Punjab adds flavour to Amritsar tours
The agrarian state’s tourism board has chosen Amritsar to be its flagship tourist destination and has created multiple products around the Golden Temple to retain the huge visitor numbers and convert them into overnighters. Over and above, Punjab Tourism
Punjab has been so far one of India’s best-kept tourism secrets, jokes Shivdular Singh Dhillon, Special Secretary and Director, Department of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archeology, Museums & Archives, Punjab and CEO, Punjab Heritage & Tourism Promotion Board.
“It is time we reveal it to the rest of India and the world. We have created a lot of infrastructure in and around Amritsar to capture the traffic the city already receives. We have developed a heritage street that leads up to the Golden Temple. As you cross the old Town Hall Building, go towards Jallianwala Bagh and then up to the Golden Temple, you’ll see bright lamp posts, statues and fountains in the backdrop of buildings reminiscent of Mughal and Rajputana architecture,” Dhillon says.
We have created a lot of infrastructure in and around Amritsar to capture the developed a heritage street that leads up to the Golden Temple
His department has spent about 200 crore in creating this, which is money spent well since the number of visitors to the iconic Golden Temple has gone up exponentially after this upgrade. “The total number of visitors per day to the temple has touched 100,000. Even if you subtract the devotees, it still leaves us with 50,000 tourists per day. To retain them in the city, we have developed a lot of good hotels nearby. We have also developed farm tourism and have come up with farm stays in the outskirts. Agriculture has been Punjab’s backbone, so what better place than here to create this experience?” Dhillon says. The department has so far authorised 60-plus properties for farm stays. “We have also just signed an MoU with MakeMyTrip so all these farm stays and B&B are online for everyone to book. Travellers don’t look at Punjab as a tourist destination and this perception will change now. We need to work smart and leverage on things and the consequential cascading effects will come,” Dhillon adds.
Shivdular Singh Dhillon Special Secretary and Director, Department of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archeology, Museums & Archives, Punjab and CEO, Punjab Heritage & Tourism Promotion Board