Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Navjot Singh Sidhu chaired a high level meeting here today in which he disclosed that a comprehensive plan is being chalked out to make Punjab a hub of tourism sector besides connecting the youth with the rich cultural heritage of the state.
Divulging more, the Minister said that there are ample places of cultural importance which deserve to be included amongst the ‘World Heritage Sites’ besides some other landmarks which fall under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). He further said that UNESCO would be approached after coordinating with ASI to get such places included amongst World Heritage Sites.
The Minister also said that Punjab has glorious cultural heritage and scores of devotees from all parts of the globe come to have a glimpse of religious and spiritual places. He also elaborated that Punjab has the potential to emerge as the front-line destination on world tourism map and based on this, the state would be developed to realize its tremendous potential ultimately leading to the boosting of its economy. He also directed the officials of the department to maintain the original look of the cultural landmarks and warned that anybody tampering with these places would not be spared. The Minister also batted for connecting the youth with rich cultural heritage of Punjab through WEB TV as this is the internet age and present day youth is hooked to it.
Sidhu also divulged that every day 125000 tourists visit Amritsar who return the same day after paying obeisance at Sri Darbar Sahib. Giving more details, he said that Amritsar alone has marvelous places like- Durgiana Mandir, Jallianwala Bagh, War Memorial, Wagah-Attari Border, Gobindgarh Fort, Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal which have great tourist potential. He expressed confidence that Amritsar can emerge as the leading player in the tourism sector and the number of people visiting the ‘Holy City’ can increase manifold by providing every facility to them. Expressing enthusiasm for encouraging tourism through domestic airports, Sidhu said that if Pathankot airport is operationalised then the area around Ranjit Sagar dam could be developed as prime centre of ‘Adventure Sports’ where tourists would make a beeline on the pattern of Goa.
The Minister also floated the idea of connecting 3 takht sahiban and other religious places in Punjab through a circuit which would lead to rapid increase in the number of devotees. Similarly, he also rooted for linking historical forts, sarais, memorials and other spots through a circuit besides a film city which would give fillip to film tourism in the state. Instructing the departmental officials to work in this direction, he was all for raising independent sources of income for the memorials constructed in the state so as to make them financially self sufficient.
The Minister also laid emphasis on bolstering tourism through folk music, instruments, traditional festivals and craft items. He also disclosed that the Punjab Government is soon bringing out a cultural policy which would give a huge boost to the tourism sector.
Among others present on the occasion included Principal Secretary, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Jaspal Singh, Director Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa, Dr. Amar Singh and officers of the various wings of the department.