Interview: Improved law and order boosted tourism in Uttar Pradesh, says Jaiveer Singh

The Uttar Pradesh government has taken several measures to boost the tourism sector and make the state a major tourist destination. Tourism and Culture Minister Jaiver Singh spoke to Rajesh Kumar Singh about the department’s initiative and future plans for the development of the sector.

Uttar Pradesh Tourism and Culture Minister Jaiveer Singh (HT FILE PHOTO)

What measures have been taken by the tourism department to boost the tourism sector?

Improving law and order in the state has given a boost to the tourism sector in Uttar Pradesh. In 2022, the state witnessed a record domestic tourist inflow of 32 crores. The state tourism department is working to provide amenities to the tourists. The focus is on infrastructure development to facilitate the movement of tourists to various points. Road, air and water connectivity to various tourist spots has been improved.

The country has three operational international airports and 17 runways. Air connectivity is increasing to ensure that tourists reach the places easily. Construction of new international airports and runways is underway in various areas.

Air traffic has increased as well as the number of passengers traveling by air. Air traffic increased from 46,585 in 2016-17 to 82,615 in 2022-23. Passenger numbers increased from 59.97 lakh in 2016-17 to 96.02 lakh in 2022-23 .

To improve aerial facilities, the Uttar Pradesh government is building helicopters at important religious and tourist sites. Tourist sites in all districts will have air connectivity. The state government is working on developing the network of roads in all the districts connecting the important religious and tourist places.

We are also developing the inland waterway transport network. The religious and tourist places located along the banks of the rivers will have water transportation system. To promote rural tourism, the department has selected 229 villages for home stays.

What initiative has the department taken to promote ecotourism?

To give a boost to ecotourism, the state tourism department has tied up with AYUSH, PWD and forest departments to set up Ayurvedic therapy centers in the facilities and guest houses run by the forest department near wildlife sanctuaries. The state government has relaxed 1,000 crores to PWD for road infrastructure development.

The office of the Culture Department was at the divisional headquarters level. Now the state government has set up the district board of tourism and culture in all the 75 districts. The chairmen of the council are elected deputies, and its members will be people’s representatives. Prominent artists will be proposed for council members.

What initiative has the department taken to support artists?

To help local artists, the state government has organized online registration of all artists in various fields. They are categorized according to their capabilities. The terms and conditions for their participation in various cultural events have been specified.

They are invited to the mahotavas organized at the district level and other cultural programs. To check corruption, the fee is credited to their accounts. Clubs have been established in colleges and universities to encourage talented youth. Competitions are organized in educational institutions to identify outstanding artists.

What steps have been taken to revive the losing units?

The state government has taken measures to revive loss-making non-operating tourist guest houses located in various districts under public-private partnership model. The tourist bungalows will be rented out to private operators. A private company is building a five-star hotel in Sonauli, located on the border with Nepal in the Maharajganj district.

Under the new tourism policy, the tourism sector has been given the status of an industry. This has sent a positive signal among investors as several of them have shown interest in investing in guest houses and bungalows located in various destinations.

What initiatives have been taken by the Department of Tourism to check corruption and poor quality works?

The Department of Tourism and Culture is the only department in the state that conducts a third-party quality inspection of all construction work. Construction of buildings and other structures is done by the experts of Quality Council of India, IITs and IIMs. Actions have been taken against the offending agencies and officials for the shoddy construction work.

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