THE MP Eco-tourism Development Board (MPETDB) could soon receive a shot in the arm for its eco-tourism development activities, as the Union Tourism Ministry is learnt to have agreed in principle to grant about Rs one crore initially as seed capital to the board.
Although the amount is yet to be sanctioned, the entire money received would be in the form of a grant. “State Forest Department Principal Secretary had written to the Union Tourism Ministry for the grant and latter has agreed in principle to the same,” well-placed sources in the MPETDB informed Hindustan Times today.
Sources added that though the actual grant amount could vary a little, but whatever was received initially would provide a great impetus to eco-tourism development activities.
The seed capital would be utilised in the form of ‘eco-tourism scheme’ that would be instituted to maintain the pace of eco-tourism activities. Most efforts like setting up new facilities for tourists, upgrading already existing facilities, employment opportunities to local community and conservation efforts would be taken care of initially through the seed capital.
With an aim to reach out to a much larger audience nationally and internationally, the MPETDB would soon be making its presence felt on the internet too, sources added. The board would launch its website hosting information regarding its activities, plans and programmes.
Besides, the MPETDB also plans to start a forum or bulletin board to get suggestions from various stakeholders. To attract private entrepreneurs, the MPETDB has invited proposals from private parties for eco-tourism projects in sites identified by the board as well as potential new destinations too.
The board would facilitate private players through dissemination of information regarding clearances required from various concerned departments for such eco-tourism projects.
Also, the MPETDB officials and eco-tourism experts are considering that there should be a time lag of at least one year between notification of new tariffs and making them effective. This time lag would help the tour operators who get advance booking from international tourists.