Shimla – Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu presented the much-anticipated Budget 2024-25 in the Vidhan Sabha, unveiling an array of visionary initiatives aimed at propelling tourism development in Himachal Pradesh.

In a significant move to enhance connectivity and accessibility, the Chief Minister announced the development of a Sky Walk Bridge near Kufri, promising an exhilarating experience for tourists visiting the picturesque region. This marks a major stride in the state’s commitment to elevating the tourism sector.

Heliports to Boost Connectivity:

One of the highlights of the budget is the proposal to develop a total of 16 heliports across the state, with the first phase focusing on nine key locations. Heliports in Jaskot (Hamirpur), Rakkar and Palampur (Kangra), Sultanpur (Chamba), Aaloo Ground (Manali, Kullu), Sharbo (Kinnaur), and Jispa, Sissu, and Rangrik (Lahaul-Spiti) are set to be developed. The feasibility study for these heliports has been completed, with construction set to begin at Rakkar, Palampur, Reckong-Peo, and Chamba at an estimated cost of Rs.13 crore per heliport.

The second phase will witness the construction of heliports at Pangi and Holi (Chamba), Auhar (Bilaspur), Dharkiyari (Sirmaur), Chanshal Dhar (Shimla), Jankaur Harr (Una), and Galanag (Solan). The state government plans to seek assistance from ‘Pawan Hans Limited’ through the Government of India to facilitate the construction of these heliports.

Tourist Destinations and Master Plan for Pong Dam:

In a commitment to comprehensive tourism development, a master plan has been prepared for the development and management of Pong Dam under Swadesh Darshan-2. Additionally, the government has identified five new tourist destinations that will be developed to enhance the overall tourism experience. These destinations include Chandratal, Kaza, and Tandi in Lahaul-Spiti, and Rackchham and Nako–Chango–Khab in Kinnaur.

Streamlining Home Stay Units:

Acknowledging the importance of providing quality facilities to tourists, Chief Minister Sukhu announced the inclusion of all Home Stay Units in the state under the ambit of the ‘Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development and Registration Act.’ This strategic move aims to streamline operations, ensuring improved services and experiences for visitors.

The budget’s focus on tourism development reflects the government’s commitment to making Himachal Pradesh a premier tourist destination. The announcement of the Sky Walk Bridge, the expansion of heliports, and the development of new tourist destinations underscore the state’s determination to offer diverse and enriching experiences to both domestic and international travellers.