Chandigarh: "Punjab in itself is a huge brand and has contributed immensely in every development oriented sector to take the country forward on the path to progress." These views were emphatically expressed by the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu here today on the occasion of 'National Tourism Conclave' in the presence of senior departmental officials as well as experts connected with the sphere.
The minister further said that Punjab has immense potential to emerge as the numero uno destination in tourism sector but the need of the hour is to properly market the extremely rich heritage of the state so as to unlock this potential. He also emphasized that if adequate attention is paid to the harnessing of unbounded opportunities in the tourism and cultural sector then this filed alone can be the catalyst and galvanizing force to propel Punjab to scale heights of glory.
Batting for the need to create proper infrastructure to facilitate tourists, the minister said that ginger hotels should be constructed in order to enable the tourists coming from within and outside the country to prolong their stay and soak in the tremendous feeling on visiting and witnessing the glorious historical and cultural heritage of Punjab. He listed the example of Sri Darbar Sahib in this regard which is visited by more than a lakh people daily.
Terming secularism as the cornerstone and hallmark of Punjabi culture, the minister said that the examples set by the Great Guru Sahiban of service towards humanity transcending the religious and racial boundaries has helped Punjab in showing the way of peaceful co-existence and maintaining secular ethos. He also said that the state has many interesting stories to tell about scores of historically epoch making events taking place at its soil for e.g the site at Kalanaur in Gurdaspur where Emperor Akbar was proclaimed King of India.
Focusing on Medical Tourism as the core area, the minister said that if 2 or 3 hospitals are build in historically significant spots for e.g. Amritsar, then it would contribute hugely to the strengthening of economic infrastructure of the state. He also listed landscaping and setting up of the cafeterias as important steps in giving more push to the tourism sector.
He also underlined the importance of promoting rural tourism which would lead to the emergence of rural areas of the state on the world map. Giving a clarion call for the need to help connect NRI Punjabi community with its roots back home, Sidhu said that if proper facilities are made available to cater to the NRIs then it can also give a boost to state's economy.
The minister assured that the rich and glorious heritage of Punjab would be taken to the grassroots level in the state so as to ensure that everybody is aware of the rich legacy and traditions that have been bestowed upon the state. He also said that every drop of his blood would be devoted to make efforts to restore Punjab to its pristine glory.