Centre Mulls Investment Plans For Key Tourist Circuits: Subodh Kant Sahay17 June 2011
Srinagar: The Centre is embarking upon a policy to develop investment plans for key tourist circuits and destinations in the country, Union tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahay said today. 'Government is embarking upon the policy of developing integrated perspective investment plans for key circuits and destinations in each state and Union Territory,' Sahay said addressing a meeting of the Consultative Committee of Parliament attached to his Ministry here. He said these investment plans would identify components requiring investments through the Centre, the state governments, public private partnership and private sector. Based on these plans, the tourism ministry would help the state governments to build their capacities for developing project reports for central and state funding as well as PPP investments, the minister said, adding these plans would then be implemented in mission mode. Asserting that hygiene and sanitary conditions at key tourism destinations is one of the major areas of concern, Sahay said joint efforts are needed to provide adequate facilities to the visitors, both domestic and foreign, to make their holiday memorable. 'There has to be synergy of efforts between Centre, state governments and Union Territory Administration and the private sector to develop the tourism destinations in an integrated way by providing the necessary facilities and making the experience pleasurable to the visitors, both domestic and foreign,' Sahay said. He also announced setting up of Joint Consultative Committee of members of Parliament from Jammu and Kashmir, representatives of state government and representatives of Union Tourism Ministry for speedy implementation of centrally financed tourism projects in the state. Union Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed stressed the need for development of tourism infrastructure in the state keeping in view its importance in national and international tourism market. Ahmed said it should be a joint endeavour of the Centre and the state government and private sector to utilise the available resources to develop a sound tourism infrastructure in the state. While appreciating the efforts of ministry of tourism in developing tourism infrastructure in the border state, the members were of the view that some of the projects which are lagging behind should be taken up on priority basis in consultation with State government, an official spokesperson said after the meeting. The spokesperson said the members put forth suggestions for improving tourism which included taking up more rural tourism projects in the country. It was also suggested that financial assistance to individuals be extended to develop home-stay facilities for tourists, he said. Sahay said three new mega tourism circuits have been sanctioned for Jammu and Kashmir to boost the sector in the state. 'One mega circuit has been sanctioned for each of he three regions - Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh - of the state,' Sahay told reporters. He said in order to keep tourists engaged after evening hours, a laser show will be started in Dal Lake while the light and sound show at Shalimar gardens will be revived. 'The Shikara festival will also be revived,' he said. Sahay said festivals and events showcasing the cultures of different regions of the state will be organised in respective areas. He said an international level Jammu and Kashmir Travel Mart will be organised in the state every year.