Himachal Pradesh government was planning to diversify tourism to new areas and as part of the efforts the activities of the departments of Tourism and Rural Development would be merged to develop infrastructure in rural areas, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has said.

“The State government policy is now for the diversification of tourism to areas which are new and have tourism potential…We are hopeful that our efforts will not only promote rural tourism but also diversify tourists to rural or new areas and decongest the over saturated stations,” said Mr. Dhumal here on Saturday at a road show organised in the city to promote tourism.

Outlining the tourism policy of the State, he said that its potential was being harnessed in areas including eco-tourism, adventure, rural and religious tourism. He said that the State received over 150 lakh tourists, most of them domestic. Himachal Pradesh also received 4.85 lakh foreign tourists in the year.

“On the whole the government is committed to have sustainable tourism with special emphasis on diversification, accessibility and to create job opportunities among local youth,” he said.

“The main thrust of the government is on employment generation by promoting new concepts of tourism in the State,” Mr. Dhumal said.

He said that a 20-year Perspective Tourism Master Plan of the State was being finalised.

Mr. Dhumal also emphasised the importance of ensuring safety and law and order.