"We will take forward the idea of constituting a tourism cabinet combining different related departments like the one for agriculture to boost tourism potential of the state," Principal Secretary Tourism Deepak Prasad said at a workshop.
         
In a pioneering initiative, Bihar formed an Agriculture cabinet in 2011 combining 17 departments for comprehensive growth of farm sector. Highlighting that Bihar is a treasure trove of history and culture having many sites of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and Sikhism, Prasad said there was a need to have more ‘story tellers’ to popularize the sites.
         
He said efforts would be made to tap famous personalities from the state like Bollywood actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha, his actor-daughter Sonakshi Sinha and more recently Shreya Singh who won silver medal in shooting in Commonwealth Games in the role of 'story tellers' like Gujarat had Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan.
        
Prasad was speaking at a sensitization workshop ‘Bed & Breakfast’ scheme organized by Union Tourism ministry.
    
He said a new tourism policy replacing the one formulated in 2009 was in the pipeline to give a thrust to this sunrise sector.
        
Prasad identified shortage of accommodation both for high-end tourists as well budget tourists in important locations in the state and advocated role of private players to meet the challenge.
         
Director Tourism, Union government, Sagnik Choudhury highlighted merits of the scheme under which a tourist foreigner or domestic could stay at registered residential premises of a landowner to experience local culture.
        
The scheme launched in 2006 as part of 'Incredible India' campaign has been successful in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. In Eastern India, West Bengal and Jharkhand has been promoting it.
        
Tourism has seen a rise in Bihar in last five years. In 2012, Bihar was placed at seventh position after Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal in terms of arrival of foreign tourists.
        
The Tourism Principal Secretary appreciated the Bed & Breakfast scheme and promised all cooperation to popularize them in the state.

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