UP tourism policy on the cards

Uttar Pradesh is planning to release its draft Tourism Policy 2017 by November this year to strengthen its tourism sector. The state will also focus on developing tourist infrastructure and will soon chart out an aggressive marketing and promotional campaign to attract more tourists.

Ankita Saxena

Uttar Pradesh is abound in tourism products of every kind, be it heritage and culture, religious tourism, spiritual tourism, eco-tourism, wildlife tourism, etc., but still does not draw as many tourists as it is capable of, feels Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Minister of Tourism, Government of Uttar Pradesh. She explains that the state has charted out its plan of action where firstly, it is identifying key destinations where they can provide tourists with incentives to stay for at least 1-2 nights. Also, Uttar Pradesh will work on ways to enhance the day-tours to various key attractions to give a better experience to the visitors.

Joshi says, “We have improvised upon the Tourism Policy formulated in 2016 by the previous government and will release the draft in November. Once the policy receives the Cabinet’s approval, it will soon be released. The industrial policy of the state is in place and under the Tourism Policy of 2017, a lot of incentives have been provided to the private players and investors.” She further elaborates that of the total tourist arrivals to Uttar Pradesh, a major share is contributed by religious and spiritual tourists and the state is working very hard to strengthen this segment by way of providing the tourists with advanced, state-of-the-art facilities. She opines that tourists need to be allowed to experience the philosophy and history behind each attraction which has been a topic of research across the world.

Joshi feels that travel has become a habit with people who can afford it and those who cannot have aspirations to travel. She adds, “Travel could be to nearby places or to the farthest destinations. It is up to us, how we present and position Uttar Pradesh in order to attract a larger number of tourists. We rank 2nd in India in terms of overall tourist visits to the state and 3rd in terms of foreign tourist footfalls, but this is not satisfactory. Given the products we have in UP and the scope, UP should be number one in all forms of travel.”

Travel agents and tour operators are the backbone of the tourism industry and the government has deep interest in growing this sector with policy initiatives and incentives for them, asserts Joshi. She explains that the state is focusing on showcasing the vast heritage and culture and in effect the tourism potential of the state through aggressive branding campaigns. “Recently, we had floated an Expression of Interest and received proposals from various agencies. The selected agency will be responsible for devising the branding strategy for Uttar Pradesh as well as the Kumbh Mela, which we want to project as a major event in the state. We are introducing light and sound shows at key attractions, laser shows are being introduced; we also sanctioned `170 crore for the beautification of parks and landscaping of the Taj Mahal.”

Uttar Pradesh is also working on strengthening its hospitality segment, for which the state tourism department plans on offering various incentives and subsidies to the private players of the sector. Other key focus areas of the state are to develop wildlife tourism and eco-tourism.

Ruling the Roost

Travel agents and tour operators are the backbone of the tourism industry, and the government has deep interest in growing this sector with policy initiatives and incentives for them so as to showcase the tourism potential of a particular state.

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