Am­phibi­ous buses in Pun­jab

Pun­jab is de­vel­op­ing a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties to fa­cil­i­tate longer stays. Am­phibi­ous buses, eco-tourism, rural tourism, wildlife, freedom trails, his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural tours are some of the prod­ucts on of­fer.

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By mid 2016 Pun­jab Tourism will in­tro­duce am­phibi­ous buses on a trial ba­sis, from Am­rit­sar into the wet­lands where the tourists can also en­joy watch­ing mi­gra­tory birds, in­forms Bas­anta Ra­jku­mar, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Pun­jab Her­itage and Tourism Pro­mo­tion Board ( PHTPB). “We are de­vel­op­ing in­no­va­tive tourism prod­ucts on the axis of tra­di­tional and mod­ern. We are in the process of re­fur­bish­ing and restor­ing our forts and palaces, an as­pect that Pun­jab has not been as­so­ci­ated with. Gobindgarh Fort and a build­ing in­side where the Ko­hi­noor was kept are one of them," he says.

Ra­jku­mar points out that the state is fo­cus­ing on Am­rit­sar as a des­ti­na­tion and de­vel­op­ing tourism prod­ucts in and around the city. "We are of­fer­ing rural tourism and farm tourism for vis­i­tors to en­joy the rus­tic stay at farm houses with five star fa­cil­i­ties and ex­pe­ri­ence farm­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. There are 14 pro­tected ar­eas in Pun­jab which are be­ing de­vel­oped for eco-tourism.

At Abo­har, tourists can see the black buck and en­joy wildlife tourism. The re­li­gious and cul­tural cir­cuit in Pun­jab is be­ing en­hanced by adding places like Ram Ti­rath, Vi­rasate-Khalsa in Anand­pur Sahib apart from the Golden Tem­ple," says Ra­jku­mar.

The state is also de­vel­op­ing 'freedom trails' which show­cases the his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance of Pun­jab, the var­i­ous wars fought in the state and the strug­gle for in­de­pen­dence in In­dia. For this, mon­u­ments, me­mo­ri­als and mu­se­ums are be­ing re­stored.

Talk­ing about the pro­mo­tions and mar­ket­ing plans, Ra­jku­mar says, “In 2008 we en­gaged with UNWTO to chart out a Tourism Devel­op­ment Mas­ter Plan to guide our ac­tiv­i­ties in tourism. We are fol­low­ing a fo­cused mar­ket strat­egy with a three­fold aim i.e. to in­crease foot­falls, make them stay longer and al­low them to spend more which ben­e­fits the state. Even though the vol­ume of busi­ness has not been huge but we have grown nearly 14-15 per cent an­nu­ally for the last 5 years.”

Ra­jku­mar also in­forms PHTPB has been cre­ated for all pro­mo­tional and mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. The board works with travel trade part­ners from tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tors in Pun­jab and pro­vides them with a plat­form to en­gage with larger in­dus­try play­ers. “Tourism has an in­dus­try sta­tus in Pun­jab and the pri­vate stake­hold­ers are given fis­cal and sub­sidy ben­e­fits to fa­cil­i­tate them,” ex­plains Ra­jku­mar. Pun­jab Tourism is also fo­cus­ing on var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic travel marts and ex­hi­bi­tions to show­case their prod­ucts and en­gage with in­dus­try play­ers for av­enues to de­velop tourism bet­ter.

Bas­anta Ra­jku­mar

Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Pun­jab Her­itage and Tourism Pro­mo­tion Board

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