Uttarakhand Chief Minister Puskar Singh Dhami has asserted that he is expecting a boom in the Char Dham Yatra this season and called upon all the stakeholders to be prepared for a record footfall this season.
The Chief Minister addressed the inaugural Uttarakhand Tourism and Hospitality Conference 2022 organised by Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board in Dehradun recently. The conference witnessed to the launch of short commercial films ‘Apnatey Hai Dil Khol Ke’. The films by UTDB based on themes of overall tourism, wellness tourism and Homestays and meant to promote tourism in the state.
Dhami said interest in Char Dham was back on track after two years of pandemic challenge and pilgrims and tourists in big numbers are expected to arrive in the state. “Last two years, Char Dham was not smooth due to pandemic and the subsequent restrictions due to it. But now this year we are expecting a record footfall,” Dhami pointed out.
Referring to better connectivity, Chief Minister asserted that the day was not far when travel time between Delhi and Dehradun will be just two hours. “Elevated road is coming up that will provide faster and smoother connectivity between Delhi and Dehradun, and people would then prefer travelling by road than taking a flight,” he added.
Uttarakhand Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj stressed on promoting caravan and camping tourism. “It’s like “Room on Wheels”. Our state has lot of opportunities on that count. What we need is to develop campground with toilets and cafeteria on it,” Maharaj said. He called upon the stakeholders to become service provider emphasizing that tourist are bread and butter for the state.
Maharaj also referred to the importance of winter tourism besides Char Dham Yatra. “Char Dham is in summer season, we need to promote skiing and other linked activities to promote winter tourism too’, he added. He also reminded of assistance provided to the tourism stakeholders during the trying times of pandemic.
Earlier, Tourism Secretary Dilip Jawalkar said that the state in last two decades has made a place for itself in the tourism world and was today an all-weather destination. Referring to commercial films launch, Jawalkar said the films were meant to promote tourism in Uttarakhand.
The Board has developed a mobile app for the safety of devotees coming this year on Char Dham yatra or a pilgrimage to the Hemkunt Sahib. The need to develop an app like this was felt after the 2013 Kedarnath disaster in which thousands of people were killed and thousands went missing. Once they have registered themselves on the app, a tab will be kept on their movement en route to the five centres of faith with the help of 28 high definition cameras put up at 14 pre-identified locations along the travel route, Jawalkar said.
Additional Director Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board Vivek Singh Chauhan accorded the vote of thanks. Col Ashwin Pundhir, Additional Chief Executive Officer (Adventure) was present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, the state government is preparing a master plan for the expansion of Auli at a cost of about 250 crores. The ground exercise has started regarding this and these days the officials are doing survey work in Auli. Till now, Auli, which was famous for snow sports, is now planned to be developed as an international tourist destination. Recently, the National Games of Skiing was organized here.