Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said that a Convention Centre having a capacity of more than 1500 persons would be developed by the State Government in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The need of having a Convention Centre in the State was being felt as more than 50 conferences were held in Shimla town during a calendar year.

Chief Minister said that this modern State of Art Convention Centre would be located at Kiarighat which would house a big auditorium, shopping arcade, food courts etc. in aesthetic ‘Pahari’ architecture. The centre is likely to come up within the next four years and expected to boost the tourist arrival by two percent to Shimla town and surrounding areas, and the average stay of the tourists was expected to increase to three days in Shimla town, he added.

Chief Minister said that tourism was number one industry in the State and about 5000 trained persons were required each year for running the tourism trade in the State. He said that during the last four years, State Government has already developed an Institute of Hotel Management at Hamirpur and a Food Craft Institute at Dharamsala. Another Institute of Hotel Management was to be established in Manali within the next three years at a cost of Rs. 12 crore, he added.

Prof. Dhumal further said that tourism in rural areas was getting a new dimension and now eco- tourism, adventure tourism facilities would also be covered under the flagship programme ‘Har Gaon Ki Kahani’. He said that parking facility at Kufri was dedicated to people and steps to reinvent Kufri were afoot. He said that a sign board will be installed to commemorate ‘yahoo’, the famous trendsetter of Shri Shammi Kapoor.

He further directed the officials of Tourism Department to ensure that the ponies carrying tourists at all the tourist destinations in the State should have collection bags for the ponies’ waste so that the area could be kept clean. He also directed that the forest catchment areas in Shimla be kept as per the standards and not to allow ponies, stray animals in the catchment area. He directed that the wayside amenities at Kufri be opened to the tourists without further loss of time.

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