‘Uttarakhand to attract huge investments to tap tourism potential’
The Uttarakhand government has big plans to attract foreign investment so that the Himalayan region’s vast tourism potential could be tapped and it could also be popularised as one of the world’s most popular “supernatural and mystical destinations”, tourism minister Satpal Maharaj said on Sunday.dehradun Updated: May 07, 2017 20:11 IST
DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand government has big plans to attract foreign investment so that the Himalayan region’s vast tourism potential could be tapped and it could also be popularised as one of the world’s most popular “supernatural and mystical destinations”, tourism minister Satpal Maharaj said on Sunday.
“We plan to attract massive investments so that all aspects of tourism potential the state is endowed with—from adventure, wellness, village to eco-tourism and culinary tourism could be tapped,” he said.
“Besides, the state also has a vast potential to develop as one of the world’s most popular supernatural and mystical destinations, which we want to tap by attracting investments.”
Maharaj said a beginning would soon be made to ensure that the vast tourism potential the mountain state is endowed with could be tapped.
“In that connection, we are going to host a conference which will be attended by a large number of investors both from within the country and abroad”, he revealed while answering reporters’ queries during his visit to the HT office here on Sunday.
Maharaj said the meet is likely to be organised in Mussoorie.
“The date for the proposed investors’ conference is yet to be decided,” he clarified adding, at the conference tour operators and investors would give presentations on how they would help the state government tap vast tourism potential the Himalayan region is endowed with.
“They will share with us their expertise and road maps to help us tap adventure, wellness, village and eco-tourism,” Maharaj said.
“We will also seek their help to tap the state’s potential to develop as one of the world’s most supernatural and mystical destinations.”
In that connection, the minister said that during his recent visit to Japan investors there showed a keen interest to invest in Uttarakahnd.
“They shared with me that once an initiative is taken to popularise the places known for their supernatural and mystical events, half of Japan would be in this state,” he clarified indicating the Japanese fascination for the super natural.
Maharaj, in that connection, cited Jagar, one of the popular dance forms in Uttarakhand. “It is believed that as those participating in Jagar start swaying their bodies to the drum beats, gods start entering their bodies,” he said suggesting that the spectacle is enthralling, which the onlookers find fascinating.
The other example the minister cited pertained to the Lata temple of goddess Bhagwati in border district Chamoli’s Niti valley.
“What makes this shrine fascinating for visitors is that the swords and daggers kept inside that shrine are sometimes visible but there are times when they just vanish,” Maharaj informed.
“Then there is this temple of Lord Shiva in Someshwar in Yamnotri where two large metal pots inside it suddenly start tossing over on their own bewitching the visitors.”
The minister revealed that Japanese had also shown keen interest in developing skiing resorts in the mountain state.
“Besides, foreign experts and investors would also be roped in to develop Uttarakhand as a package which would also include the lesser-known destinations dotting the mountain state,” he said adding investors and experts will also help develop websites.
“Through these (websites) tourists would be able to access all information pertaining to facilities relating to village, ecotourism, wellness and village tourism etc along with their locations, online.”
Maharaj said that as part of the other plan kiosks offering information and locations relating to various tourism activities would also be set up at the airports, railway stations and bus stations.
“Such a system would help tourists access the information and facilities to be offered to them right at the time of their arrival,” he clarified.
INNERLINE PERMITS NOT NECESSARY FOR FOREIGN TOURISTS
Foreign tourists may be allowed to visit Uttarakhand’s three scenic spots--Mukhba, Harsil and Bagauli in the border district of Uttarkashi without restrictions as they might be exempted from acquiring inner line permits, (a travel document issued by the Centre), tourism minister Satpal Maharaj said.
“There is a possibility that foreign tourists may be exempted from acquiring inner line permits to visit Mukhba, Harsil and Bagauli,” he said adding that in that connection he had put in a request to Union minister for tourism Mahesh Sharma.
Maharaj clarified that he would also put in a similar request to Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. “If the request is granted all three scenic spots would be accessible to foreign tourists, which would give a boost to the locals’ income,” he told HT.