The Telegraph
Wednesday , July 9 , 2014
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Draft tourism policy on table

Ranchi, July 8: Jharkhand tourism can hope to get a big fillip in another two months with the authorities finally waking up to the need of a specific set of rules and guidelines to govern the sector.

The state tourism department is in the process of drafting a policy that is expected to go a long way in selling Jharkhand as a thriving destination besides raising the dwindling tourist count.

State tourism secretary Vishnu Kumar, who is working on the draft along with officials of the department, said they had set a deadline of two months within which the proposal has to be approved, a final one drawn up and cleared by the cabinet. “It will take almost two months to get the final draft prepared after which the policy will come into effect. Our main aim is to ensure a steady flow of both domestic and foreign tourists, who have stopped visiting the state because of lack of adequate facilities,” Kumar told The Telegraph.

Asked to shed light on the tourism policy that they have envisioned, Kumar said they would mainly lay stress on development of major tourist spots, infrastructure and roads. Equal attention will be provided to generating employment opportunities for local youths and working out new schemes to boost the sector as a whole.

“One of the main provisions of the proposed policy will be formation of Gram Paryatan Samiti to promote rural tourism. The state would also like to offer more options for adventure tourism, air links among cities, mainly Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, Deoghar and Bokaro, and subsidy to companies providing the service. The draft also mentions introduction of super luxury trains for key tourist destinations for which the department has to talk with the railways,” he added.

As for jobs for local youths, Kumar suggested that they could work as guides after proper training or be absorbed in hotels and travel agencies.

“A concrete tourism policy will help revive the department’s image, which has taken a beating, thanks to unscrupulous tour operators, travel agents and transport operators who fleece people at the drop of the hat. Poor security is another factor why the number of foreign tourists has started dwindling in the state. Domestic tourists also stay away because of the same reasons,” the tourism secretary pointed out.

Every year, the state witnesses influx of tourists from Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Delhi, Mumbai and also from foreign countries like the UK, the US, Canada, Germany, Italy and Morocco in January-February. However, in the absence of a specific tourism policy, the entire sector goes unmonitored and the tourists end up being misguided.