The Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation Board in its 128th Meeting of the Board of Directors held here under the Chairmanship of Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, today, granted approval for setting up of an Eco-Tourism-cum-Nature Camp of pre fabricated Tourist Huts at Sangla in district Kinnaur to give boost to eco tourism promotion activities in the tribal area of the State in a big way.

Addressing the Board Chief Minister said that the State Government was endeavouring to explore unexplored areas for eco tourism and nature camps so that visitors could holiday in close proximity with the nature at its best. He said that Sangla area in tribal district of Kinnaur was coming up as a preferred destination to nature lovers and number of visitors was increasing year after year. He said that keeping in view the demand the HPTDC would be developing an Eco Tourism-cum-Nature Camp in the area and deliver visitors best of the traditional Himachali hospitality. He said that upgradation and modernization of four number of passenger lifts in Shimla connecting Cart road with the Mall road was a long felt need and keeping in view the increasing number of users the same would be modernized and upgraded to meet the pressing demand of the people. He said that one additional lift with capacity of 13 persons would also be constructed adjacent to the existing lift to facilitate smooth service to the tourists. He said that possibilities would also be explored to construct elevators in the town so that people could conveniently land on The Mall road. He said that additionally possibilities were also being explored to connect the new ISBT with the old Bus Stand for the convenience of the commuters.

Chief Minister said that with the strengthening of paying capacity of the tourists more quality infrastructural facilities were being created in the Corporation. He said that besides purchasing five new Volvo buses to transport tourists between Manali and Rohtang besides two new Volvo buses and two mini AC buses would also be purchased by the Corporation. He said that possibilities would also be explored to connect Dalhousie with Volvo bus service and ascertain viability of the route. He underlined the need for evolving an effective marketing strategy to market the lesser known destinations in the State where the Corporation had created infrastructural facilities and attract visitors to visit such places which would not only explore the areas to the outside world but also generate economic activities in the area. He advised to offer attractive off-season and off-beat destination packages to generate income for the Corporation besides involving tour and travel agents in marketing the places in the market.

Chief Minister congratulated the Corporation for earning a net profit of Rs. 7 crore during the period of April to November, 2011. He said that HPTDC carried a name in hospitality industry and was known for typical Himachali cuisines. He said that the Corporation needed to diversify its income generating activities and minimize the expenditure by adopting strictly a professional approach in managing its affairs. He said that hospitality happened to be the fastest growing industry in the world and the Management needed to keep pace with the global trends in the industry. He said that possibilities of engaging young and energetic marketing experts needed to be explored so that maximum income generating activities were added to the Corporation. He also advised the Management to explore possibilities of having tie-up with private hoteliers meeting the hospitality standards of the Corporation hotels at tourist destinations where it had no unit operational.

It has been decided in the Board to convert the posts of Helpers into Assistant Waiter, Peon and Utility Workers and Cooks into Commi-IV. Manisha Nanda, Principal Secretary, Tourism, apprised the Board of the various innovative initiatives taken to strengthen the hospitality in the Corporation. She said that special drive would be launched to attract tourists visit the lesser known tourist destinations by offering special packages. Vineet Kumar, Managing Director, HPTDC, welcomed the Chief Minister and conducted proceedings of the Meeting. Detailed discussions were held on various issues pertaining to improvement of the services to the customers besides exploring new horizons to generate income to the Corporation.

Rajwant Sandhu, Chief Secretary, Dr. Shrikant Baldi, Principal Secretary Finance, Dr. Arun Sharma, Director of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Yogesh Behl, General Manager, HPTDC, Non-Official Members, and other senior officers attended the meeting.