Lack of tourism policy in Himachal

dsc00557.JPGPalampur: Tourism which plays a significant role in the economy of the state, is facing rough weather, thanks to the apathy of the state government which had not bothered to develop the tourist attraction places of state in a planned manners.

Haphazard construction of hotels at Manali, Dhalousie, Shimla, Dharmshala , Macleodgunj and other places in the state has given rise to various problems, like disposal of garbage, contamination of drinking water, parking of vehicles, pollution and large scale soil-erosion. Despite the fact there is vast tourism potentials in Himachal Pradesh, it is most unfortunate that little has been done in this field in the absence of political will.

The frequent traffic jams has become a regular feature at Manali, Dhalousie, Palampur, Shimla, Dharmshala and Macleodgunj. Although the state government has time and again announced to come out with a new “Master Plan” for the development of tourism in the state, but all remained confined to the official files and most of the tourists place in the state have turned into slum.

Government has been making tall promises to provide better amenities to tourists visiting the state time and again, but in reality nothing has been done. What welcome the tourists in Himachal Pradesh “corrupt traffic police officials”, costly hotels, poor parking facilities and heavy taxes. Besides, bumpy roads with narrow width, poor transport and air service, expensive food and fleecing of tourists by the taxi operators also hurt them. The hotel tariff in Himachal Pradesh is quite heavy as compared to other states.

The rise in the cases of rape, theft and murder has adversely affected the pilgrimage tourism particularly in northern parts of the state. In Chintpurni and Kangra alone one dozen cases of murder and rape were reported in past one year. Police had recovered half dozen dead bodies which remained unidentified till date. The victims were the tourists from outside the state.

Himachal Pradesh has enormous tourism potential. It matches Switzerland in its scenic beauty and climate. The snowcapped peaks of majestic Himalayas ranges are visual treat. The lush green tea gardens, dense forests having pines and deodar trees, river and hills are things of beauty which give joy for ever.

dsc00562.JPGState has long way to go to catch up with the front ranking states like Kerala, Goa, Haryana, Uttrakhand in this field. Promotion of the tourism in Himachal Pradesh is essential for its faster development, because of the fact that tourism industry can fill the coffers of the state since it is an important revenue earner and also a good source of foreign exchange.

In past ten years much stress was laid on the development of few places like Shimla, Manali, Dhalousie etc. as major tourists centers. HPTDC a state government undertaking has virtually failed to deliver goods in the absence of proper planning policies. Increasing political interference in its affairs has made the matter worse.

A senior journalist from Palampur.

6 Comments

  • I agree!

    Where Himachal has been endowed with so much of beauty and nature has bestowed its best, it doesn’t seem that the related Govt.agencies are doing any good and if they are, the pace seems too slow.

    This is fact is leading to chaos and all the haphazard constructions which not only damages the nature but even prospects of tourism….

    an example being Manali!

  • R V being run by people with top floor vacant? wether its ‘A’ or ‘B’ ?
    HIMACHAL is BEST place in WORLD!!!!!
    the point is wether machine is rusted or the ‘Processor’ Running it is Rusted….
    What God has given to Himachal is BEST and what we humans are giving to himachal is WORST !!!!

  • Its all about the money………
    and people mentallity
    what is going to hillstation means…..hmmmmm peace of mind and fresh air i guess.
    But our Indian tourist can’t do without Mc donald’s,markets,cars,noise,pain eve teasing,getting drunk,abusing locals,littering,spitting and urinating around.
    What max can the govt’ do if this is what people want.
    Himachal is heaven on earth.But pople want to carry their cities along with them…….it sells
    Belive me it will go worse….
    untill we make strict and educate them how to get a peace of mind…..
    Thanks

  • I am sorry to state but this is the most biased article which I have come across. The writer has taken a simple way out by saying that the state lacks tourism policy. I have been following the articles of the author in The Tribune and permit me to say it seems he has an axe to grind with the Tourism Deptt.

    Tourism Deptt has nothing to do with a “master plan”. It is the work of Town and Country deptt. Law and order is with the police. How does tourism deptt. comes in picture. The writer says that Himachal matches Switzerland in scenic beauty. Please let us know when did the author last visited Switzerland and what was his impression of tourist places and facilities their. Traffic jam is created by people like me and the author who go to the market at a stone throw distance in a two and four wheeler and park it right in between the bazaar and then blame the govt for the mess. Allowing construction of hotels is permitted by the local Municipal Corporations or Nagar Panchayats and Tourism Deptt simply sets the rates and sees if the hotel is fit to be deemed to be a hotel or not.

    I am not saying that the problems mentioned by the author do not exist. Yes, they do but don’t blame the Tourism Deptt alone for all this mess. This is a collective mess created by all those running the cities affairs. Tourism deptt has no say and power in a city/town development. In my opinion HPTDC has done a commendable job in bringing far off places on tourist map namely Chindi in Karsog, Keylong, Sarchu and Kaza in Lahul & Spiti, Kalpa in Kinnaur despite its limited resources and trained man power. It was only when tourists started coming in tourist destinations that local and outsiders started to invest in building hotels at all the tourist places. Now to say that HPTDC has virtually failed in delivering goods is an understatement. This is one of the largest employment generating Corporation in the state. There may be a scope of improvement in the working and functioning but I think it would be harsh to say that it has been a failure.

    Coming back to the main issue of Tourism policy, what needs to be done. Firstly, scrap the Dept. of Tourism. There is no need for it. Instead have a Tourism Board with proper participation from private enterpenaures who will have a say in framing the policies related to development of tourism. These would be the professionals who are running the tourism industry and knows the nitty -gritty of the trade. Govt babus can hardly frame a practical policy. Let the govt be a facilitator for a change. These guys can also bring in some good investments in the state. The idea is to remove as much of govt control from tourism industry and let it grow. For example, see what private operators did in telecom sector where govt acted as a facilitator. The need today to grow tourism in state is less of govt. regulations and more investment. We have enough hotels in the state. Now the destinations need more investment to help them sustain which can only come from the private sector.

  • NITYIN,
    It would be great if you can also list a couple of tourism department responsibilities. After reading your comment, I am not sure about the actual job of toursim department.

  • I think tourism and politics of himachal is in a mess. I wrote a book on Masrur temple of 8th century after two yeaars research which brought many new facts to light and proved its claim to world heritage site. I met the CM twice who was all for promoting tourismto Masrur but nothing happend during last six months inspite of assurance. The government has failed to capitalise on the knowledge and opportunities.

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