keep­ing in view the pop­u­lar­ity of her­itage walk, it has been de­cided to make cy­cle tour its part. He said that in the first phase eight geared cy­cles would be pro­vided by UP tourism on a rent of Rs 200. The tour which will start from Res­i­dency will end at Shah­na­jaf Imam­bara via Chotta and Bara Imambaras, he af­firmed. Ab­hi­jat said a guide would ac­com­pany the tourists and pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about the his­tor­i­cal build­ings.

Con­nec­tiv­ity

In a bid to at­tract more tourists to Agra and Varanasi, the Ut­tar Pradesh gov­ern­ment has slashed the value added tax (VAT) on jet fuel (avi­a­tion tur­bine fuel or ATF) from 21 per­cent to four per­cent to all flights com­ing to th­ese two cities. Ac­cord­ing to Ab­hi­jaat, a gov­ern­ment or­der has al­ready been is­sued. He said this had been done es­sen­tially to en­cour­age more and more flights to th­ese des­ti­na­tions. “The idea is to en­cour­age more and more char­tered flights, pri­vate air car­ri­ers to start op­er­a­tions to th­ese tourist hotspots,” Ab­hi­jaat added. Any plane, other than de­fence air­craft, at th­ese twin cities would now on be given a VAT ex­emp­tion of 17 per cent. The VAT ex­emp­tion would be for all pri­vate car­ri­ers, daily fliers and char­ter flights. The tourism sec­tor had been de­mand­ing slash­ing of the VAT for a long time.

Agra be­yond Taj

Ut­tar Pradesh Tourism has re­cently pro­moted the ‘ Her­itage Arc of Ut­tar Pradesh’ via its for­ward look­ing ini­tia­tives. The Her­itage Arc of Ut­tar Pradesh tra­verses great epochs of In­dian his­tory, her­itage, art, cul­ture, myr­iad cui­sine and spir­i­tual tra­di­tions and runs across the heart of the state cov­er­ing three very dis­tinct re­gions- Agra, Luc­know, Varanasi. To de­velop the Her­itage Arc and wel­come more tourists to en­joy the mar­vels that the ‘City of Taj’ has to of­fer, the Agra Devel­op­ment Author­ity is de­vel­op­ing an ‘In­ner Ring Road’. It is a 5 km route from Ku­ber­pur to Fate­habad Road that will connect the Ya­muna Ex­press­way to the Taj and will cut the travel time dras­ti­cally let­ting tourists reach the Taj di­rectly with­out any has­sles. A Rs. 167 Crore Project for the devel­op­ment of Ta­j­ganj has also been started with the help of the Min­istry of Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia.

The fo­cus of the gov­ern­ment is now on pro-poor tourism.The Ut­tar Pradesh gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to launch a bus ser­vice named 'Agra Dar­shan'

in the city soon

Am­rit Ab­hi­jat Sec­re­tary Tourism Gov­ern­ment of

Ut­tar Pradesh

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