ADB to invest 90 m dollars in unexplored Himachal sites

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Shimla, Oct 5 (UNI) The Asian Development Bank proposes to invest over 90 Million US Dollars in tourism-related infrastructure in the virgin scenic locales of Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said here today.

The Chief Minister, after his meeting with the five-member Asian Development Bank team led by Michael Green, said the Bank has agreed in principle to invest a sum of 90 million US Dollars in building tourism infrastructure, restoration and conservation of historical properties, community development-related projects and promoting local cultural heritage.

Mr Green, along with other members of the team including Mustafa Ahmed, Gurmeet Rai, Vidhwanathan and Bhuminathan had identified various tourism circuits and other allied tourism promotion activities after a tour of eight of the twelve districts of the state.

Prof Dhumal said that the ADB teams explored areas which had remained unexplored due to inadequate infrastructure and about 60 sites visited by the team had elements of cultural and religious tourism, nature tourism, eco-tourism, adventure tourism and allied activities.

He said that the ADB funding would enhance capacities of implementing and executing agencies and the project would ensure creation of quality tourism infrastructure and services, the benefits of which were bound to percolate down to local communities leading to the socio-economic growth of the state.

Mr Green told newspersons that the ADB had prepared a detailed Roadmap for Tourism Infrastructure Development in the country, which included Himachal Pradesh also, covering tourism endowments, market trends and tourism potential.

The Bank intended to create and enhance institutional and regulatory frameworks useful for promotion of environmentally and culturally sustainable, socially inclusive and financially viable tourism and had selected states which had effective protection and conservation of natural and cultural heritage resources and sites, not covered under the existing legislation.

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