"To make tourism the Prime Engine of Economic Growth in the state by positioning it as a leading Global destination by the year 2020."
1.1 Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The number of tourists worldwide has been registering phenomenal growth and it is expected that this number would shortly touch 1.5 billion. Tourism contributes about 11% of the world workforce and 10.2% of the global gross domestic product. The dynamic growth of this industry is evident from the fact a new job is added to the sector every 2.5 second.
1.2 This pattern and dynamic character of the Sector necessitates the policy to adapt to the changing environment. Policies are products of time and circumstances, available resources and technologies and most importantly, the needs of the stakeholders.
1.3 This Policy document aims to provide clear direction for the development of tourism in the State. Himachal Pradesh is already a well-established and recognized tourist destination. It seeks to harness the fullest potential of the State for Development of tourism, which in turn can be a prime engine for economic growth and prosperity of the State, besides effectively addressing the problems of unemployment and poverty. This document is a result of wide range of consultations within and outside the Government, including the industry, tourism unit operators and other stakeholders. Besides outlining the policy, the document also lists out the strategy for implementation, as also specific action plans to implement the policy.
1.4 Nature has bestowed Himachal Pradesh with unique beauty and splendor with its lush green valleys, snow covered Himalayan ranges, a serene, peaceful, hospitable and comfortable environment ,smiling people and a rich cultural heritage - which tourists would be hard put to find elsewhere.
1.5 Being in the lap or Himalayas this fact becomes its natural and unique USP with global appeal. The outer fringe of Himachal is formed by the Shiwalik hills, which are characterized by shallow valleys and dense scrub forests. The mid ranges have the majestic Himalayan cedar and the spruces - followed by alpine meadows that intersperse themselves with the snow clad peaks of the Greater Himalaya.
1.6 Tourism, as we understand it today, in Himachal Pradesh, received recognition only in the 19th century, when the British established their chain of hill stations. Earlier, Himachal had been a destination for pilgrims only. A fillip to tourism was administered when British declared Shimla as summer capital of India in 1864. Post independence and up -gradation as fledged State in the year 1971 led to more investment in the infrastructure sector leading to opening up of the state. However the biggest explosion in tourism occurred in the mid 80s and 90s with the Kashmir problem when the number of hotels and hotel rooms increased within this period from 350 to present 1710 and 6300 to 36000 respectively with its concomitant chaos and haphazard growth which the State would have done well without. With the wisdom of hind sight the State is now more equipped to deal with the problems of yesteryears and this document attempts to address those very problems.
1.7 During the year 2004, the tourist arrivals in the state were 6.5 million which is roughly equivalent to the population of the State.( 2.04 lacs were foreigners).In terms of numbers therefore the State has done more than expected. The challenge now is to attract quality tourists and increase the stay of the tourists in the State .We also need to think globally as even the domestic tourists today have a choice unlike in the past. By focussing on quality tourist the State Government also aims at promoting sustainable tourism and encouraging the private sector to develop tourism related infrastructure in the State – without disturbing the existing ecology and environment.
1.8 In order to increase the duration of the stay of the visitors/tourists, a special emphasis is being placed on the development of activity-based tourism and opening up new sub destinations. To promote tourism in the countryside and to lesser-known areas, appropriate infrastructure will be developed within available resources. Himachal was earlier known only for the summer season. Efforts are being made to break the seasonality factor and tourism products have been diversified to attract the tourists in other seasons too. Now Himachal is known as “A Destination for All Seasons and All Reasons.”
1.9 Tourism contributes nearly 8% of the State Domestic Product which is roughly the same as horticulture sector. With careful planning and infrastructural development, the Policy proposes to increase it to 15% by the year 2020.The position with respect to some of the other economies is as follow:
2. Policy Objectives:
(1) To establish Himachal Pradesh as a leading tourist destination in the country and abroad;
(2) To make tourism a prime engine for economic development and prosperity of the State and as a major means for providing employment;
(3) To encourage a strong and sustainable private sector participation in creation of tourism infrastructure especially through public private partnerships;
(4) To promote sustainable tourism, which is not only environmentally compatible but also leads to economic betterment of the rural people;
(5) To attract quality tourist and to increase their stay in the State;
(6) To safeguard the State’s natural and manmade heritage ;
(7) To encourage civil societies & non-governmental organizations for promotion & the conducting of tourism related activities;
(8) To position Himachal Pradesh as a one stop destination for adventure tourism;
Tourism Policy of Himachal Pradesh: Download PDF