Uttarakhand tourism revival meet in Rishikesh

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    Uttarakhand tourism revival meet in Rishikesh - The Times of India
    Seema Sharma, TNN | Feb 21, 2014, 11.01PM IST

    DEHRADUN: Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) will hold its annual meeting in Rishikesh this month to formulate ways to revitalize the state's faltering tourism sector- an area that was hit hard post last year's deluge.

    The Union tourism ministry, the sponsors of the conference, has invited around 450 tour operators from around the country as well as from Bhutan and Nepal to advertize the state's tourism potential. They expect the meet to culminate in business opportunities for these tour operators, and provide a much-required infusion of funds in the sector.

    Akshay Kumar, the president of ATOAI, explained the reasons behind the state tourism's downturn post-June. "The media's negative publicity during the flash-flood disaster instilled fear among tourists about the safety of the tourist destinations here. Whereas the truth is that more than 80% of the destinations are safe in the state. This will be showcased to the tour operators," he said.

    He was confident that tourists would come streaming into the state, citing the state government's decision to scale down mountaineering expedition fee from Rs 80,000 to Rs 5,000. But he felt that the state's lack of a coherent policy and the forest department's apathy towards promoting tourism were the key hindrances to a robust tourism sector.

    Rajesh Ojha, a member of the ATOAI and owner of a travel company in Himachal Pradesh, said the state needed to expand air connectivity in the state. His other solution was to promote and regulate the state's vast eco-tourism.

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