What has been the growth in tourist arrivals over the years?
During the last four years our domestic tourist visits increased from 54 lakh in 2009 to 105 lakh in 2010, to 191 lakh in 2012. The increase in tourist visits in 2012 over 2011 was 15 per cent. Though the foreign tourist visits showed a decline during 2012, from 1.50 lakh in 2011 to 1.43 lakh in 2012, it was on an upswing again in 2013. The quick estimates for the first half of 2013 reveal a noticeable increase in both domestic tourist visits (111 lakh) and foreign tourist visits (1.08 lakh). Tourism is growing on the basis of inter-state domestic tourist visits in a big way.
What are the plans for developing tourism in the state?
Punjab Tourism aims to achieve qualitative growth with an inspiring brand image that draws inspiration from the state’s diverse natural and cultural heritage. Tourism infrastructure development, product development, capacity development of stakeholders and targeted marketing are some of the means we are adopting to achieve the goal. New tourism products like farm tourism, bed and breakfast scheme, tented accommodation and eco tourism have been introduced recently.
Any special initiatives being undertaken to encourage tourism in Punjab?
To promote Punjab as a film shooting destination, to provide an impetus to the local film industry and to institute an awards scheme, PHTPB has signed an MoU with NFDC and a draft policy is currently ready for finalisation. The government of Punjab recently signed an MoU with UNESCO to advise us on conservation of our monuments and tangible and intangible assets. The Punjab government has set up a special fund to be used for this conservation work. Amritsar is being developed as a tourist hub by the state government with an aim to showcase its monuments (historical and religious), markets and eateries. A heritage village is being set up in Amritsar through an investment of Rs 12 crore. Punjab is also focusing on new tourism projects like the recently opened state-of-the-art museum Virasat-e-Khalsa at Sri Anandpur Sahib and Patiala Heritage Walk. Punjab is creating many destinations/ tourism products like the Sikh Circuit for Amritsar with an investment of Rs 250 crore aiming at improving basic urban infrastructure and tourist facilities/services at existing and emerging tourist destinations. The Darbar Circuit comprising of towns associated with the erstwhile princely state is being set up with an investment of Rs 50 crore. Other circuits being planned are Rural Tourism Cluster Circuit and Border Circuit.
How are wetlands like Ropar, Keshopar, Nangal being developed?
To develop the wetlands of Punjab for conservation and promotion of eco-tourism activities in the area, PHTPB has included development infrastructure and related activities under the ADB assisted Infrastructure Development Investment Programme for Tourism. Under Tranche-1, currently underway, Keshopur Community Reserve has been included and development of the area in terms of habitat improvement, creation of tourist facilities and involvement of local community through formation of self-help groups, etc is going on. During Tranche-2, the remaining major wetlands like Harike, Ropar, Nangal, etc will be taken up for development. Preparation of a special project for the wetlands is in the advanced stage. A total of Rs 40 crore will be utilised for the development of the eco-tourism project under the ADB assisted tourism programme.
What was the revenue generation for financial year 2013-14?
The net revenue earned from all sources during 2013-14 is estimated at over Rs five crore as against Rs six crore during 2012-13.