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Madhya Pradesh wins best tourism state award

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh has won the Best State tourism award for compressive development of tourism. Madhya Pradesh also bagged awards for Best Tourism Film and Best Civic Management of Tourist Destination – Pachmarhi.

The Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Dr Shashi Tharur presented the award to Madhya Pradesh at a National Tourism Award presentation ceremony at Vigyan Bhavan New Delhi today. The Minister of state for Culture and Tourism Surendra Patwa received the Awards. Those present included Managing Director MP Tourism Development Corporation Raghvendra Singh and senior officers.

Madhya Pradesh has secured a strong visibility on the world tourism map. Known as The Heart of Incredible India, Madhya Pradesh has shown the way to strengthen cultural integration by promoting spiritual tourism.

The State Government has made provision of providing grants to the prospective pilgrims for visiting Angkor Vat in Cambodia, Sita Mata temple site in Sri Lanka, Mansarovar Pilgrimage –China. Besides, visit Nankana Sahib and Hinglajdevi shrine in Pakistan. Madhya Pradesh already enjoys a global identity of having three world monuments – Bhim Betka, Sanchi and Khajuraho.

The wilderness of Madhya Pradesh also occupies unique place in the world and remains the most sought-after destination for the nature lovers.

The Amarkantak-Achanakmar reserve figures in the list of world’s 20 new mega biodiversity sites listed by the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). Recently Panna Tiger Reserve has created a history in wildlife conservation by rearing tiger families. Resultantly, the number of tigers has gone up to 23 from zero.

Madhya Pradesh was judged for The Best State Award on 17 parameters prominent among them include investment friendly policy for tourism, increase in tourist arrival, tourism infrastructure development, improving connectivity for tourist sites.

The Award for the Best Civic Management of a tourist destination in India was judged on seven parameters mainly overall cleanliness, waste management, efficient traffic management, care of environmental and greenery in and around tourism destinations. The tourism promotion film was judged as the best tourism film on the basis of concept and effective communication of the concept promotion of Indian Tourism.

The State has taken novel initiatives for promotion and management of tourism in the state exploring new areas like eco-tourism, heritage tourism, and spiritual tourism. The Mukhya Mantri Tirth Darshan Yojana - CM’s Pilgrimage Scheme in collaboration with IRCTC has not only encouraged domestic tourism but also promoted religious tourism. So far 2.50 lakh elderly persons have visited the pilgrimage sites of their choice free of cost.

The MP Eco Tourism Board has developed 38 eco-tourism sites. Farm tourism is also being promoted. In recent past, a number of groups of farmers, farm scientists, managers and IT professionals visited the state to study the system of E-procurement of wheat. A new scheme Khet Tirth Yojana has been launched to encourage visits of farming community to the best managed fields and farms within the state.

Madhya Pradesh offers a diversity in tourism. The tourist flow has increased to 6.33 crore in 2013 from 5.34 crore in 2012 representing 18.14 percent increase. It was 87 lakh in 2004. New marketing officers are being opened at Chandigarh, Noida, Jaipur, Bengaluru, and Patna. Air connectivity has been ensured for Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Satna and Khajuraho. The tourism budget has increased manifold from Rs. 15 crore in 2004 to 154 crore at present. In last two years, 28 tourism related projects worth Rs. 314.62 crore have been sanctioned.

The State has identified 16 tourism zones – Indira Sagar, Ban Sagar, Gandhi Sagar, Khajuraho, Datia, Orchha, Sanchi, Mandu, Tawa Nagar, Tamia-Patalkot, Salkanpur, Chitrakoot, Panna, Choral, Maheshwar and Amarkantak. Each tourism zone is known for a distinct tourism activity. Selani, Island – Omkareshwar in Khandwa district will soon have water and adventure tourism.

As many as seven forts and fortresses of private and state ownership have been identified for promoting heritage tourism. These include Rampur Fort (Guna), Arjun Palace (Narsingarh-Rajgarh), Rani Palace (Tikamgarh), Rani Palace (Ratlam), Scindia Boarding House (Neemuch), Rajgarh Palace (Datia) and Madhavgarh Palace (Satna).

The State Government has encouraged spiritual tourism in a big way. The cities having shrines visited by thousands of pilgrims have been declared as Holy Cities and compressive planning has been made for their management. The State has 12 holy cities - Amarkantak, Maihar, Chitrakoot, Orchha, Ujjain, Omkareshwar Maheshwar, Panna, Datia, Multai, Salkanpur and Mandla. The sale of eggs, meat and fish remains prohibited at these places. Besides, cruelty against animals and birds has been prevented. Sale of liquor is prohibited in and around these cities. Ujjaini village – the origin of Kshipra near Indore will be developed as pilgrimage site. Ujjaini is confluence of Narmada and Kshipra rivers.