Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur disclosed here today that the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has approved a tourism infrastructure development project of about Rs. 1900 crores to be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for development of tourism infrastructure in the urban and rural areas of Himachal Pradesh. The Chief Minister said that with the help of this ADB funded project, the state would be able to develop tourism in rural, unexplored areas and improve the infrastructure of the towns and also generate employment for the local youths and showcase Himachal as the best Natural Tourist destination state.Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism Ram Subhag Singh made a presentation of this project in the Department of Economic Affairs today and informed that the project would be completed in duration of eight years. The project will focus on diversification of tourism to new and rural areas by developing tourism infrastructure, create livelihood and employment opportunities (in themes like rural, adventure and ecotourism) and application of innovative models like incentive based mechanisms for community based tourism activities, augmentation of services like water supply, sewerage, solid waste, skill development related to tourism sector, advertising and marketing etc.
He said that the project would increase tourist satisfaction and encourage repeat visits to the State. It would be one of the finest examples of sustainable tourism in the Himalyan States.The project will have both hard and soft components and will include beautification of towns, development of unexplored areas, conservation and restoration of heritage buildings, infrastructure development in adventure, eco, rural tourism with emphasis on community participation and employment generation. It will train rural youth to turn as entrepreneur in tourism and allied sectors.The project has been designed based on the detailed baseline data, study conducted of 324 sites in 12 districts of the state and suggestions obtained from about 90,000 tourists and designed in line with sustainable tourism guideline for Himalayan States.The Union Ministry of Tourism, Union Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs and Niti Ayog have also supported the project for tourism development in Himachal Pradesh.The Department of Economic Affairs was satisfied with the performance and progress of the State on the ongoing ADB funded project of about Rs.600 crores.