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29 September 2011

Madhya Pradesh to become best tourism state soon: Tourism Minister

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By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Tourism Minister Tukojirao Puar has said that the state will soon emerge as best tourism state in the country. Private sector and tour operators will have an important role in this.

Mr. Puar was speaking as chief guest at state-level Tourism Awards distribution function held at Hotel Jehan Numa Palace on the occasion of World Tourism Day on Tuesday. Chairman of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation Dr. Mohan Yadav, Deputy Chairman Santosh Jain, Principal Secretary Tourism Deepak Khandekar, Secretary and Commissioner Tourism Hariranjan Rao and Managing Director Pankaj Raag were the guests of honour on the occasion.

At the function, office-bearers of tour operators associations, officers and employees of the corporation and others were honoured for their contribution to promoting tourism. Three books and one print-aid were also released.

Mr. Puar said that Madhya Pradesh has made unprecedented progress in tourism sector during the last five years. It is a state where tourism has multiple hues. Here all kinds of tourism are available including religious, adventure, wildlife etc. The only requirement is full utilisation of this potential for which the proper infrastructure is being developed in the state. He said that private players and tour operators have to essay an important role in this connection. The days are not far off when tourism will be the biggest revenue-generating sector in Madhya Pradesh. He said efforts are afoot to provide best services available to tourists of all categories in the state. Air-taxi services have been started, which is going to yield good results. Madhya Pradesh will soon emerge on the map of world tourism prominently.

Corporation's Chairman Dr. Mohan Yadav said that concept of tourism is age-old in India. About 1400 years ago, Adi Shankaracharya had termed journey to Char Dham (four pilgrimages) as the biggest achievement of his life and had given the message that tourism increase life's experiences.

Managing Director Pankaj Rag informed that a target has been fixed to attract one percent tourists of the world to Madhya Pradesh under 12th Five-Year Plan. For this, attention is being given to aggressive marketing and infrastructure development.

Mr. Rag said that special attention has been given to development of less famous tourist destination situated around famous tourist places so that a tourist does not return from the main tourism destination in just a day and instead stays for some more days to enjoy all the nearby tourist places. He said that efforts are being made for making air-taxi link available between Agra and Khajuraho. Besides, film tourism is also being promoted. For this, a road show will be held in Mumbai in October.

Three books were also released on the occasion. One book is focused on Ratlam, Neemuch and Mandsaur, second on Bhojpur-Bhimbethka and third one on Omkareshwar-Maheshwar.

Deputy Chairman of Indian Association of Tour Operators Pradeep Sarkar said that Madhya Pradesh has become a very tourism-friendly state now. Its campaigns on radio and TV are quite impressive. Tour operators' attention towards Madhya Pradesh has increased due to road shows organised by Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation. Due to this, the number of tourist coming to Madhya Pradesh has risen. He lavished praise on air taxi and other tourism facilities in the state.

President of Association of Domestic Tour Operators Subhash Verma said lauded Madhya Pradesh government's effort to promote domestic tourism. He said that domestic tourism is not tourism alone, but also a source to promote national integrity and unity and generate employment. Madhya Pradesh has now become a leading state in tourism sector.

At the outset, the guests lighted a lamp to inaugurate the function. Mementoes were presented to the guests. Corporation's Deputy Chairman Santosh Jain proposed a vote of thanks at the conclusion of the function.

State Tourism Awards

Meanwhile, on the occasion, awards of various categories were given away to 36 persons for special contribution in tourism sector. They included Deepak Deva of Kuoni Destination India Management, Gurgaon, and Yadvendra Singh of Star Adventure Himalayan Sports Institute (Adventure Sports) in tour operator category, M.S. Gujral of Hotel Rishi Regency Jabalpur, P.J. Pillai of Welcome Heritage Narmada Jackson Jabalpur, Nadir Rasheed of Renipani Lodge Madai, Dharmesh Karippa of Hotel Chandela Khajuraho, and Anil Kumar of Ambrosia Hotel Fortune Landmark Indore in the hotel category. Tourist guides Lakhanlal Rajak and Ghanshyam Goswami, tourist operator Vijay Singh Parihar, and Mrs. Naseem Yusuf, Mrs. Arti Khedekar, Mr. Tahir in other special categories and Surendra Singh, H.S. Mohanta, B.P. Nagaich, Rajat Charkarvarti were also honoured on the occasion apart from Hoshangabad Collector Nishant Badbade at the Tourist Friendly Collector.

Similarly, officers and employees were also honoured with awards for putting in best services. They include S.K. Gupta, Ujjain; Ashok Sahu, Bhopal; D.S. Parihar, Indore; Rakesh Argal, Bhopal; Mrs. Mini Thomas, Bhopal; Yuvraj Padole, Nagpur; Vilash Purdare, Gwalior; Rudra Bahadur Khadag, Gwalior; Mohammad Rafi, Pachmarhi; Ram Bhuvan Gupta, Satna; Shyam Dave, Kota-Bargi; Ganeshilal, Khajuraho; Tejpal, Pachmarhi; Rajendra Tarul, Ahmadadbad; Shekhar Athle, Bhopal; Chandrabhan Rai, Bhopal; M.S. Rana, Orchha; S.A. Naqvi, Bhopal; Ajid Dhar, Kolkata; Ajay Sharma, Pachmarhi; A.U. Khan, Pachmarhi; and M. Joseph, Bhedaghat.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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