Shimla: Himachal Pradesh government would chalk out a concrete plan to strengthen tourism infrastructure and develop new destinations to optimise the tourism potential of the state, Chief Secretary, S Roy on Thursday said.

Claiming that the tourism potential of the state had not been fully exploited yet, Roy said the government would build parking lots, roads, roadside amenities, and improve air and rail connectivity to attract more tourists.

Himachal Pradesh had registered the highest growth in the number of domestic tourists in the country at 10.28 percent during the current year with 1.5 crore tourists visiting the state, he said during while presiding over a meeting of District Tourism Officers and Forest officials in Shimla.

He said 75 new parking lots with a total capacity of 2,000 will be built at main tourist destinations, including Dharamsala and Shimla, at a cost of Rs 4.52 crore.

Wayside amenities would be created at 40 places which will include an information centre, cafeteria, toilet, souvenir shop, clock room and parking, he said.

The official said so far, Rs 52 crore out of Rs 86 crore received from the Centre had been spent on tourism promotion. Roy said Tourism department was executing works worth Rs 52 crore and the state government has spent a sum of Rs 2.50 crore on eco-tourism.

"We are keen to create new unexplored circuits by linking rural and urban areas which will also give a fillip to Home Stay Scheme, which is a major success," Roy said. He said a two-day cultural festival with classical and folk flavour would be held at the rock-cut Masrur temple, an exquisite architectural creation.

Roy said efforts were on to promote Masrur as a popular tourist destination, though, at times, restrictions imposed by the Archaeological Survey of India pose a major hindrance.

He said the state's tourism was suffering after suspension of Kingfisher and Air India flights to it for past four months. "I will once again be meeting the Secretary, Civil Aviation on December 14 in Delhi to once again raise the issue of providing air services to Himachal," Roy said.


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