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Monday, 23 February, 2015, 10 : 00 AM [IST]

Vision 2015: Travel and Tourism - State Tourism Boards

As the Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (I/C) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma has highlighted the target to achieve 1% share in global tourism arrivals by end of 2015, state tourism boards are leaving no stone unturned to develop their offerings. TravelBiz Monitor talks to state tourism boards about their plans for 2015


All state tourism boards are looking forward to reaping the benefits of the recently-launched Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) facility, along with the Domestic Tourism segment, which has been the saviour for almost every state in India. For the same, states are not just planning to develop new circuits, but are also innovating with local experiences and offerings of the region.

talat_parvez_id.jpgTalat Parvez
Director - Tourism,
Kashmir

In 2014, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) witnessed more than 12 million tourist arrivals. In September last year, the state was devastated by floods - the worst in decades - but not a single casualty of a tourist was reported. J&K bounced back to normalcy in record number of days and 99 per cent of its hotels are back to business, welcoming guests with open hands. Currently, the state is looking forward to attracting investments worth Rs 10,000 crore over the next five years to support infrastructure, which includes setting up hotels, restaurants, and communication facilities. The state government also intends to come up with a tourism policy to attract investments.

dr_deepak_prasad_ias.jpgDr Deepak Prasad IAS
Principal Secretary,
Department of Tourism Bihar

Bihar is witnessing a growing trend in both Domestic and Inbound Tourism. Tourists and pilgrims from not only Buddhist countries, but also Europe, USA, Canada, and Latin America, have been visiting the state, which is quite encouraging.

The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) aims to tap the potential of Inbound Tourism by integrating the socio-economic activities of the local communities for sustainable development of tourism. We plan to open our local markets to foreign tourists in order to promote handicrafts and artworks, which will benefit our artisans and craftsmen.

In addition, we are revamping our tourist infrastructure to match global standards, catering to foreign tourists at destinations falling in the Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Sufi, and Gandhi circuits, and Ecotourism sites. We are focusing on development of wayside amenities, improving our hotel standards and services, connectivity and heritage development, etc.

We are also coming up with an improved tourism policy to meet the needs of stakeholders of the industry. We are contemplating a Hotel Registration and Accreditation Policy to streamline the hotel industry. Also, there are plans to implement the B&B scheme at select destinations. We are mulling development of theme parks, world-class sound and light shows, and Adventure Tourism facilities at select destinations.

basanta_raj_kumar_ifs.jpgBasanta Raj Kumar IFS
Executive Director,
Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board
In 2015, Punjab Tourism aims to achieve more than the average rate of growth of 12 per cent in tourist arrivals. With a focused B2B marketing initiative, we are aiming for 15-16 per cent growth in tourist arrivals. Besides marketing across India, we intend to increase our otherwise limited international presence in the B2B segment. More products will be added to other cities of Punjab, besides streamlining existing ones.

Simultaneously, we will be focusing on craft walk in Amritsar and walking tours in Ludhiana. We will be marketing cultural and heritage offerings such as Farm Tourism. Culinary Tourism, highlighting the famous eateries of the state, is also marketed for the year.

s_k_agarwal_id.jpgS K Agarwal
Principal Secretary - Tourism,
Rajasthan

Over nine tourism infrastructure projects worth Rs 97.50 crore have been prioritised for the state for the fiscal year 2014-15. This includes the development of the mega Desert Circuit (Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Bikaner-Sambhar-Pali-Mount Abu) at the cost of around Rs 50 crore. More such infrastructure projects are in the pipeline.

A proactive marketing strategy is being prepared to project Rajasthan as a preferred tourist destination for both foreign and domestic tourists. The state will be promoting handicrafts and Birding Tourism.

Furthermore, Rajasthan holds a strong foothold in terms of fairs and festivals. In March 2015, Rajasthan Day will be celebrated with great verve. It will be a week-long bonanza with top national-level artistes and musicians performing. Night Tourism will also be encouraged so that increasingly more foreign and domestic tourists can visit monuments, forts, and palaces in the evenings. Considering the state has a warm weather through the year, Night Tourism will provide a pleasant atmosphere for tourists to go around the city. The Great Indian Travel Bazaar will be held again in Jaipur in April 2015.

amrit_abhijat_id.jpgAmrit Abhijat
Secretary Tourism,
Govt. of UP

The Uttar Pradesh (UP) government has signed an MoU with FICCI to organise the next five editions of Uttar Pradesh Travel Mart, a B2B event. We intend to create a ‘Heritage Arc’ covering Agra, Lucknow, and Varanasi. Lucknow boasts of sightseeing options with products such as the Heritage Walk at Residency and the upcoming international cricket stadium and Jai Prakash Narayan Convention Centre.

An intra-state air service policy is being worked out and the fund negotiation is in process. This will ease air travel from Lucknow to Allahabad, Agra, and Varanasi. Plans are on to set up Taj International Airport at Agra and an international airport at Kushinagar. Constructions of Lucknow Metro and Lucknow-Agra Expressway are afoot.

Under the Maeitri Project in Kushinagar, the UP government aims to build a 250-ft-high statue of Gautam Buddha. The sound and light show at Agra Fort is also being upgraded. Tajganj Tourism Development project will be completed in a year, under which cleanliness and lighting will be improved. A lavish theme park is also being planned in Agra. The night safari segment in Greater Noida is at take-off stage.
 
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