In a bid to give a major fillip to tourism in Uttar Padesh, the state government has decided to develop a “heritage arc” by linking Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi by air for the first time, besides promising a better rail and road connectivity.
The decision to this effect was announced by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav during a press briefing after meeting the Tourism Promotion Council in the state capital on Thursday.
The government is likely to cut down the Value Added Tax (VAT) on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) from 21% to 4% on the flights refuelling in the region.
A cut in the VAT on the ATF is bound to give a big boost to the air services to be launched soon to connect the major cities of Uttar Pradesh.
Yadav said the UP Tourism Promotion Board besides bringing about improvement in the condition of roads and providing better amenities around the monuments, would ensure better upkeep of heritage buildings to attract domestic and international tourists.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with the Federation of Indian Chambers Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to hold road shows and organise travel marts to showcase the heritage sites in the three cities as the potential tourism destinations.
The chief minister said the Taj Mahal would be promoted as a major tourist destination. In the first phase, better facilities would be provided to the tourists in the 3 km area around the Taj Mahal, a Mughal museum in Agra, development of Tajganj area, ring road in Agra and restoration of light and sound show at residency in Lucknow were also on the cards, he said.
Chief secretary Alok Ranjan said the first travel mart with the participation of national and international tour operators would be organised in New Delhi on November 15. Later the tour operators would be invited to Lucknow for a meeting on February 22 and 25, 2015.
UP's new tourism promotion board comprises chief minister and senior officials besides filmmaker Muzaffar Ali and other prominent citizens.