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Tourism will be an antidote to migration, says Uttarakhand tourism secretary

Uttarakhand tourism will be an antidote to migration. It will also help people get jobs in their own hometown or village and boost the economy of the place

dehradun Updated: Sep 27, 2018 04:55 IST
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
A group from Mumbai heading towards Dronagiri hill. Uttarakhand tourism department recently organized a trekking camp.(HT File Photo)

The state government is taking all efforts to tap its tourism potential and several plans are in the pipeline. In a conversation with Nitika Kakkar, secretary of tourism Dilip Jawalkar elaborated on the projects planned in the tourism sector and their probable impact on other areas as well. Edited excerpts:

Do you think tourism can help check migration from the state?

Tourism will be an antidote to migration. It will also help people get jobs in their own hometown or village and boost the economy of the place. After the Char Dham yatra season, there is a lull. I hope that home stays, changing habits of people, adventure tourism, religious tourism and other activities would get people up to the hilly areas, which would turn positive for the economy of that area.

How far has the department reached in increasing the number of home-stays?

There are around 680 home stays registered in Uttarakhand. We have announced incentives for home stays and made their registration compulsory as this sector needs encouragement and regulation. We don’t want them to end up on the wrong side. As far as the incentives are concerned, selection of the beneficiaries is done by the district magistrates in a transparent manner. On an average, 15-20 beneficiaries have been identified in each district and their applications have been forwarded to the banks. Now banks have to sanction loans. The money for subsidy has already been released to the districts. We have told the banks to expedite the process so that it can move to the next stage.

There was talk of increasing winter tourism in the state. Have any concrete steps been taken on that?

Yes, very much. Tehri is being developed as a lake destination. Nainital is a successful example of a lake city and Tehri has huge potential. We are investing in a big manner in the development of a particular area. Auli is another destination where we are investing heavily. We are also focusing on Munsyari and Dharchula, though things are still in the initial phase.

What steps are being taken to redistribute the tourist load among all districts?

The state government has declared the scheme of 13 districts as 13 destinations. That is to bolster the economic activity so that each district should contribute towards the development and promotion of tourism. We are developing a detailed project with respect to that. Each district magistrate has been given Rs 50 lakh for initial consultancy and they can ask more if required.

What will be your focus for the Investors’ Summit?

In the Investors’ Summit also we are not focusing on having hotels and resorts everywhere but we are actually seeking participation of private stakeholders for their investment in creating infrastructure. These could be some new PPP models, creation of ropeways or transportation activities. These ancillary activities will help in sharing the responsibilities and will also help in earning reasonable returns on the investment.

First Published: Sep 27, 2018 04:55 IST