The Jharkhand government plans to cash in on cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s image to market the state tourism worldwide.
“Dhoni is a brand (figure). I have talked to him for his cooperation to make Jharkhand a brand on world map. He has assured me that he was ready for his contribution to promote the state,” said chief minister Raghubar Das after unveiling the state tourism policy on Sunday, World Tourism Day.
Dhoni is likely to be brand ambassador for Jharkhand tourism, a press release said on Sunday.
In 2000, when Jharkhand came into being, just 4,53 lakh tourists, including 3111 foreigners, visited the state. But the number saw a 70-fold increase with 3.30 crore tourists coming to the state in 2013-14, of them merely 1.30 lakh are foreigners, and majority of them visited religious destinations.
Places of natural beauty are visited only during limited seasons due to reasons like safety, sanitation and lack of transportation.
“Tourism can change Jharkhand’s destiny but it has not been explored so far. To give a vision to tourism sector, our government unveiled the tourism policy in just eight months in power,” Das said. The policy unfolds the government’s vision that incorporates development of various tourism sectors.
“Security had been a major concern for tourists. But, now there is no Maoist fear in the state. Some unsocial outfits are operating in few parts. Our government will eliminate them in the next three months,” the CM said.
He said the government would soon launch highway patrolling from Jamshedpur to Ranchi and other tourist destinations.
To develop tourism in the state, the Das government has increased the annual budget allocation from `25 to `100 crore for the sector for 2015-16.
The chief minister said his government would develop the famous Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar on the line of Tirupati temple within a year.
The Jain pilgrimage Parasnath in Giridih district will also be developed as an international tourist destination on public-private partnership mode. “For security, we are going to inaugurate a police station at Parasnath within a week,” Das said.
The government would soon start three inter-state religious tourist circuits like Gaya to Bhadrakali temple in Chatra and Shantiniketan-Tarapith (WB) to Maluti in Dumka. Similarly, work is on to develop places of natural beauty like Betla National Park and Patratu, he said.
President of Indian Chamber of Commerce Shiv Siddhant Kaul urged the government to focus on tourist-friendly transportation system, specific software for comfort of guests, eco-friendly vehicles in local tourists places and cleanliness for image building.