Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that the Government was making earnest efforts to exploit tourism potential of the state to its full. He said that appropriate infrastructure was being developed to attract more domestic and foreign tourists besides increasing the hotel occupancy and providing them with all best possible facilities.

Chief Minister was presiding over the Board of Directors Meeting of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC), here today. He said that the corporation was doing a commendable job in promoting tourism industry and ensuring that the State remains a premier tourist destination in the country as well as all over the world.

Virbhadra Singh said the corporation had earned profit during the current financial year, adding that the income of the corporation was Rs. 75 crore against the expenditure of Rs.72 crore, thereby registering gross profit of rupees three crore. The profit target for the year 2013-14 had been fixed at Rs. six crore which was almost double of this years profit. He said that the initiatives taken by the corporation were laudable to increase its earnings and thereby contribute towards the State’s economy.

The test run for providing Wi-Fi facilities in HPTDC volvo buses on Delhi-Manali and Delhi-Shimla routes was a welcome step as it would provide internet facilities to the commuters on their mobiles, I-pods and laptops, said the Chief Minister.

Principal Secretary, HPTDC, V.C. Pharka said that to boost tourism in the State the corporation had signed MoU’s with Delhi and Goa Tourism to book each others properties and further tie-up was being finalized with other States like Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan so that more and more people from these states visits such places and vice-versa.

Pharka said that HPTDC had collected data base of more than 80000 mobile users and e-mail ID’s of tourists and travel agents for bulk SMS and e-mail campaigns for promotion of tourism. The corporation was also exploring possibilities of social media marketing through twitter and face book etc. He said that the search engine optimization had been started by Subscribing to Google marketing web-tools for ensuring better presence of HPTDC website on Goggle search Engine.

Managing Director-cum-Director, HPTDC Subhasish Panda detailed about the various facilities and initiatives being taken by the corporation to make it a profit-earning unit. He said that the corporation had introduced many new packages for tourists visiting the State. The packages would benefit and promote religious, adventure and heritage tourism and special honeymoon packages, toy train packages etc. would go a long way in attracting more tourist arrivals and their longer stay in the State.

Panda said that the corporation had fixed a target of earning Rs. 86 crore in 2013-14 and restrict its expenditure to Rs. 80 crore to make the corporation financially strong and viable. Manish Garg, Secretary Finance, Yogesh Behl, General Manger HPTDC and other officers were also present on the occasion.