The Uttarakhand government will involve legislators in identifying potential tourism sites in their constituencies.
A questionnaire will be distributed among legislators to get their suggestions on locations that can be developed as tourism sites, sources in the state tourism department said.
“The idea behind this plan is to involve all legislators, including parliamentarians, in tourism development. There are still a large number of areas across the state, specially in hills, which are yet to be explored,” said state tourism minister Satpal Maharaj.
“Once the questionnaire is handed to the legislators, we hope that they will try to identify sites in their constituencies for tourism development,” Maharaj said.
The questionnaire will seek information about places to be developed as religious and non-religious tourist sites, adventure sports and other avenues that can attract visitors.
Maharaj said not much work has been done to create new tourism circuits or sites even after more than 16 years of the state’s formation.
Uttarakhand’s Char Dham — Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri — draws tourists every year. Tourism, especially religious tourism, is one of the biggest sources of income in Uttarakhand and amounts to around 5% of the gross state domestic product (GSPD). The tourism economy got a setback after the 2013 floods.
“There are a plenty of sites that can be explored. Tourism experts will visit spots or locations identified by legislators and hammer out action plans for their development,” the minister said, adding that the exercise would create a sense of involvement among the legislators in developmental activities.
There is no dearth of scenic attractions for tourists in Uttarakhand, but, except for some well-known centres, they still remain to be fully developed or enabled to accommodate the flow of tourists.
“Our work has to synchronise with the central leadership’s focus on 2019 general elections. We have to show concrete results before the countdown begins for the elections,” said the minister.
“The state tourism department has to streamline its working with modern needs for tourism infrastructural development. So far it has failed to prepare an action plan for creating new tourist sites,” said Maharaj.