20 heritage sites in Punjab chosen for hotels in PPP mode: Sidhu ready with tourism policy
Navjot Singh Sidhu said that the new policy is aimed not only at promoting heritage but on revenue generation too.
As part of a new tourism policy that will be tabled at a cabinet meeting on October 16, the Punjab government has identified 20 heritage sites that will be restored and used for hotels or resorts to be developed in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said in Patiala on Wednesday.
“We have already initiated talks with multinational companies for developing these sites,” Sidhu said, speaking at a seminar at Punjabi University.
“A five-star boutique hotel worth Rs 25 crore will be developed at Patiala’s Qila Mubarak,” Sidhu specifically said. He did not list the other sites, but added that the policy proposes three wedding destinations at traditional inns too, at Chanson village near Shambhu in Patiala district, Manji Sahib near Doraha in Ludhiana, and one in Amritsar.
Circuits and dhabas
He further said four tourism circuits — ‘religious’, ‘Sufi’, ‘maharajas’ and ‘Mughals’ — will be formed to facilitate NRI tourists in particular “to cover each and every spot during their visits”.
The new policy, he said, is aimed not only at promoting heritage but on revenue generation too: “It will usher in a new era in Punjab’s tourism, which was completely ignored in the past 10 years... Punjab is a tourism brand in itself, and the government just needs to improve its brand value.”
Also, the government will register all dhabas in the state to ensure quality and hygiene. “Three hotel management institutes have been asked to prepare reports on possible improvements in dhabas,” he said.
Working in tandem
The tourism department plans to rope in state universities for intellectual support to make Punjab tourism revenue-driven, besides suggesting changes in the policy draft.
Jaspal Singh, principal secretary, tourism and cultural affairs, said the promotion of the industry will create employment opportunities as well.
BS Ghuman, vice-chancellor of the university, said the need is to involve multiple stakeholders, including government, public and private sectors, besides educational institutions, to work in a coordinated manner. “Punjabi University can help by way of providing research inputs. It can also facilitate capacity-building and business ethics programmes for the manpower,” he added.