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Spa services to woo tourists

The tourism department aims to cash in on ayurvedic and spiritual tourism even though there has been no proposal from any business group to set up a five-star hotel in the state.

The department on Thursday admitted that there no firm had approached the state government intending to set up a world-class hotel but the state government wants to upgrade the existing budget hotels under Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) and convert those into at least four-star ones to attract tourists.

“Until now, we have not received any proposal regarding setting up of a five-star property in the state. But then there is a way out to tackle the situation,” B. Pradhan, the principal secretary of the tourism department, said. He pointed out that four hotels belonging to Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) had been selected to be upgraded.

“These hotels are located in Patna, Bodhgaya, Rajgir and Muzaffarpur. These are simple hotels and the department is upgrading them with all the facilities possible so they at least get a four-star status. The state wants to cash in on the popularity of ayurvedic and spiritual tourism. Each of these upgraded hotels will have a spa for guests. In addition, the hotels will have ayurvedic clinics, yoga trainers and ayurvedic practitioners for interested guests. We hope these add-ons would be successful in attracting visitors,” Pradhan added.

A total of 139 acres in regions like Muzaffarpur, Supaul, East and West Champaran, Vaishali, Nalanda, Bhagalpur and Gaya are being acquired at Rs 69.26 crore to create tourist infrastructures such as wayside amenities, hotels and others. A proposal is being sent to the cabinet to acquire an additional 201.73 acres at Chechar in Vaishali at an estimated Rs 134 crore.

“According to the ministry of tourism, the state has moved up one step and stands in the sixth place. Of two crore tourists, who visited the state in 2012, the number of foreign tourists rested at 12 lakh. This year, until August, 64.95 lakh domestic tourists visited the state. Number of incoming foreign tourists rested at 4 lakh,” the official said.

In 2012, the industries department had said the Taj Group had approached the state government to set up a five-star property in or around Patna at a cost of Rs 92 crore. Officials at the department stated the group needed to search for land itself.

However, the Taj Group earlier had confirmed to The Telegraph that they didn’t have such plans with sources pointing out that the group didn’t get land for the same.

A number of projects have been sent to the tourism ministry for approval, including development of cultural village and facilities for tourists at Nalanda at a cost of Rs 27.79 crore, Pradhan said.

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