Developing a fresh tourism policy aimed at fostering the popularity of less familiar destinations.

Shimla, June 15 Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu on Thursday said the government was actively considering framing a new tourism policy to promote lesser-known destinations.

Presiding over a meeting of the Tourism Department here, he said the government was working to increase tourist influx from three to five crore within the next five years.

“Nature has blessed Himachal Pradesh with unprecedented grandeur and there is a need to tap this potential to the maximum to increase the footfall of the tourists,” a statement quoting Sukhu said.

He said that approximately, 72 lakh tourists visited the state by May.

To accurately assess tourist influx, he instructed the Department to evolve a mechanism for data collection and also directed to improve the infrastructure with all basic amenities to facilitate the visitors.

“Tourism plays a crucial role in strengthening the economy of the state and the government has been according topmost priority for development of tourism-related projects,” said the Chief Minister.

He also emphasized the importance of marketing and rationalization of staff in the Tourism Department to provide better facilities for the tourists.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu presiding over a review meeting on tourism

Reviewing the various projects aimed at developing Kangra district as a tourism capital, he directed the department to prepare a concept paper for further consideration.

These projects include a roller skating rink in Sakoh, a golf course in Paragpur, a high-end resort in Menjha, a tourism village in Narghota and the proposed Aero City in Kangra.

Besides, the government mulls to set up a theme-based satellite village at Naura Khad in the Nagrota Bagwaan assembly segment, he said.

The government is working on expanding the Kangra airport, constructing a greenfield airport in Nagchala in Mandi district, and building new heliports in the state.

In the first phase, he said, nine heliports are being constructed at Jaskot in Hamirpur district, Rakkar and Palampur in Kangra district, Sultanpur in Chamba district, Manali in Kullu district, Jispa, Sissu, and Rangrik in Lahaul-Spiti district and Sharbo in Kinnaur district.

The remaining seven heliports will be constructed in the second phase, he added.

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