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From rural to spiritual, UP govt plans to tap state’s tourism potential

To achieve its target of Rs 10,000 crore investment in the tourism sector, the government is chalking out strategies to develop “Focus Tourists Destinations” and theme-based tourism.

During the Deepotsav in Ayodhya in October. File

Building on the success of Ramayana and Buddhist tourist circuits, the Uttar Pradesh government has lined up a number of plans to tap the state’s tourism potential and is hopeful that its revamped tourism policy would be able to attract investors and generate revenue and employment.

To achieve its target of Rs 10,000 crore investment in the tourism sector, the government is chalking out strategies to develop “Focus Tourists Destinations” and theme-based tourism.

At a curtain raiser for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Global Investors Summit-2023, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath called tourism the “priority sector” for the state.

The new tourism policy also lists 12 “Thematic Tourism Sectors,” which include heritage, art and culture, spiritual and religious tourism, rural village, tribal and agriculture-based tourism, nature and wildlife, water sports, adventure tourism, wellness and medical tourism, youth centric tourism, cuisine tourism, wedding destination tourism and film tourism.

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Uttar Pradesh is home to three UNESCO world heritage monuments — Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort. It is dotted with several religious and cultural sites such as Ayodhya, Varanasi, Sarnath, Kushinagar Mathura and Vrindavan. The state also has a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna including one national park, 11 wildlife sanctuaries and 24 bird sanctuaries.

In its theme-based tourism, the government is planning to take taking tourists to remote villages as part of its rural, village, tribal and agriculture tourism to capitalise on its farm-based economy.

“This, for instance, will provide tourists with the opportunity to experience rustic life. Tourists can therefore experience the daily activities of the village… It will also include film tourism, which will allow visitors to witness movies being shot in rural settings,” an official said.

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“Farm and plantation tourism can augment the income from agricultural activities and de-risk farmers to some extent from weather vagaries,” the new tourism policy states.

An “agri tourism” sector has been separately created for promotion under the new policy, which states that “agri tourism” is a form of “niche tourism” that includes active involvement in any agriculture-based operation or activity.

The policy promises a wide range of services and activities that may be offered under agri tourism, including guided tours, participation in agricultural activities, knowledge sessions, animal rides and local cuisine.

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Another significant focus of the new tourism policy is on promoting “religious and spiritual” tourism by developing 12 mega circuits across the state, including Ramayana Circuit, Krishna or Braj Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Sufi Kabir Circuit, Jain Circuit, Shakti Peeth Circuit, Adhyatmik Circuit (Spiritual), Bundelkhand Circuit, Freedom Fighters Circuit, Mahabharata Circuit, Wildlife and Eco-Tourism Circuit circuit.

It aims to provide travellers with “a hassle-free, serene and spiritual experience” while visiting the “crucible of religious, spiritual, and academic thoughts.”

“Focus shall be placed on interconnecting the state circuits with national and international travel itineraries. End-to-end infrastructure development would be undertaken to facilitate seamless national and international connectivity,” the policy states.

First published on: 05-12-2022 at 01:12 IST
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