Himachal from catchphrase to new trends in eco-tourism

June 16, 2018 02:45 PM

Punjab News Express/Y.S. RANA
MANALI (HP): The government of Himachal Pradesh seems to coming out of mere catchphrase to new trend in developing eco tourism in the state. It was stated by the state chief minister Mr Jai Ram Thakur while inaugurating the 2-day International Conference on “Eco-tourism potential in Himachal Pradesh.” The function was organized by the State Forest Department and Eco-tourism Society, Himachal Pradesh at Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali in Kullu district.

                Revealing the initiatives of the state government he said that the government has identified 113 sites to be developed keeping eco-tourism in view across the state. Of these, five sites have been given on public-private partnership (PPP) mode, 16 were handed over to the state forest department. 

                       The HP state forest corporation was given 47 such sites to start eco-tourism activities in near future.   He further stated that in addition 25 new destinations would be developed by constructing log huts for stay of tourists in the lap of nature. He said that three eco-tourism hubs would be developed during the current financial year. He said that 10 places would be developed from adventure tourism point of view with the close coordination with the Eco Tourism Society, Tourism Department and Mountaineering Institute, Manali. He said that the state government was moving fast in the matter and 31 eco-tourism circuits have been prepared and would be sent for approval to the Centre government for its nod.

                    Mr Thakur said that eco-tourism activities would not only prove a revenue booster dose to the state exchequer but also a major employment and self-employment generator for the youth of the State. He revealed that nature parks and herbal gardens were being developed in the State. He said that 50 Forest Rest Houses have been used to start eco-tourism activities in the State and further efforts would be made to link eco-tourism with the rural life, culture

and traditions. The initiative of the state government would ensure unexplored and virgin tourist destinations of the State further enhance economic activities in the rural areas of the State.

                   He said that the state has immense potential to emerge as the best tourist destination of the world because of its natural beauty, clean environment and above all peaceful

 law and order situation. He said that for the first time a provision of Rs 50 crore has been made in the budget for tourism sector. He said that new scheme ‘Nayae Rahaien Nayae Manzilain’ envisioned for the State to explore new tourist destinations in the State. He said that the State Government has banned use of thermocol cup plates in the State from June 5 last on the occasion of World Environment Day. These steps would go a long way in ensuring clean environment of the State, he hoped.

                   Eco-tourism has several components such as trekking, mountain biking, river rafting, skiing, heli-skiing, camping, rock climbing, bird watching etc would definitely add to the beauty of the state and encourage youth to come more and more in water sports activities and steps would be taken to associate private players to invest in eco-tourism projects, said he.

                  He also presented a proposal of eco-tourism development in the State to the Union Minister. He also released a souvenir brought out by the Eco-tourism Society of Himachal Pradesh and a souvenir of Roerich Art Museum. He filled up a membership form of Eco Club on the occasion. Several MoUs for eco-tourism projects were signed on the occasion between different organizations and companies. 

                   The chief minister announced that the left bank of Manali road would be taken up through World Bank of CRF funding for its timely completion. Union Minister of State for Tourism Minister Shri K. J. Alphons was also present on the occasion.

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