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New tourism policy in October; focus on home stay, rural tourism

Uttarakand’s new tourism policy, the first since the state’s creation in 2000, will focus on home stay and rural tourism, and it will be unveiled in October, tourism minister Satpal Maharaj announced on Monday

dehradun Updated: Sep 18, 2017 21:10 IST
Prithviraj Singh
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, better known as Chaurasi Kutia, in Rishikesh will be renovated.
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, better known as Chaurasi Kutia, in Rishikesh will be renovated.(HT Photo)

Uttarakand’s new tourism policy, the first since the state’s creation in 2000, will focus on home stay and rural tourism, and it will be unveiled in October, tourism minister Satpal Maharaj announced on Monday.

The minister said the tourism department was aiming to strengthening rural economy by prioritising home stay and rural tourism in the new policy.

Home stay concept in urban areas will be eschewed as it be limited only to rural areas, he said.

The new policy is being given final touches before sending it for the government’s nod in the first half of October, said Maharaj.

“This policy will be comprehensive guideline for developing entire sector with priority for rural tourism, upgrading existing infrastructure and discovering new sites for attracting tourists.

“Apart from this, tourism will also being made investors friendly as attracting investors to the state will be key for development,” said the minister.

Maharshi Mahesh Yogi Ashram better known as Chaurasi Kutia having 84 ethical residential structures amidst forest covers in Rishikesh will be renovated and graffiti found in the walls will be protected with the help of the forest department, he said.

“Chaurasi Kutia will be renovated and converted into important international Yoga and wellness destination of the country,” the minister, adding that the tourism department will also conduct bird watching exercises for tourists in coming days.

Tourism secretary Meenakshi Sundaram said the home stay concept would speak more for honing up hospitality skills of the villagers and supporting them to upgrade their lodging facilities for tourists through banks loans and grants.

“Honing up skills specially spoken English, culinary skills and knowledge of local flora and fauna along with the help of Deendayal Upadhyay Tourism Development scheme will be catch for promotion of rural tourism via home stay which is the part of urban tourism. Creating land bank will be another feature of the new tourism policy,” Sundaram said.

“We want to see Uttarakhand among top 10 tourism destinations in the country against present 17th position.

“Nearly 80% of our present tourist influx is for religious but fresh move will be to balance it with non religious tourism like creating attraction for adventure sports, new tourism destinations in order to attract most youths,” said Sundaram.