Tourism in Indian Himalayas: News Summaries for October 2015

To increase the tourism footfall, the Indian Himalayan states launched new proposals and reviewed the existing in October 2015. Here is the summary of these:


Sikkim may start operating its first airport by the end of 2016. Consequent direct air connectivity may have a positive impact on tourism flow, especially that of rich travelers and tourists, to the Himalayan state. The new airport located in Pakyong is less than 40 kilometers from the state capital Gangtok.

Sikkim will become an Organic State in 2016. That means the state will use only organic manure for agriculture. This eco-friendly practice may have a direct positive impact on tourism.

The 4th International Tourism Mart (ITM) held in Sikkim.

Sikkim Express Regional Tourism Awards were introduced. The 19-category award scheme will honor local contribution to the tourism sector.


The state proposed a winter adventure tourism hub in Kedarnath to attract tourists during November-April. A helicopter service connecting Guptkashi and Kedarnath is planned. The rate for air service may start from INR 5,000.

The state planned to open / reopen five (5) new short trek routes around Joshimath. For example, 15-kilometer long Kunthkal to Hanuman Chatti trek route reopened after more than four decades. The route was shut in 1970 because easier Ghangaria route to Valley of Flowers was preferred by visitors. The route will double as a search rescue channel during emergency.

The government proposed to open and develop some high- and mid- altitude lakes for water-based adventure activities, including rowing and kayaking. For example, Bheemtal, Deoria Tal, and Dodital.

The mountain biking trail exploration programme was launched in 2014. The recon done under this programme reviewed mountain biking potential of Munsiyari and neighboring spots, including Balanti Farm, Betuli Dhar, Birthi Falls, Khalia Top, Madkot, and Namik villages.

The Indi-Tibtean Border Police (ITBP) launched rafting expedition to spread “clean Ganga” message. The expedition will cover the river course stretching between Devprayag in Uttarakhand and Gangasagar in West Bengal.

The Indian armed forces started swim Ganga expedition to spread message of the Swachh Bharat Mission. The armed forces team will swim along entire course of the river (2,800 kilometers) between Uttarakhand and West Bengal. It will interact with people at halt points and talk about the mission.

The government began to implement Uttarakhand Film Policy 2015 for easy single-window clearance.

INTACH Uttarakhand organized 3-day Rajpur Nature Festival in Dehradun District.

5-day Kumaon Literary Festival in Dhanachuli and Nainital

The 3-day 2nd Governor’s Gold Cup Sailing Regatta in the Naini Lake

Bijrani Zone of Corbet National Park that was closed in June 2015 due to heavy rain was reopened.

The government laid the foundation for Inter-State Bus Terminus in Almora.

Last year, departments of Pilgrimage Management and Religious Fairs were spun off from the Department of Tourism to increase efficiency. The Department of Tourism was given a task to find new tourism venues in the pilgrimage zone.

The central government proposed to build 889-kilometer long highway linking four famous pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand. The proposed 2-lane highway will be disaster proof.

Air India

Air India and state tourism departments planned to offer Incredible Air India Holiday Packages from December 1, 2015. All four Himalayan states will participate in the new scheme.

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