THE PUNJAB Cabinet Thursday gave its nod to a draft of the state tourism policy that aims at doubling the annual tourist visits from 25 million to 50 million in the next five years by creating new infrastructure and improving the existing one.
Besides attracting both domestic as well as foreign tourists to the state, the policy deals with various aspects of tourism, including human resource development, marketing and promotion, rural tourism and infrastructure development, medical tourism, heritage tourism and film tourism. Local Bodies Minister, Navjot Singh Sidhu told media persons that the new policy would help attract a large number of tourists. The policy envisages investment promotion in the field of tourism through an investment portfolio for the information and motivation of potential investors. The state government’s investment portfolio would include projects pertaining to accommodation, transport, organisation of conducted tours, conferences and conventions, and related fields.
“Producer-Director JP Dutta met Chief Minister (Amarinder Singh) recently and said they want to shoot here but face a lot of problems. We will ensure we attract film-makers for shooting in Punjab and we get revenue,” he said. The minister added that health tourism could also give a fillip to the state’s economy. “We have enough land to set up medical institutions.”
The minister said under the Circuit Touring, conceived by them, thematic circuits would be promoted for tourists. These would include the Mughal Circuit, the Maharajah Circuit, Amritsar Circuit, the Patiala Trail, the Ludhiana Circuit, the Chandigarh Circuit, the Nature Circuit; the Ferozepur Circuit (comprising the Indo-Pak frontier trail), Taste Punjab, the Punjab Retreat, Fashionable Punjab, Punjab in Style, Festive Punjab, and Punjab Agri-tours.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to generate Rs 200 crore in revenue for the state through ‘Punjab Municipal Outdoor Advertisement Policy-2018’. The policy will regulate the advertisements put on billboards in cities of the state.
Sidhu said the Local Government Department had examined the existing outdoor advertisement policies/byelaws of the municipalities of the neighbouring states such as Haryana, Delhi etc. “We found out that some cities were making huge profits. We are now amending the ‘The Punjab Outdoor Advertisement Policy-2012’” of Akalis that caused a loss to the state exchequer but benefited the private persons,” he said.
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