CAG report raps KMVNL for low tourist occupancy levels

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Dehra Dun, Mar 8 (UNI) The performance review of tourism-related activities of the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd (KMVNL) has pointed out a sharp decrease in the percentage of tourists availing its facilities, the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has stated.

The CAG report for the year ended March 31 2007, tabled in the state Assembly yesterday, stated that ''no defined targets were set by the Nigam and it continued to make losses whereas private hotels weaned away the increased and major portion on tourist traffic''.

It has recommended that the Nigam adopt ''aggressive marketing strategies'' to upgrade and improve its infrastructure and room service facilities to attract more tourists.

As per the report's findings, an average of 11.18 tourists visited Kumaon region during 2002-07, of which a marginal 0.87 lakh utilised the services of the Tourist Rest Houses (TRH).

The audit report cited locational disadvantages, poor services, lack of infrastructure in remote areas and generators, absence of facilities such as health clubs and poor publicity as major factors for low occupancy in the TRHs.

The CAG noted that during 2002-07, the Nigam operated 44 TRHs, including three new ones on lease by the state government and earned a profit of Rs 2.72 crore.

It observed ''the actual profit/loss made by the Nigam after payment of lease rent to the State government could not be verified'', despite the Nigam having fixed separate performance indicators for the operation of both the TRHs and canteens.

Though the management stated in November 2007 that occupancy levels depended on tourist season, the report held that during 2002-07, tourist inflow had increased marginally (from 9.71 lakh to 12.80 lakh) and concluded that instead of utilising the facilities of the Nigam's TRHs, private hotels weaned away the chunk of tourist arrivals.

''There was an overall lack of directions and strategic planning because of which rich potential in cultural, Eco and Adventure tourism could not be tapped. Imaginative ideas to build a brand to fully exploit the rich heritage of the Kumaon region, was clearly missing'', the report stated.

UNI PB SW RN1731

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