Development of tourist destinations: Key area of focus

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New Delhi, May 15 (UNI) Identification and development of tourist destinations and circuits will continue to remain the central plank of the tourism development strategy in the country, according to a report.

The Tourism Ministry has identified mega destinations and circuits of national importance and already sanctioned projects for Nalanda-Bodhgaya-Rajgir, Varanasi-Sarnath, Agra, Delhi and Kurukshetra.

The Tourism Ministry's annual report said the development of world class infrastructure in these destinations and circuits was going to remain a key area of focus in the tourism strategy.

''The Ministry's support to such infrastructure projects takes two forms - financial assistance to the states/union territories, and financial assistance to projects to be implemented on public-private partnership basis.

''This scheme is meant to assist large revenue generating projects to be implemented in public-private partnership as well as in partnership with the semi-government agencies; the quantum of assistance is determined through competitive bidding process. Each of the schemes has a separate ceiling of maximum assistance.'' Tourism being a cross-cutting sector, building synergies with other ministries and sectors would be critical in achieving efficiency and speed in the development process, the report said. The effort was on to synergise with the Urban Development Ministry's Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), which is being implemented in 63 selected cities in the country for the integrated development of infrastructure services, urban renewal, basic services to the urban port, asset management and urban governance, it added.

The report further said convergence with the JNNURM would ensure that there was no duplication and would maximise the impact of investments on infrastructure.

An important high-level forum to achieve consensus and co-ordination among various infrastructure related ministries, the Committee on Infrastructure, chaired by the Prime Minister, includes the Tourism Ministry.

The Committee was expected to play an important role in the Ministry's endeavour to secure co-ordination with other ministries in the implementation of its policies and programmes.

An undertaking by the beneficiary state governments/union territories provided for the management and maintenance of the tourism assets created with the central assistance.

Regular and periodic inspection and review of the centrally funded projects by the senior officials of the Tourism Ministry constituted the key oversight mechanism to ensure quality implementation and timely completion.

The impact and effectiveness of various schemes were evaluated by independent professional agencies.

UNI AG LS RN1713

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