Speaking on the occasion of releasing a new edition of Monal, a government tourism magazine Virbhadra said that people’s participation by acquainting visitors with the rich cultural heritage, customs and traditions of the villages would be promoted so that tourism could become an household affair.
He said that the state government had launched a ‘Home Stay’ scheme to associate villagers with tourism. Villagers who could invest to create standard infrastructure which could provide boarding and lodging facilities to the tourists would be registered under the program.
“It would generate employment and self employment avenues to the local people,” he said. “Nature has blessed the state with immense beauty and every nook and corner of it was naturally beautiful and had tremendous tourism potential.”
At the same time the chief minister cautioned that ecological safeguards while promoting tourism needed to be adhered to. He said that protection of the ecology was dear to the government and it would not be permitted to damage it at any cost. Himachal Pradesh was the most sought after destination for tourists since it had the best to offer to people of all tastes and budget and there were more visitors to the state than the population it has, said Virbhadra.
The government was focusing on qualitative improvement in tourism infrastructural facilities so that more high paying tourists do visit the state, he said adding that efforts were afoot to associate internationally renowned hospitality professionals for achieving it.
He said that Kullu-Manali, Kangra and Pathankot Civil Enclave airports had been upgraded for allowing landing of higher capacity planes and experts were examining the possibility of expanding the Jubbarhatti airport, near Shimla. The state had also requested the Airport Authority of India to permit night landing facilities. A vast network of helipads had also been created all over the state where state government proposes to carry helitaxi services to cater to the high paying tourists, he said.